Author Topic: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?  (Read 891 times)

Offline Aaarrghh

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This sounds pretty good:

https://www.rvupgradestore.com/RV-Evaporative-Air-Swamp-Cooler-p/2b-0001.htm"

The TurboKOOL 2B-0001 RV Evaporative Air Swamp Cooler is the first successful, trouble-free and economical solar or 12-volt evaporative cooling system of its type for recreational vehicles. The TurboKOOL’s three-speed, exceptionally quiet, air cooled reversible motor cools down the inside of your RV and you can also use this as an exhaust fan."

Runs on 12v and can be used as an exhaust fan. If I can't fix my Fantastic vent fan, mightn't this be a good replacement?

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2019, 08:36 PM »
Well, their advertising makes it sound like it is better than AC but I tend to disbelieve that the filter will not grow mold or bacteria. If it does not grow there it will grow in the reservoir. And you have to have a steady supply of water so are you going to be using all the water from your tank? And last but not least, you said you were in Fla? I think the humidity there is about 75% or above 95% of the time so would this thing even work? Definitely be sure you talk to people that actually have them.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 09:03 AM »
Yes, I do want to know what experiences others have had before I'd buy one. They're not cheap.

As to the humidity, the forecast for today and tomorrow in the hottest part of the day ranges close to 40%. 
https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=30.2043&lon=-82.4288&unit=0&lg=english&FcstType=graphical

Humidity tends to rise in the evening and is worst in the early morning, but if the interior is kept cool in the afternoons, the cooler shouldn't be needed even for the hottest nights of summer.

Water usage  is said to be 3 gallons a day, based on a full day, 24 hours. Typically running it for 4 hours in the afternoon should consume about a half gallon—tolerable, I'd say.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 09:44 AM »
If you are going to be in humidity over 75% (which is most of Florida, pretty much all year long), then you are better off repairing or replacing your Fantastik Fan.  These evaporative coolers are designed to operate best in arid regions where the humidity is around 50% or less. 

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline DVan

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 09:55 AM »
Yes, I do want to know what experiences others have had before I'd buy one. They're not cheap.

Rick's suspicion is right - swamp coolers only work in arid (dry) regions, think AZ. They work great there; FL and east TX not so much. It might work to some degree when you have a dew point spread (the difference between the air and dew point temps) of 30F there in N. FL from 3-6pm, but it will be useless at other times and as you go further into summer when you would actually need the cooling.

Think of it this way: if working outside just makes you hot, sweaty and sticky, a swamp cooler won't work. Your sweating is basically the exact same thing. In So.Cal, I might have sweated, but you'd never get damp - you just feel "crusty" at the end of the day from all the salt left behind after your sweet has evaporated away.
1988 Itasca Windcruiser 32RQ
Semi-retired Farmer/Flyer

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2019, 12:48 PM »
I'll keep my eye out for one on a roof hereabouts, so I can ask the owner about it. Having not paid much attention, I haven't ever noticed one. Maybe there won't be any. That would be a good indication they won't work here.

No sense in being in a big hurry to get one.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 12:02 PM »
An interesting bit of info-
In the TurboCool manual, there is a chart giving expected temperature output at various OATs and humidities.

For instance, at 95 Degrees F and 50% humidity, the air coming into the interior is expected to be 84 deg F.
At 60% humidity, the output is expected to be 87 F.

While that's not very cool, it would be some relief, especially considering that the interior with a Fantastik vent fan running will still be hotter than the outside air.

Offline TerryH

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 01:06 PM »
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go
T.S. Eliot   1888 - 1965

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2019, 10:36 AM »
This may be interesting reading:

https://www.sylvane.com/swamp-cooler-buying-tips.html
Thanks. A portable cooler is an interesting idea. There seems to be a good variety of 12v models to choose from. Might work! Certainly cheaper.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 01:09 PM »
Thanks. A portable cooler is an interesting idea. There seems to be a good variety of 12v models to choose from. Might work! Certainly cheaper.


I seem to remember watching a YouTube video years ago, where someone made a portable cooling unit for their RV using a bucket full of ice (or was it a cooler full of ice?), some ducting, and a 12 volt muffin fan.  You had to keep adding ice as it melted, and it wasn't exactly a "swamp cooler," but it was cheap, do it yourself, and definitely cooled down their small RV.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2019, 01:33 PM »
I found it!  Actually, this is the updated version from the original video I saw.  This is an ICE operated portable air conditioner, not a swamp cooler...so it would work in Florida!  And it looks from the video that it is pretty cheap and easy to make yourself, and would work for a small van style RV like yours.

In this version, the air flows through a metal ducting hose buried in the ice, so the ice lasts a LOT longer than the original version.  The guy in this video claims he is getting 3 days on the cooler full of ice, and it isn't even an expensive cooler.

It runs off 12 volts (so you could even run it off a small solar panel setup), and the description has all the links to where you can get all the parts (mostly Amazon), and what you can pick up in the local hardware store.

https://youtu.be/ezOV85PDZFc

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2019, 04:10 PM »
Must be a hell of a cooler to keep ice for three days in Fla.!!! My decent cooler will just barely make two days in Virginia in 80 degree weather as long as I keep it out of the sun. Metal tubing running through the ice with hot air in it lasting three days? Yea, right. If it is on the  internet it MUST be true!!!! :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2019, 05:25 PM »
Must be a hell of a cooler to keep ice for three days in Fla.!!! My decent cooler will just barely make two days in Virginia in 80 degree weather as long as I keep it out of the sun. Metal tubing running through the ice with hot air in it lasting three days? Yea, right. If it is on the  internet it MUST be true!!!! :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao :)rotflmao

LOL!  It looks like he meant the cooler still had ice in it after 3 days, probably not running the whole time.  Looks like it would work though, especially if you had access to cheap ice.  If nothing else, it would be a fun and affordable experiment.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2019, 03:06 PM »
... and would work for a small van style RV like yours.
I think I'd get tired of going for ice for it. And by the way, my 'bago isn't so small. It's a class 'C', only without the storage space under the floor. It has everything—fridge, furnace, toilet, shower, stove, oven and sink, dinette, couch. It surely gets better mileage than your *behemoth*. I've seen the vans people live in. Mine ain't no van!

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2019, 08:20 AM »
I think I'd get tired of going for ice for it. And by the way, my 'bago isn't so small. It's a class 'C', only without the storage space under the floor. It has everything—fridge, furnace, toilet, shower, stove, oven and sink, dinette, couch. It surely gets better mileage than your *behemoth*. I've seen the vans people live in. Mine ain't no van!

Yeah, I've seen your post about getting 14mpg.  That thing must have a magical engine that runs off fairy glitter and unicorn smiles...lol!

 ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2019, 05:28 PM »
My Fantastik fan decided to go again. I can bump near the reverse switch to get it going again when it stops. I ordered a new switch.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2019, 12:39 PM »
 :) Well, the switch hasn't arrived, but the new motor did, and it's running great. Much more powerful than the old one. I'm not going bother taking that apart, but if its like my old furnace motor, the brushes and commutator are worn beyond repair. Wouldn't be surprising, after 35 years.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2019, 05:30 PM »
:) Well, the switch hasn't arrived, but the new motor did, and it's running great. Much more powerful than the old one. I'm not going bother taking that apart, but if its like my old furnace motor, the brushes and commutator are worn beyond repair. Wouldn't be surprising, after 35 years.

Glad to hear!  Did it come with a new fan blade already attached?  The one I had to order for my old Holiday Rambler had a brand new fan blade pre-installed on the new motor, along with the plastic carrier that attaches to the unit.

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2019, 03:03 PM »
Glad to hear!  Did it come with a new fan blade already attached?  The one I had to order for my old Holiday Rambler had a brand new fan blade pre-installed on the new motor, along with the plastic carrier that attaches to the unit.

Kev
Yes, it was a complete assembly. It was easy to change, once I was able to get on the roof and get the lid out of the way. The fan appears to be secured to the motor shaft with a screw. I tried taking it off, but it wouldn't come easily and I didn't want to risk breaking it. It would be nice to be able to take it down to wash. The old one would load up with sticky dirt and it was a difficult job to clean it in place.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2019, 03:11 PM »
By the way, I did order a small table-top evap cooler for $40. It's taking a long time to get here from Taiwan, but I'll let you know how well it works once I get it. Better than plunking down $600+ for the roof-top job, to find that out.

Offline ClydesdaleKevin

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2019, 06:13 PM »
By the way, I did order a small table-top evap cooler for $40. It's taking a long time to get here from Taiwan, but I'll let you know how well it works once I get it. Better than plunking down $600+ for the roof-top job, to find that out.

Nice!  Let us know how the evap cooler works out for you.  And yeah, it is REALLY hard to keep those Fantastic fans clean!

Kev
Kev and Patti, the furry kids, our 98 Cherokee lifted beastie tow vehicle, and our 1995 Itasca Suncruiser Diesel Pusher.

Offline Aaarrghh

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2019, 09:12 AM »
Nice!  Let us know how the evap cooler works out for you.  And yeah, it is REALLY hard to keep those Fantastic fans clean!

Kev
It's working, after a little re-enginering. The sponge wouldn't take up water. It blows a nice stream of cool air across the table, a little cooler than a fan, but being so small, it has no effect on the cabin temperature. I like it, but I'm not convinced that the rooftop job would be worth the money.

Offline Rickf1985

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2019, 11:10 AM »
My concern with those is twofold, Bacteria/mold and moisture buildup in the RV which will also lead to mold. The same type of system is used on cabinet style humidifiers in houses in the winter and you have to be sure to keep the water clean and the belts washed and also you have to use chemicals in the water to prevent mold and bacteria. In a hot summer environment that would worry me even more. I realize these have been in use for many decades but so have a lot of other unhealthy practices. A lot of companies will capitalize on the fact that something has "been used for a hundred years successfully" when "successfully" is the key word. Did they cool? Yes. Did they spread bacteria and mold? Yes.

Offline JohnM

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Re: Anyone have experience with a 'swamp cooler' on an RV?
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2019, 09:58 AM »
As far as mold, any maintained cooler unit will not have this problem. Plus, more efficient evap coolers have a very mold-resistant pad that is also very thick: air has to travel far through the pad, cooling as it goes. The pad itself cools off through all this action, so even if the air has taken up the maximum amount of moisture, it continues to cool as it runs through the cool water cascading down the pad. Pads that are 8 inches thick as opposed to 1-2 inch thick pads, and have clear channels for the air.


I would be more concerned about mold build-up inside the RV itself, if this is used in the wrong climate or poorly ventilated.



If you are going to DIY, get either a plain cooler with a lid, or one of those peltier coolers, the kind that you plug into a 12-volt system, that look otherwise like a camping cooler or even a beverage cooler, the round kind you see at sporting events. I've made them out of that. Mount a blower on one end of the lid, and duct an inlet to the blower cage, from the outside. On the opposite side of the lid, cut an outlet and duct it with an angled piece of dryer outlet duct. Something you can rotate.


Inside, fill it with several gallons of ice water, or water, and a fish tank or small pond pump. These are tiny pumps that don't use much power. Have it pump up to the lid, to a distribution network of tubes attached to the inside of the lid. Once you are sure the water pump is lifting and distributing the water 'making it rain', fill the unit with coconut fiber. Garden supply places have this, or you can tear apart a swamp cooler pad made out of it.


As the blower sucks in hot, dryer air, it will pass through the wet coconut fiber, and be blow out the top at a right angle, hopefully aimed where you are sitting for maximum effect. The peltier module in the cooler will help to keep the water cool.


You will have to add water to the unit, like a gallon every few hours when you notice the cooling efficiency drops. And dump the unit and clean it every so many days, as crap from the air as well as mineral build-up, will accumulate.

 

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