How do evaporative coolers and air conditioners differ?

How do evaporative coolers and air conditioners differ?

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How do evaporative coolers and air conditioners differ?

Every year when spring rolls around Climate Control Company starts getting questions about evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers.

  • “How does an evaporative cooler work?”
  • “What’s the difference between a swamp cooler and an air conditioner?”
  • “Will I save money if I use a swamp cooler instead of an air conditioner?”
  • “Should I replace my evaporative cooler with an air conditioner?”

So, let’s jump right into this. An air conditioner uses energy (electricity) to remove heat from the air and cool your house. An evaporative cooler uses evaporation to cool the air. The only electricity used is to power a water pump and a fan to circulate the cooled air, so it uses far less electricity. If you’re still confused, here’s a great explanation of swamp coolers from Paul Becker, our sales and operations manager at Climate Control.

The other key factor in the equation is humidity. Evaporative coolers are only effective in dry climates like we have in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and the Western Slope. In fact, swamp coolers add humidity to the air which is why they won’t work in places like the deep south or the Midwest. While humid days are rare in Colorado when they do occur, a cooler may not make your home comfortable. Whereas, an air conditioner does remove the humidity when it cools the air.

If you have a swamp cooler in your home or business and you are happy with its performance, by all means, continue using it. It’s cheaper to operate than an air conditioner and will save you money every month. If there are too many days when the evaporative cooler isn’t meeting the challenge of keeping you cool, you still don’t have to completely replace it. Instead, consider adding some supplemental cooling. A ductless mini split heat pump is a great choice because many homes with swamp coolers don’t have ductwork.

Unlike an air conditioner, you can’t just turn an evaporative cooler on in the spring and shut it off in the fall. There is a specific startup and shutdown procedure that needs to be followed. As soon as the weather starts to warm up you should call us to schedule an appointment.

If you still have questions about whether swamp coolers are right for you or if you should replace yours with an air conditioner, please give Climate Control Company a call. We will be happy to explain all the options. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get more great information like this throughout the year.