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Homedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler
Roughly 20 x 17cm and 20cm high, it is light grey and white in colour and has adjustable louvres at the front to direct the air flow which the makers claim is effective up to a range of about 4ft. On top of the machine there is the power on/off and the fan button which steps between the two speeds at each press of the button. Dependent on the speed, either one or two LEDs is lit. Visible on top of the cooler is the water reservoir, the lower end of which dips into a sump in the bottom of the machine. The cooler runs from mains. However, in view of the fact that there is water around, to prevent mains voltage coming anywhere the unit itself, it uses a 12V d.c. power “brick” with a 2 metre cable delivering the necessary power to run the fan and the unit’s tiny pump.
When the cooler is used initially, water runs from the full tank to fill the sump to the appropriate level. In operation, water is pumped up from the sump to trickle down over the honeycomb evaporator. As the air is blown over the evaporator it is cooled by water evaporation so that the output air stream is cooler than the input. Surplus water just drops back into the sump and the cycle continues. From then on, as the water in the sump falls, it is topped up from the tank. There is a low water indicator LED adjacent to the push buttons on the top of the machine. However, one does not have to wait as one can refill the water reservoir at any time.
As can be appreciated, as the airstream causes the water to evaporate, the air stream becomes moister so, understandably, the cooler will be more effective when in conditions of lower humidity. In fact the instructions point out that the dryer the air, the more cooling you get. Conversely, the higher the relative humidity, the less cooling you get.
As stated above, the claimed effective range is 4ft (1.2metres). However, I found that the cooling breeze was still perceptible at about 1 metre when on low speed and 1.5m on high speed although I much preferred sitting about 60cm away from the cooler. Another factor that must be taken into account is the need to position the unit and adjust the louvres so that you remain within the airstream.
Although I have been unable to measure actual temperatures, according to the makers, the cooler has been designed to reduce the temperature by up to 12 degrees F (6.6 deg. C).
In the instructions there is a warning that the cooler should be placed on a waterproof mat. In practice, even though I did not find that I got any water spills from the unit, I was not taking any chances as it was on my desk near the computer so I placed the tray in a plastic tray. In addition, the instructions state that the cooling cartridge (evaporator) should be replaced seasonally or after about 540 hours for optimal performance. There is an indicator LED to light up after 540 hours of usage as a reminder.
Overall, the Homedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler does what it says on the tin and there may be circumstances where it may be very useful such as when one is suffering from the hot weather or it is felt that a baby was at risk of overheating. With a list price of £99.99 but available on Amazon for £87.99 it is expensive and there are cheaper alternatives. However, people may feel that it is worth paying the premium so as to play safe and get the reassurance of buying from a known and trusted brand.
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