Transcool Portable Evaporative Cooler
Fritz enjoying the benefits of a cooler living room.
I hold my hands up, I don’t understand electricity. I am one step away from my mother-in-law, who always leaves plugs in their sockets to stop the electricity running out. I can change a plug and replace a light bulb but ask me about wattage and amps and I’m clueless! So I turned to my electrician husband with this week’s Wet Nose Testing piece of kit, the Transcool Portable Evaporative Cooler. The unit itself is very tidy and weighs 1.5kg, the weight of a Chihuahua, the idea is to cool the air by water evaporation and the ‘breeze’ will keep you cool to a distance of about three meters.
The difference between an air conditioning unit and an evaporative cooler, I am reliably informed in a lesson from my ‘pay attention at the back’ husband is that an air con works like a fridge with the weight of a compressor and power hungry components, running it from a battery would just not be viable given the hefty job it is doing plus it would be enormous. At this point there was a great deal of hot air in the room, we moved swiftly onto the workings of the Evaporative Cooler and I tried to not look out of the window. “Power,” said my husband in his best Clarkson voice, “This little unit is very economical with the power it needs, that’s why you can run it from your cigarette lighter for 42 hours and not run your battery to the point where you have to call me out to fetch you!”
The likelihood of me using this unit for 42 hours non-stop is a bit remote but for those who would use the Transcool in their motorhomes, boats and caravans this would be of interest as well as the fact there is an automatic cut off when your battery reaches the point before its last gasp.
Now came the lesson on the difference in batteries, your average car battery just kicks in when you start up but it’s being charged by the engine running, when the engine stops there is still a reservoir of energy in the battery. A Deep Cycle battery tends to be installed in marine craft, motorhomes, larger 4x4s and rather bizarrely, disabled scooters. These big boys can let the Transcool unit run for 157 hours! Fit a solar unit to your mobile abode and connect the cooler and you run it for nothing. You can also just plug it into a socket; it is supplied with everything you need to get power to the box whether it is 12v, 24v or 240v.
I’m not sure if I am becoming intolerant to warmer weather but I know I am completely intolerant to those who leave their dogs in hot areas when it could be so easy to keep them cool. The Transcool unit comes from Australia where they know a thing or two about animal husbandry in extreme conditions. I really appreciate the simplicity of just topping the water up and being able to see the water level on the side of the box, there is a separate ‘bag tank’ that means you can leave it running even longer as it keeps itself regulated with an adequate supply. I also tried adding a little essential oil of geranium to the water and the effect was absolutely brilliant, a great way to use aroma therapy with your dogs to chill them out in body and mind.
The front of the unit has directional vents so you can have them facing in totally different directions, a bit like Marty Feldman’s extraordinary face, I think my Transcool looks even better now I have penned in a big smile under the ‘eyes’.
The noise level at slow to medium blast is gentle and non-intrusive, if you whack it right up to full the noise comes at about 59 decibels, a little bit louder than more than a quiet hum, but I really cannot envisage needing that amount of powerful breeze, unless you are in the throes of the menopause and needing an instant cool down from a hot flush.
Running the unit at medium, I placed it on the floor in my living room where I would normally run my air con in the afternoon on hot or muggy days. My dogs really appreciated the cool wind and quickly settled themselves, bellies facing the breeze and although the makers do not say the environment will be cooled the temperature in the room certainly fell, not as rapidly as with the built in air con unit but appreciably within five minutes.
My neighbour has a motorhome and so I was able to test the little white box after a really ‘scorchio’ day when the vehicle had been shut up and left sweltering on the tarmac. I didn’t subject my dogs to the wall of heat that met me when I climbed the steps into the home and while connecting it I must admit that I certainly ‘glowed’ as a lady should. Blessed relief came as I switched the unit on, I then left my Animalarm in the place where I would put a crate and monitored the temperature from my mobile phone by way of regular updates. This combination certainly works, the addition of cool mats would offer even more benefit to an animal and for £180 for the Animalarm and £350 for the Transcool unit you have a reliable system to ensure your dog’s comfort, surely your dogs are worth this initial outlay?
Trying the Transcool in my car, which is a large people carrier given over to crates proved a little more problematical as my cigarette lighter socket needed reconnecting to make sure that when the key was removed the socket still had a feed, this cost me just £15 at my local garage.
There certainly is a problem at dog shows when the day is hot, I have been to shows where even the benches in the tents are intolerable due to the still air, and I do think more and more people are coming to the conclusion we need to make our vehicles truly all year round dog friendly. I love this magic box and more importantly, so do my dogs!