Evaporative Cooling: The Beginning

Evaporative cooling is not a new technology. Modern evaporative coolers are based on methods of cooling air that were first discovered thousands of years ago by the Ancient Egyptians! The Egyptians weren’t the only group to figure out how to stay cool when it’s hot outside. Keep reading to find out more about the true beginnings of evaporative cooling and how this simple but extremely effective method of staying cool came to be.

The Ancient Egyptians were technological pioneers. They’ve been credited with a host of inventions that we couldn’t imagine our lives without today (could you live without furniture or paper?). While they were at it, they came up with a solution for staying cool indoors while the desert sun was blazing: they hung wet reeds in doorways and filled pots with water. The hot desert breeze then circulated the water that evaporated, and the first evaporative coolers were born!

The Han Dynasty in China expanded on this. They created a rotary fan system out of seven huge wheels. Manually operated by one person, these 10-foot wheels were enough to cool a grand hall. Later, the Chinese added a hydraulic aspect, using water to rotate the fans. This resulted in evaporative cooling that was even more efficient!

Ancient Romans focused their efforts on water management, creating aqueducts to transport water from one place to another. This was revolutionary to society because water could be cleaned of contaminations, which greatly benefited the health of its people. It also allowed for the creation of channels to irrigate the land, public baths for residents, and even decorative fountains. While many Romans followed the ideas of the Egyptians by hanging wet mats in their doorways, wealthier Romans found ways to implement the aqueduct systems in their own homes. They directed the water through the home’s walls, lowering the temperature.

Finally, members of the Persian Empire (modern-day Iran) essentially built means for evaporative cooling directly into their architecture with windcatchers. This ventilation system could be uni-directional, bi-directional, or multi-directional. Wind was “caught” and directed downward to cool or upward to remove heat from a structure, much like the louvered doors on some modern evaporative coolers. These were used in conjunction with underground canals, or qanats, which allowed for a high level of water evaporation. Together, this system kept buildings cool in the desert heat.

Technology has come a long way from ancient times, but in some cases, the original ideas were undeniably efficient. Modern evaporative coolers borrow from these simple-but-effective ideas to provide natural, efficient home cooling in dry and arid regions. Think evaporative cooling could be right for you? Our Customer Service Team is here to answer your questions. Give them a call at 800-643-8341. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 am – 5:30 pm CST.

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