Spiders roaming among the swamp coolers
Published: Saturday, July 1st, 2006
Back when I introduced myself to you, I wrote: "Sure, it gets just as hot in Florida as it does in New Mexico. And you know what they say here, “It’s a dry heat. No humidity.' Hummm. Well, after depending on air conditioners in humid Florida, I've discovered there's an alternative in dry, dry, dry New Mexico. You know the alternative. It's called a "swamp cooler" and I'm told that swamp coolers cool pretty darn well by "evaporative cooling." When water evaporates, I'm told, it cools. So when the hot air flows through the wet pads in the swamp cooler that air winds up a lot cooler. And it takes a lot less energy (electricity) to power an evaporative cooler than it does to power a refrigerated air conditioner, the reports show. OK, so I've done some research but this is just words. This swamp thing works pretty well, I’m finding, until it doesn’t. And it didn’t. I mentioned this to a co-worker and she suggested I make sure the filters were getting enough water. She told me, “I make sure mine have water every morning.” Now, I pictured her waking up, getting outside in her pajamas, turning on the water hose and washing down the sides of one these big old slotted boxes outside of her window every morning. I had already figured out that keeping these things level and in the window is pretty important. Just look at them the next time you’re outside. You’ll see all kinds of ingenius ways that people keep these things aloft. Some folks have used boards, cinder blocks, rocks, chairs or chains to keep their swamp coolers level and in their windows. And sometimes, it seems to be a combination of all of the above. The combinations and strength of these items holding up swamp coolers, I think, is pretty admirable. But, I digress back to watering the swamp cooler. My co-worker, exclaimed, “No, no, no, I don’t water my swamp cooler like a flower garden. What I mean is that you have got to make sure your ‘spider’s’ working.” “Spider? There’s a spider in there?” Come to find out, a “spider” is a small narrow plastic tube that irrigates the filter. But, I digress, again: Don’t you wonder who names these things. I mean why would you have a spider in your swamp cooler? After investigation, I found that my swamp cooler has a spider with three plastic tubes for irrigating the filter pads. Have you ever seen a three-legged spider? Why wouldn’t you just call this spider thingy a tripod? Maybe the first spiders had more legs, more tubes? And it does seem stranger to have come some 1,500 miles from Florida – where the gators do come out of the swamp and lounge on golf courses – to find something in the land of enchantment called a “swamp cooler," with a three-legged spider.
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