(Picture courtesy Wikipedia)
Extreme heat is probably one of the first things you’d think about when you hear someone mention the desert. You picture tumbleweeds, blowing sand.. a stark wasteland. This is true in part — we certainly have a lot of tumbleweeds and blowing sand out here!
It is, however, possible to live comfortably in the desert without racking up a huge electric bill. Running a central air conditioning system through the entire summer is quite costly. With temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit by late July, some sort of cooling system is a necessity. We have chosen to opt out of traditional cooling.
In a dry climate like this, it is possible to use an evaporative cooler, aka swamp cooler. A swamp cooler is basically a large fan surrounded by water-absorbing pads. The fan sucks air through the wet pads, cooling it. Swamp coolers can be hooked up to central air ducts, or can go into a window like an air conditioner.
These coolers are SUPER cheap to run, as they only use about as much power as a regular fan. Since we have a well, our water is nearly limitless and free. With the swamp cooler, we can efficiently cool our house for a very low cost. This keeps the house cool and comfy through the whole summer, except for the 7-10 humid days we get each year. On those days, we have to suck it up and use the regular air conditioning.
Using a swamp cooler is a great first step towards simpler living!