If you are planning to buy an evaporative cooling system, you may be worried about risks from Legionella and other pathogens. Checking for safety features when buying and carrying out regular services will ensure that you are safe from both waterborne and airborne risks, while enjoying cool, moist air.
An evaporative cooler is a great choice for a Melbourne home
: it’s environment-friendly and energy efficient. But it comes with its safety challenges too. Many people worry about the growth of Legionella or E. coli bacteria in the device, and potential infections from breathing in water droplets full of them. Let’s understand the risks, and how we can mitigate them.
What Are the Risks to My Home and Family?
Legionella grows best between 25°C and 50°C, which are typical summer temperatures in Melbourne, and the sort that make you put your cooler on in full swing. There are kinds of risk: the bacteria growing in the cooler water (waterborne) and the bacteria reaching you and your family through the droplets fanned by the evaporative system (airborne).
Keeping Down the Risks from Water
Most evaporative coolers come equipped with failsafe’s that ensure Legionella do not breed. Check for these features when buying a cooler:
- Water exchange: Most evaporative systems should be able to drain out day-old water and refill afresh. This prevents critical masses of Legionella building up.
- Drying cycle: When not in use, the cooler should be able to drain itself dry, which kills Legionella, before refilling.
- Power Outage/Error Controls: Many evaporative systems also have a failsafe for power outages, in which they are drained dry.
In addition, you can make sure that the water passes through your home’s disinfection system before reaching the inlet of your cooler.
Keeping Down the Risks from Air
Good evaporative coolers make sure that you get relatively dry air in the room, by making sure that the fanned air passes through a water-removing medium. This also helps keep water from being wasted. There are two ways in which this is done:
- Keeping water droplet size above 5 micrometres (µm), which causes them to fall to the ground rather than fanning into the room. But there’s no watertight way to avoid smaller droplets.
- Controlling the speed of air below 1.7 m/s, which stops the water droplets from being swept along in the breeze.
How do I Know my Cooling System is Safe?
It’s simple. Look for the above mechanisms in your system. Also, make sure it comes with the right certifications that say it walks the talk. The VDI 6022 certification is one such.
How do I Keep My Evaporative Cooler Safe?
Buying right is half the problem solved. Making sure that your cooler is in good repair and is serviced or inspected regularly is the other half, especially before you mothball it for the coming Melbourne winter, and when you take it out for the next summer.
- The growth of fungi can be an additional risk in this period. Making sure that all parts are cleaned with disinfectant can inhibit the growth of fungi.
- Keeping the device bone-dry when not in use is another way of stopping infectious pathogens growing.
- Stopping dust from accumulating is another way to keep your cooler safe, as dust creates surface area from pathogens to grow.
Buying thoughtfully, regular maintenance and precautions can keep your home and family safe while enjoying the cool air from an evaporative cooling system.