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The Swamp Cooler versus the Furnace

For those of you who live in a climate where swamp coolers are useless – be thankful. However, the desert southwest is not one of those areas. Born and raised in the midwest, I’d never heard of these beasts until I moved out here. The basic premise is water-cooled air by evaporation. Simple physics… air passes over water, water evaporates dropping the temperature of the air, and voila! The desert-version of A/C. When a home has a decent cooler, they’re not bad, especially when they function through the central air ducts. But some units just blast a wind tunnel of damp cool air out one duct right beneath it and sounds like a 747 landing in your house.

Luckily, I live in a house where both the cooler and furnace use central duct systems. However, they are completely separate units electrically. A thermostat runs the furnace, and two completely different switches (on/off and high/low) run the swamp cooler.

Today, Terry, the handy-man, came by the house to set up the swamp cooler. They’re actually very easy to do. Simple mechanics – but the one at my house is on the roof, and I’m not up for going up there nor is my roommate, Lyn. Plus, Terry is always needing some cash and will never take any unless he works for it. Good guy. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, however…. which today he reaffirmed this little fact.

Terry kindly calls me when he’s done and asks if he wants me to leave the cooler on. Sure, why not. Sometimes they have an odor the first time they’re fired up. Plus best to make sure it’s working properly before the real heat of the summer sets in. Since I share a house, my two rooms (office and bedroom) face west with only one half-ass tree outside, and it’s a brick home. It gets pretty damn hot in my rooms, and I spoil my computer… I don’t like my baby overheating.

I arrive home, walk in, “Ahhhhhhh….” Nice cool air. I head to my rooms to boot up my system and to let my dogs out, as they are baby-gated to my section of the house (I live in a professional breeders home, so groups of dogs live in their own sections and are typically crated. My two are good kids, plus they’re rescues therefore fixed so they don’t mark the house like the stud dogs, so they are not crated). Then when I round the corner, BAM! I hit a wall of 100 degree heat! WTF!!! My two dogs are looking at me like this:

… panting and thinking, “Puhleeeeze, put me out of my misery!” And probably dreaming of this:

Terry, in all his infinite wisdom, forgot to turn off the furnace thermostat so a war was being waged between the swamp cooler and the furnace – and in my portion of the house, the furnace was winning.

** pant, pant, pant **


  1. Yup. Systems can be an issue even when they’re working. I’ll send yo a link to a story of the system not working about a year & half ago. The dogs were involved in my story, too!

  2. An interesting technology that I didn’t know about, until I read this post. I hope that Terry is a very handsome guy and easy on your eyes. Why do I say this? Well a certain Canadian comedian named Red Green, who is the master of the hilariously done home repair, often says “Remember guys, if the women don’t find ya handsome, be sure they find ya handy!” So I’m hoping that for Terry, that the opposite is also true: “If the women don’t find ya handy, be sure they find ya handsome!” Lol 🙂

    So remember Michelle, we’re all in this together, and I’m pullin’ for ya!

    Red Green also says that too, but he’s saying it to the guys. But when I just said it to you, it seemed like it could have a slightly different… well I think this comment has gone on long enough, so I think I’ll just stop right now.

    Lol 😀

    • Terry has about two teeth in his mouth, lives in a broken down trailer, reads the bible day and night, listens to Christian radio stations, gives half of his meager earnings to the church, and showers… well, I’m not sure he showers. But he has a kind heart and is very harmless – still not the sharpest knife in the drawer, though.

      • Uhm… there’s still something to be said for having a kind heart and being harmless… For example, if I got sent to prison, these are qualities that I would hope for in my cell mate.

        But probably best if you don’t ask him to sharpen those knives in the drawer – better that he just leaves those alone, for his own sake.

  3. Ooooh you’re in NM right? Reno is also Swamp Cooler country. Problem with the furnace: Looks like the fucking thing in The Shining. Serious. Burns cola, wood, heating oil and probably small children.
    $20.00 to run 20 minutes and that is just to get air flowing upwards to come out of the vents. No blower. too old. At $5.00 a gallon for heating oil it’s about 50 to 55F MAX here in the winter.

    Swamp cooler? Too goddamned COLD even in the 110F summer weather in the living room. Not much of a control switch. Okay in the hallway though.
    Oh hell, move schmooff! This is a rental.
    Good luck girlfriend!

  4. Last night I got the blower half up and running. Yesterday was like 93 here in Tucson. I was too tired to get the pads cleaned and do all that crap. My house had the cooler on the roof with central ducts that the furnace shares. They are cheap and relatively to maintain and run. That’s why I love them.

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