Sunday, 10 February 2013

Botijo, Electricity Free, Clay, Water Cooler

The Botijo is an amazing example of a low/no tech water cooler and it looks  good as well!
The Botijo is made of porous clay (with no glaze), when filled, the water permeates through to the outside and works like an evaporative cooler. The filtered water evaporates off the outer surface, cooling  the water inside, and the walls of  the Botijo and the immediate environment (put a small fan behind it and create a low tech, energy saving, personal evaporative cooling air conditioner!)
The Botijo has been used here in Spain for centuries as a water cooler and is still used to this day, it is a wonderful example of an inexpensive, nearly forgotten, ancient design and technology using evaporative cooling that just works!
The big spout is for filling the Botijo with water, the small spout is for drinking the cool water.
Botijo etiquette demands the lips do not touch the drinking spout as it is usual that more than one person will be drinking from the Botijo.
To save pouring cold water down the novice drinker’s front it probably makes sense to pour the water into a glass first!
This water cooler holds about 6.5 litres of water, the drier the heat the better for evaporative cooling.
Fill it in the morning and all day long cool drinking water will be available with no cost in electricity.
My personal opinion is that the water tastes better after it has been in the Botijo for a while, and we have spring water! It is said that the minerals in the clay create that taste.

Image via Wikipedia

I tried a little experiment, I filled the Botijo water cooler and put it on a granite table in full sun, normally one would place it in the shade to aid evaporative cooling.
When I returned a couple of hours later the granite top was just off hot to touch and yet the Botijo was cold to touch and the water was cool.
I am guessing the moisture around the lower half of the Botijo was due to the evaporative cooling of the heat of the granite top ‘pulling’ water through the clay to dissipate the heat. The small area directly under the Botijo was the only part of the granite top that was cool!

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