Air conditioners are designed to keep us cool on hot summer days, so what exactly are the differences between swamp coolers and refrigerated AC?
Swamp coolers and refrigerated air conditioners (AC for short) are two types of air conditioning. This simply means they condition the air by cooling it. But they work very differently from one another. Both serve the same important purpose: keeping us cool. Additionally, they each have benefits and downsides. So what exactly are the differences between swamp coolers and refrigerated AC?
Swamp coolers (evaporative coolers) rely on the flow of air through your home to cool the air. This is achieved by pushing warm, dry outdoor air through water. The dry air causes evaporation of the water which cools the air. This cooled air is then pushed throughout your home. In order for a swamp cooler to be most effective, windows or doors, furthest away from a swamp cooler’s vents, need to be open. This allows a steady, consistent flow of evaporative-cooled air to replace hot, dry air. Swamp coolers can cool outdoor temperatures by 25-35 degrees. These systems are relatively inexpensive to run and typically use less energy, as much as 75% less. Because they add moisture to the air, they act as humidifiers which is a benefit in very dry climates.
That being said, if a swamp cooler is not working correctly, the unit may leak water and make loud, unusual noises. This will prevent the unit from blowing cold air. In turn, it makes the unit less energy-efficient and can significantly increase your electricity bill without the comfort of a cooled home. Here are a few additional negative aspects of evaporative coolers:
- They are highly ineffective in humid climates and during humid days.
- They require more maintenance.
- Swamp coolers installed on your roof may cause roof deterioration with time.
- The temperature to which they can cool is limited.
- The continuous use of water is not Eco-friendly, especially in areas where water use is limited and during periods of drought.
- Their effectiveness relies on leaving windows or doors open creating security and safety concerns.
- Swamp coolers add moisture to the air which creates an environment for mold and mildew and can cause wood furniture and doors to swell.
- The air from a swamp cooler is not “cleaned” as well as with refrigerated AC.
Refrigerated Air Conditioners
Refrigerative cooling is often referred to as “air conditioning” even though both types are technically air conditioners. Standard refrigerated AC units work by passing outdoor air over a set of coils. These coils are filled with a refrigerant which makes them cold. The air is cooled by these cold coils then sent into your home and re-circulated through the use of vents or ducts. The unit blows out hot air generated in the process to the outside and pushes cold air using ducts to flow into your home. Refrigerated air units also dry the air by removing water vapor from the cooled room. This results in a drier room making it far more effective on humid days and in humid climates.
Refrigerated AC provides the highest standard of comfort in all types of weather by cooling and taking humidity out of the air. They require far less maintenance than a swamp cooler. Also, there are no limits to the temperatures desired because you have more control with refrigerated AC. The one negative aspect can be the cost in terms of energy usage.
The bottom line when it comes to differences between swamp coolers and refrigerated AC is that they operate very differently. Understanding the differences will help you get the most out of your preferred type of unit. The best way to determine which type of air conditioning is right for you is with the help of knowledgeable professionals. Seek out the expertise of professionals who install and repair both types of units. Quality providers such as Polar HVAC can answer your questions, alleviate your concerns and help you achieve the most comfort in this summer heat.