Evap vs Air Conditioning

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.

Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:07 pm

I'm building a hexayurt this year, and I'm considering doing either an evaporative cooler or a window air conditioner to keep it cool. I'm having a tough time deciding, so I thought I'd list some pros and cons and maybe get some feedback :)

I like the idea of building my own evap cooler, but I have a lot of other stuff to do and I'm worried it might be a little too much time for me. Plus if I get it wrong, I'll be hot and miserable. Evap is cheaper and environmentally friendly, and uses less power but more water.

The window air conditioner option would be more expensive, but would free up more time for me to work on other fun stuff (costumes, hammocks, ...). It uses more electricity, so my power needs will increase and require a generator.

I'm torn, I hear the evaps work well and I'd feel more self reliant, but I also would like to sleep during the early part of the day and I hear air conditioners get the temperature lower. Totally not related, but I attended a numerology workshop a few weeks ago and part of my profile is being a verbalizer, which means I love to talk and consider things to a nauseating degree before making a decision (spot on btw, if you can't tell from reading my post) :P I read the entire thread on evap coolers, so OCD!

A little background about me: My first and only burning man was green man a few years ago, and one of my regrets was not staying up later because I was having a terrible time sleeping in late in my tent. Basically cooling my hexayurt is my #1 concern. That and letting loose more this burning man ;)
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby missprism » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:14 pm

i believe you can BUY evap coolers for $100-$200..?

that plus battery plus water is still cheaper than air con and generator.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Rice » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:14 pm

If possible, the Swamp Cooler is a better option...

Last burn, we tried to use a window A/C unit and found that our generator was underpowered. It worked fine at home, but failed miserably on-playa. If I researched this correctly, I believe a generator will lose about 30% of its power on-playa. (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong).

Fortunately, I had a well planned shade structure and a hammock. So, for the first time in 6 burns, I was able to sleep during the day ;)
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:42 pm

missprism wrote:i believe you can BUY evap coolers for $100-$200..?

that plus battery plus water is still cheaper than air con and generator.


If cost is only issue a few hundred dollars is worth it to be comfortable for a week imo
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:44 pm

If I had a big enough generator do you think the AC would be the better option, or is that cost prohibitive? if the difference between evap and AC is more than $250/$300 then that might make the decision for me! (difference in cost of a bigger generator plus cost difference between the 2 units)

Rice wrote:If possible, the Swamp Cooler is a better option...

Last burn, we tried to use a window A/C unit and found that our generator was underpowered. It worked fine at home, but failed miserably on-playa. If I researched this correctly, I believe a generator will lose about 30% of its power on-playa. (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong).

Fortunately, I had a well planned shade structure and a hammock. So, for the first time in 6 burns, I was able to sleep during the day ;)
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:15 pm

If you buy a cheap genny it will be loud.

If you get a quiet genny it will be pricey.

With the evap the only sound is the fan and your total cost, including the battery will be about $200.

Guess how I'd vote. 8)
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Elliot » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:50 pm

FIGJAM wrote:If you buy a cheap genny it will be loud.

What Figjam said.
For Dawg's sake, please do not buy any generator noisier than a Honda EU-series. Thank you! :D
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Token » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:00 pm

Do less frivolous stuff like costumes and hammocks. You said it yourself. Your regret was missing out on the experience, not that you didn't have a costume.

Figjam has turnkey plans for an evap cooler and it's easy-peasy to make. Just ask him. He's good.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby jkisha » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:34 pm

Rice wrote:If possible, the Swamp Cooler is a better option...

Last burn, we tried to use a window A/C unit and found that our generator was underpowered. It worked fine at home, but failed miserably on-playa. If I researched this correctly, I believe a generator will lose about 30% of its power on-playa. (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong).

Fortunately, I had a well planned shade structure and a hammock. So, for the first time in 6 burns, I was able to sleep during the day ;)

The same thing happened to us our first time!

But, nothing beats having an air conditioned yurt.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Canoe » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:10 pm

Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Savannah » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:27 pm

Canoe wrote:Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.


Request denied, Corporal. 8)
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:03 pm

I just spent way too much time reading every post on here about generators. I'm sold on buying a honda eu2000i, woohoo AC it is! I've been wanting a generator anyway, up here in the Sierras we lose power at least twice a year. I wonder how much it would cost to get a transfer switch installed?

but back on topic, window AC unit attached to my hexayurt here I come :D
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Rice » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:44 pm

BurnerBunny wrote:I just spent way too much time reading every post on here about generators. I'm sold on buying a honda eu2000i, woohoo AC it is! I've been wanting a generator anyway, up here in the Sierras we lose power at least twice a year. I wonder how much it would cost to get a transfer switch installed?

but back on topic, window AC unit attached to my hexayurt here I come :D

Just make sure that your generator can put out at least 30% more power than your A/C unit needs... (I have already told my story in a previous post ;) )

http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=34876
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BBadger » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:57 am

Given the lack of humidity, I've found just residing under shade keeps me cool enough. Maybe I just haven't tasted the fruits of AC on the playa during the day?

From what I've read, those hex-yurts are inherently cool because of their reflective, insulating walls and that the ground below has no opportunity to heat up.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:57 am

An 8000 btu window air conditioner uses 7amps at 115vac. That's about 800 watts.

The honda eu2000i is rated for 1600 watts at 13.3 amps. Big enough margins?
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Rice » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:27 pm

BurnerBunny wrote:An 8000 btu window air conditioner uses 7amps at 115vac. That's about 800 watts.

The honda eu2000i is rated for 1600 watts at 13.3 amps. Big enough margins?

yes. That should be good.

Of course you plan on testing everything at home, right?? ;)

It might not hurt to have a backup plan... Sometimes stuff just does not work out as expected.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:41 pm

my backup plan is a tent under a shade structure. The week before I'm planning on setting everything up for a test run. Since I live at 7100 ft I'm hoping it'll be a good test for the generator.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Rice » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:46 pm

BurnerBunny wrote:my backup plan is a tent under a shade structure. The week before I'm planning on setting everything up for a test run. Since I live at 7100 ft I'm hoping it'll be a good test for the generator.

well, you will get a much more realistic altitude testing than i would here... ;)
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:53 pm

More like a test for the generators normal usage as a backup at home. A grand is too much for me to spend just for AC on the playa, but luckily it worked out to fill more than 1 need. Can't wait to be spoiled on the playa, dust free and sleeping cool and comfortable till noon.

A few years ago over new years we lost power for 7 days. The house got down to 34 degrees at night, and all of our food spoiled. I've been meaning to be more prepared for a while. If this honda works out I might buy a second one so I can power even more stuff during emergencies.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Canoe » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:48 pm

Savannah wrote:
Canoe wrote:Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.

Request denied, Corporal. 8)

But it's a really really good nuke...
Same several someone's a lot of time and trouble in collecting info to make their choice.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Rice » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:36 pm

Canoe wrote:
Savannah wrote:
Canoe wrote:Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.

Request denied, Corporal. 8)

But it's a really really good nuke...
Same several someone's a lot of time and trouble in collecting info to make their choice.

Try breathing into a paper bag for an hour. If you still feel the same way, we can talk...
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:18 pm

Canoe wrote:Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.


if you see a hexayurt with lots of bunnies painted all over, feel free to say hi and sample some AC.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Drucifer303 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:51 pm

Savannah wrote:
Canoe wrote:Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.


Request denied, Corporal. 8)



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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Elliot » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:59 pm

Drucifer303 wrote:Nuclear launch detected.

Is Slim Pickens riding astride it? :wink:
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Canoe » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:53 pm

BurnerBunny wrote:
Canoe wrote:Request permission to answer this with a Tactical Nuke. Sir.

if you see a hexayurt with lots of bunnies painted all over, feel free to say hi and sample some AC.

Rules of Engagement met. Preparing nuke for launch.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Noboundaries » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:32 pm

FIGJAM wrote:If you buy a cheap genny it will be loud.

If you get a quiet genny it will be pricey.


I bought two Champion 2000 watt quiet Inverter generators used from a Costco return warehouse for $275 each. Basically they were brand new. New I believe they are only $500 each. They are only 5 db louder than the Honda EUs at full power and equal to the EU on the econ setting.

I read that people said they did not do well on the playa. That was not my experience. I will admit they are tempermental if you do not EXACTLY follow the start up, shut down, and storage procedures. They are prone to flooding if you don't exactly follow the simple procedures. Also, they don't like anything other than level ground due to the oil level cutoff switch, which isn't a problem on the playa. Follow the procedures and it usually starts on the first pull. Never took more than three, except when I flooded it one day because I forgot to turn off the fuel when I shut it down.

We only used one the entire week on the playa in the afternoon, running it during dust storms, white outs, and clear skies. It runs for about ten hours on a gallon of gas on the econ setting which we used to power two evaporators. We set it up off the playa on wooden blocks. When the RV gennies fired up we couldn't hear our Champion from 15 feet away. If there were no RV generators running, it basically sounded like humming white noise.

The California model seals the gas tank so the gas does not evaporate and degrade as quickly as non-California models do. Here it is February. I still fire them up once a month for about 5-10 minutes and it is gas I put in them on the playa. Usually starts by the third pull.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Elliot » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:00 pm

Noboundaries wrote:I bought two Champion 2000 watt quiet Inverter generators used from a Costco return warehouse for $275 each. Basically they were brand new. New I believe they are only $500 each. They are only 5 db louder than the Honda EUs at full power and equal to the EU on the econ setting.

I'm glad the Champion is working well for you.
While we are at it, perhaps we could discuss decibels -- I need my knowledge refreshed. Seems I remember that the decibel scale works something like the Richter scale for earthquakes, where a small increase in the number means a large increase in force. Who is up on this?
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby BurnerBunny » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:25 pm

Thanks for the info but I'm boycotting costco. My partner had a business exec costco card for years that was supposed to be a lifetime membership. 2 years ago they demanded we start paying for a new membership because they don't issue our type anymore. long story short, don't shop there anymore!

Noboundaries wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:If you buy a cheap genny it will be loud.

If you get a quiet genny it will be pricey.


I bought two Champion 2000 watt quiet Inverter generators used from a Costco return warehouse for $275 each. Basically they were brand new. New I believe they are only $500 each. They are only 5 db louder than the Honda EUs at full power and equal to the EU on the econ setting.

I read that people said they did not do well on the playa. That was not my experience. I will admit they are tempermental if you do not EXACTLY follow the start up, shut down, and storage procedures. They are prone to flooding if you don't exactly follow the simple procedures. Also, they don't like anything other than level ground due to the oil level cutoff switch, which isn't a problem on the playa. Follow the procedures and it usually starts on the first pull. Never took more than three, except when I flooded it one day because I forgot to turn off the fuel when I shut it down.

We only used one the entire week on the playa in the afternoon, running it during dust storms, white outs, and clear skies. It runs for about ten hours on a gallon of gas on the econ setting which we used to power two evaporators. We set it up off the playa on wooden blocks. When the RV gennies fired up we couldn't hear our Champion from 15 feet away. If there were no RV generators running, it basically sounded like humming white noise.

The California model seals the gas tank so the gas does not evaporate and degrade as quickly as non-California models do. Here it is February. I still fire them up once a month for about 5-10 minutes and it is gas I put in them on the playa. Usually starts by the third pull.
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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Noboundaries » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:09 am

BurnerBunny wrote:Thanks for the info but I'm boycotting costco. My partner had a business exec costco card for years that was supposed to be a lifetime membership. 2 years ago they demanded we start paying for a new membership because they don't issue our type anymore. long story short, don't shop there anymore!



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Re: Evap vs Air Conditioning

Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:42 pm

How big is your hexayurt? You may find an 8000 BTU A/C inadequate. I have a similar window A/C as a backup in my truck camper in case the roof A/C fails, and I've found it can't really cool the thing.

Another thing I noticed you're overlooking: A/C units need a lot more current to start up than the rated running power usage. A Honda EU2000 will most likely handle the small A/C you're looking at but might not start up the bigger unit I think you might need.

You mentioned setting up your house with a transfer switch to use the Honda at home... you can do that, you just need to make sure it gets set up right because most transfer switches are made for use with generators that produce two-phase 240VAC power and the Honda EU2000 only makes single-phase 120VAC.

Oh, and the cheap Champion generator... the decibel scale isn't linear; 5 dB is a lot louder, generally to a human its a perceived increase of about 50%, about one and a half times as loud. The difference between say 59 dB and 64 dB is a bunch more than the numbers would seem to indicate.
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