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When The Air Conditioning Goes Out... Just Install A Swamp Cooler

When there's to AC, try a swamp cooler.

Hearing someone mention using a “swamp cooler” to cool their house since their air conditioner had gone out, reminded me of growing up in the Texas Panhandle and having swamp coolers to cool our house.

They worked great because it was a dry heat… nothing unusual for the temp to be over 100 degrees in the summer, with the average humidity in the low 50’s. Our cooler didn’t have any way to keep the side mesh filters wet, so during the day, we had to go outside every 4-5 hours and hose down the sides and then once again just before we went to bed. Other than that, it worked great.

Mother remarried in the summer of 1962 and we moved back to Arkansas. My Step-Dad’s house didn’t have air conditioning, just boxed fans, so Mother bought a swamp cooler just before we moved and brought it with us. It was installed in the dining room window, so that it kept the kitchen, dining room and living room cool. The bedrooms used oscillating fans.

Oscillating fans in the bedrooms.

She was quite proud of herself for coming up with such a great idea.

Moving from a dry, low humidity, and hard water area to a hot, humid, with soft water world was a real adjustment. No matter how much deodorant I used, I would still sweat like crazy, and I couldn’t seem to get the soap off my skin nor shampoo out of my hair. My hair, suddenly went from just naturally curly, to extremely curly… and frizzy.

Oh, and the shoes in our closets and my good leather coat were suddenly covered in mold! Her great idea turned into a major disaster… swamp coolers didn’t work well in Arkansas.

She was pretty creative though…

When we would take trips, she would get a block of ice, set it in a galvanized bucket on the passenger floorboard, open the car vent, and let the air coming from the vent blow over the ice and keep the inside of the car cool. Of course, we kept the windows rolled up, so no one would know that our car didn’t have air conditioning.

Yes, she did have a few failures, like her attempt at making lye soap.

But, most of Mother’s ideas turned out really well and I get a lot of my creative ability and work ethic from her. She instilled in me a “you can be or do anything you want to be or do” and “don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl” attitude, which has worked pretty well for me, most of the time.

Have you ever used a swamp cooler?

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