How Does An Air Cooler Work? | Air Cooler FAQs

Air Coolers are an innovative way to provide cooling effects during warm weather. Although it may seem confusing, air coolers and air conditioners are not similar. Air Coolers are not as costly as air conditioners, however, possessing more cooling power than a fan. An air cooler uses an evaporative cooling method to chill the air, which usually means cooling the air utilizing evaporation of water. Air coolers are smaller and lighter in shape and size, which makes them more convenient, better and cheaper options comparison to others.

Also Read: Best Air Coolers under 10000 in India

How Does An Air Cooler Work?

How Does An Air Cooler Work

As mentioned previously, air coolers work through the evaporative cooling method to provide a cool breeze into the room. The result of water evaporating into the air is a mixture of water and air molecules. This chemical change of water requires heat, which is usually derived from the air molecules, and in return drops the temperature of the air.

So, how to use an air cooler with water? An air cooler typically has three parts- a water tank, a fan or a blower, and an absorbent sheet. To make it work, firstly, you need to fill the water tank with cold or iced water, allowing the absorbent sheet to soak it all up. Now, as the water evaporates from the sheets, it will start cooling the air around it. Thus, this cooled air is circulated throughout your room through a fan for a naturally cool and refreshing breeze. Some air coolers also come with free ice packs to use to pop into the water tank for more powerful cooling effects.

Note that an air cooler should not be used in enclosed spaces since they work their best when kept in a room with windows and doors opened for better free airflow.

Other Related Questions:

1. Are Air Coolers and Air Conditioners Similar?

Air coolers are a lot different than air conditioning (check the difference between air cooler and air conditioners) even though they both blow cool air out into the room. Air conditioners use refrigerant gas to provide cool air just like a fridge and hence, the results are an ice-cold blast of air circulating through the room. In comparison, an air cooler uses a natural process of evaporation of water to blow out cool air. An air conditioner uses complex, bulky and expensive machinery to blow out ice-cold air whereas an air cooler doesn’t have any complex machinery, making it quite easy to use and maintain.

An air cooler does not use a refrigerant gas or a compressor, unlike air conditioners. Due to some of the above reasons air coolers are better than air conditioner. Therefore, you should not expect an air cooler to work as efficiently as refrigerated air conditioning, however, they do provide more than enough cooling effects to chill your homes and offices better than a fan.

2. How Do I Clean my Air Cooler?

Apart from changing the water from the water tank regularly, air coolers comparatively need less maintenance. However, you do need to clean up the absorbent sheet inside the unit quite frequently to avoid the wet, pungent smell of bad water. While some air coolers allow you to remove the absorbent sheet to clean it, some others do not provide you with the same privilege to do so.

To clean it, gently wash the absorbent sheet with warm water and dish soap, allowing it to dry thoroughly to get rid of any bad odor. For the detailed guide, how to clean the air cooler, check this article.

3. What Happens If I Don’t Fill My Air Cooler With Water?

Although it is a very common question to ask, the answer to this solely depends on the type of air cooler you have. Most air coolers use some sort of a water pump that has increased chances of being damaged if run without filling the tank, however, some others have the facility to switch over from a “cooling” mode to a “fan” mode only, that shuts the water pump off upon selecting and you can use it as a normal fan.

4. Do Air Cooler Humidify The Air?

While a cool breeze works as a breath of fresh air during hot summers, humid air can equally be pleasing in some circumstances. The suffocating heat that people usually associate with high humidity generally only occurs when there is not enough wind. Therefore, if you can keep humid air flowing around in a room, it can have many health benefits, including the reduced chances of catching diseases and well-moisturized skin and hair. It also helps you to sleep peacefully at night, preventing dry throat.

As we already know by now, air coolers use evaporated water to chill the air, and hence, even with high humidity it does not make you feel uncomfortable but refreshed and cool.

Also Read: How To Reduce Humidity In Air Cooler


Good air coolers mostly use 70-80 W of power which means that you can run them for 1p per hour. Apart from being very affordable to buy, they use much less electricity which makes them eco-friendly and much cheaper to run. Air coolers are also very portable due to their small size and lighter weight, which implies that you can have cool air anywhere.

To conclude, an air cooler is an excellent alternative to air conditioning and fans, which provide enough cooling effect to turn a dull and boring hot summer afternoon into a fresh and cool one. With all the guided steps to know more about how they work and how to maintain them properly along with cleaning methods, don’t hesitate to go ahead and try them out to form an opinion of your own and do share your experiences and knowledge with others around.

Samarth is a Mechanical engineer from IIT Bombay with deep understanding of machines and the overall market. Samarth has been building machine from over 8 years so all his reviews on November Culture are first hand expert review. He co founded November Culture along with few other industry experts to provide reviews of daily products.

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