How Big Are Evaporative Coolers?

You are considering an evaporative cooler to keep your house or business cool in the summer. There are many different sizes of swamp coolers available, but you might be wondering how big or small they can be. You may also be wondering how big the cooling area can be for different sized evaporative cooling units. We did the research to bring you the answer.

Evaporative Coolers range in size based on cubic feet per minute (CFM) as small as 700 CFM up to 8,000 CFM. The dimensions of the smallest unit are 38.5 x 19.5 x 11.5 inches. The larger 8,000 CFM unit dimensions are 68 x 51 x 28 inches. Larger units are available up to 20,000 CFM, which could cool up to 4,000 square feet of space. 

Now that you know the size ranges in evaporative coolers, you probably want to determine what size you need. This post will give you the equation to determine how many cubic feet per minute you need for the number of square feet you are trying to cool. This post will also give you tips on choosing a swamp cooler. We will also give you some details on the water and energy consumption, including whether an evaporative cooler can work effectively. Keep reading to learn more.

An air cooler in the room, How Big Are Evaporative Coolers?

How Big Are Evaporative Coolers?

Evaporative coolers for residential homes or small businesses can range in size from 700 cubic feet per minute (CFM) up to 8,000 CFM. The smallest unit at 700 cubic feet per minute is powerful enough to cool up to 350 square feet.

The larger residential unit at 8,000 CFM can cool up to 2,100 square feet of space. Commercial swamp coolers are available in units up to 20,000 CFM, which would cool a space up to 4,000 square feet.

Evaporative air cooler round flat vector icon

What Are The Dimensions Of A Swamp Cooler?

An evaporative cooler has different dimensions based on the amount of CFM and the space it can efficiently cool. According to the manufacturer, there are various swamp coolers on the market and their specific dimensions.

  • 700 CFM - This unit is about 38.5 x 19.5 x 11.5 inches. It can cool up to 350 square feet.
  • 1,000 CFM - This unit is about 24 x 24 x 15 inches. It can cool up to 610 square feet.
  • 1,300 CFM - This unit is about 28 x 22 x 12 inches. It can cool up to 500 square feet.
  • 2,000 CFM - This unit is about 31 x 25 x 24 inches. It can cool 500 square feet.
  • 3,700 CFM - This unit is about 37 x 17 x 25 inches. It can cool up to 950 square feet.
  • 4,000 CFM - This unit is about 45 x 28 x 17 inches. It can cool up to 1,500 square feet.
  • 8,000 CFM - This unit is about 68 x 51 x 28 inches. It can cool up to 2,100 square feet.

How Do You Calculate CFM For An Evaporative Cooler?

Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) needs to be calculated to determine how big a swamp cooler you need. The above dimensions and square feet cooling estimates can vary based on the height of the ceiling in your home.

You must take the square footage of the space you are cooling and multiply it by the ceiling height. Multiply this number by 30, which is the number of recommended air changes per hour. Finally, divide the number by 60 to get the cubic feet per minute requirement for your space.

For example, you have a 700 square foot space with a nine-foot ceiling. Multiply 700 by nine to get 6,300. Multiply 6,300 by 30 to reach 189,000, then divide this number by 60 to get 3,100.

You need a swamp cooler that has a CFM of 3,100 or greater to cool this space. You can also reverse the equation to determine exactly how much space a specific swamp cooler is supposed to cool, although the manufacturer usually provides estimated square footage.

Do Small Evaporative Coolers Work?

Small evaporative coolers can be efficient and work well for small spaces of 200-400 square feet. For example, a 700 CFM unit is said to cool up to 350 square feet.

You can reverse the calculation to find that 350 square feet can only be cooled if the ceiling height is only four feet tall.

Whether the calculations provided by the manufacturer are accurate will depend on each model. If you want to cool a larger space than 350 square feet, you may need to upgrade to 1,000 or more CFM to cool the space effectively.

Portable Mini Evaporative Cooler For Small Spaces

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What Is The Largest Evaporative Cooler?

The largest evaporative cooling system is in an outdoor space in Medina, Saudi Arabia. It cools 15 hectares of outdoor space by 50 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no information regarding how many CFM or the dimensional size of this unit.

The largest evaporative cooler on the market is 20,000 CFM, which cools up to 4,000 square feet of space. The dimensions of this unit are 91 x 49 x 51.6 inches. That is about seven and a half feet tall with a four-foot width and length.

Swamp coolers of this size are not usually needed for residential purposes. The larger evaporative cooling systems are made for warehouses and large businesses.

After you make your calculations, you would want to round up to the nearest swamp cooler CFM capacity to make sure your system will be able to cool your home sufficiently for the comfort of your family.

How Much Water Does An Evaporative Cooler Use Per Day?

An evaporative cooler may use anywhere from three to 15 gallons of water per hour. The average water consumption of a swamp cooler is between seven and 11 gallons per hour.

Then, you will need to multiply this number by the number of hours you will operate your swamp cooler in a day. If you choose to utilize the swamp cooler for 24 hours, then the unit would consume up to 250 gallons of water in a day.

A swamp cooler can be used all day, but it is usually not necessary to do so. When calculating the approximate cost to run your swamp cooler, you will need to calculate the water and electric usage.

For a detailed breakdown of estimated costs to operate an evaporative cooler, check out this post: Can You Run An Evaporative Cooler All Day?

Evaporative air cooler on vector image

How Do I Choose An Evaporative Cooler?

The first step is determining that a swamp cooler is the best cooling option for your climate and relative humidity level. Then determine how much space you will look to cool with the system.

You will need the square footage space of the area and multiply that number by the height of the ceiling. Then you can continue with the CFM formula that was given earlier in this post.

There are several different kinds of evaporative coolers and many different brands to consider. There are direct and indirect systems. There are portable and ducted systems.

Before deciding on an evaporative cooler for your home or workspace, you should check out this comprehensive article about the various types of swamp coolers: 14 Types Of Evaporative Cooler And Brands To Know

Hessaire Portable Evaporative Cooler For 950 Sq Feet

Click here to see more on Amazon.

How Effective Are Evaporative Coolers?

Evaporative coolers are very efficient and effective in drier climates. The drier the environment, the more effective evaporative coolers will be. The threshold seems to be about 60 percent.

If your humidity is often greater than 60 percent, you may want to consider an air conditioning unit as an alternative. A swamp cooler can still be effective, but you may need to take more steps to ensure your living space doesn't get too humid.

Evaporative coolers use less electricity than air conditioning units but use up to 15 gallons per hour. There are tips and tricks to making your swamp cooler run more efficiently, including more humid climates.

Whether you are looking to install your first evaporative cooling system or already have one in operation, you should read this article full of hacks to make your system run more efficiently: 13 Evaporative Cooler Hacks You Should Know

In Closing

Evaporative coolers range in size based on the amount of space they are expected to cool, determined by the Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM).

The CFM of swamp coolers ranges from 700 up to 20,000, covering spaces from 200 square feet up to 4,000 square feet.

The physical size and dimensions of swamp coolers can be as small as two feet by two feet by one and a half feet. They can be as large as seven feet by four feet by four feet.

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