Air conditioning can be expensive to run, especially if you just want to keep one room cool on a warm day. Or maybe you don’t even have AC, and just running fans doesn’t really help; they just push the hot air around. But personal AC systems can be pretty pricey as well. What other solutions are there?
We live in Silicon Valley. It can get pretty warm over the summer (from the mid-80s to the low 100s for long stretches). Our house, built in the ’60s, doesn’t have an AC system, so we’ve explored a few different ways of keeping cool, and we’ve really come to like evaporative coolers. They’re simple devices that dribble water over soluble filters and then blow air through the filter. The evaporation of the water cools the air significantly.
We have one large evaporative cooler, which works well for our main living room, because we can keep it just outside the French doors. It keeps that room cool, but it’s not handy to move around the house, and requires us to use a hose to fill it up when the tank is empty. Which is why I was interested when the folks at Quilo offered me one of their units for review.
The Quilo 3-in-1 cooler is designed for much easier mobility around the house. The large rear wheels travel easily over hard floors or carpet, meaning I can move it to any room I want without much fuss. It also has very convenient handles on either side so I can boost it up and down stairs if needed; even full, it’s never all that heavy. And the cord is detachable, which makes moving it around even easier.
The water tank is at the base, and slips out for filling at a sink. It’s not hard to carry, but it would be nice if it had a purposely-designed handle, rather than just a top cross bar, but that’s a quibble. Alternately, you can just fill it in-place using a pitcher, if you prefer.
Once you fill it up to the max line, just plug it in, turn on the fan, and turn on the cooling feature. A small pump starts drawing water up from the tank to a reservoir at the top where it trickles down over the filter membrane. You can even add ice to the top reservoir to improve the cooling action.
As I’m writing this review, it’s 88ºF outside, but it’s at least 12º cooler here inside, because I have the Quilo running. And, compared to most air conditioners I’ve known, it’s quiet. The fan is well muted, and the only other sound is a gentle trickling of water that’s really rather peaceful.
They call it a 3-in-1 system because it cools, it’s a fan, and it acts as a humidifier. If you live in a climate where the air dries out in the winter, you might like to keep using the evaporative features even when it gets cold. But for us, the cooling is key, and it works great. This won’t cool a room down to frigidity like an AC unit, but it will make things much more comfortable, and with a lot less power consumption; indeed, we’ve previously tried a portable AC unit—it’s rated at 1050W running at maximum, whereas the Quilo tops out at a measly 36W. That’s a huge difference! (It just occurred to me that you could run this off a single 100W solar panel, too, which could take electricity costs out of the equation completely!)
My bottom line on the Quilo is this: I may go out and buy another one, just to be able to have a couple running in different parts of the house at the same time. They’ll still use a lot less power than many fans and all AC units, portable or otherwise. The portability and form factor make it easy to use, and it really does a good job making a hot day into a comfortable one. I highly recommend the Quilo!