When it comes to the idea of energy efficiency, "air conditioning the outdoors" is the quintessential no-no. But severe summer temperatures (in Kansas, it's going to be 98 degrees today and feel like 104) can mean not spending time outdoors. I will admit I was doubtful of the ability of Honeywell's outdoor evaporative air coolers to make sense in my life. But when I got one, I realized that these fans make a serious difference in enjoyment of outdoor activities. So many days have found our family outside rather than in thanks to the difference the air cooler makes. It evaporates water, then uses a fan to disperse mist into the air, cooling an area of nearly 400 square feet. It's also super energy-efficient, requiring about 288 watts to operate (for comparison, a dehumidifier requires about 350 watts, while a coffee machine requires about 1,500). In my solar-powered home, I feel OK using that energy to spend more time outdoors, even when the temperatures are through the roof. Another benefit? The breeze helps keep away the No. 1 deterrent to my outdoor time in our Kansas home--mosquitoes. So, this efficient dual-purposed device has most certainly enabled me and my family to spend more time outdoors in the summer, whether the temps are scorching or the mosquitoes are biting. The cooler is expensive at $450, but it's likely cheaper than alternatives such as installing an outdoor ceiling fan or enclosing a porch. They also have lower-priced models. I wouldn't recommend this product for anywhere but places with the hottest of summers--here in the lower Midwest and through the Southwest and Southeast--but if you find you can't enjoy your outdoor spaces throughout much of the summer, you might want to give it a try.
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