TV Reporter’s DIY Swamp Cooler Idea Doesn’t Appear To Be Really Safe

In case you’ve been unplugged from social media and/or the Weather Channel lately, I’m here to tell you that Washington and Oregon are setting all sorts of all-time temperature records this week and people are beginning to freak out over how hot it’s been.

TV stations KNDO/KNDU in the Tri-Cities region of Washington have been busy localizing the story with the typical fare offered up by the local news. That means anchor/reporter Jordan Tolbert was sent out on the ‘How to stay cool in this heat’ beat and came up with one of the most bizarre ideas you’re ever going to see pumped out by a local TV station.

Tolbert came up with a DIY swamp cooler that consists of an ELECTRIC box fan, a cooler and three bags of ice placed into the cooler. You can watch the segment here. Miss Tolbert takes the ice and dumps it into the cooler and then she plugs in the box fan. Her next idea is to place the fan on top of the cooler to draw the cool air from the ice through the fan and into the air.

BOOM! Swamp cooler.

Now, I’m no electrician or swamp cooler expert, but my parents did tell me to be careful putting things powered by electricity too close to water. According to the warning tag on Lasko box fans, “DO NOT use this fan outdoors, in or near a window or near water, bath tubs, swimming pools, hot tubs or other wet areas.”

Tolbert just goes ahead and dumps that fan right there on top of that beer cooler with three bags of ice ready to melt with outside temps expected to hit 119-degrees on Tuesday.

Again, I’m no expert, but you might want to find an alternative way of constructing a swamp cooler. Just sayin’.

Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.


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  1. Just an observation, but that setup wouldn’t draw air across the ice effectively and you would have to sit within 5 feet of it. This is like those Home Depot bucket full of ice with a fan on top things, except without an air return. You’d be better off opening all your windows and putting the fan on the shady side of your place to draw air in

  2. Technically not a swamp cooler, which uses evaporation of water to cool air and is effective in dry climates like Denver. She’s just using ice to cool the air. Dry ice would have been a better (and safer) idea, but it is more expensive and does not last as long.

    I agree with the post above that there won’t be sufficient airflow for this to work well. A better plan would be to place ice in a large, shallow pan and place both on the floor or on a table. Draw the air across the ice in the pan and you’d have cool air (at least for a little bit).

    Since I’m an engineer and I do this for a living, I’d be happy to visit Ms. Tolbert and help her 🙂

  3. The curtains are blowing, but window is not open. Insert dumb blond joke here:

    Two blondes were going to Disneyland. They were driving on the Interstate when they saw the sign that said Disneyland LEFT. They started crying and turned around and went home.

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