You may think you already know all there is to know about air conditioners and swamp coolers, but there are actually several differences between the two that you might not have known about before. Below, we’ll go over the basics of each type of unit and explain why they work differently from one another, as well as what their respective pros and cons are.
Swamp Cooler versus Air Conditioner
Though swamp coolers have been used for years as a home cooling solution, they remain largely a mystery to most people. What exactly is a swamp cooler? How does it work? Are they worth installing? And are they better than air conditioning units when it comes to cost and performance? If you’re interested in learning more about swamp coolers, keep reading to learn their advantages and disadvantages.
What is a swamp cooler? A swamp cooler is an evaporative cooler that uses an evaporative pad and water to cool air inside a home or office space. The cooling process starts when water from a tank or pond travels through PVC piping into an evaporative pad, which absorbs heat from warm, dry outside air as it passes through it. When dry air passes over one of these pads, its temperature drops quickly due to evaporation—the same principle behind sweating on a hot day.
Benefits of A/C
A/C units can provide relief from heat within minutes, whereas swamp coolers take time to kick in. If you’re looking for immediate relief from extreme temperatures and humidity, A/C may be a better option for you than a swamp cooler. But if your needs are more sporadic, consider that AC requires regular service and hefty energy bills (usually paid through a cooling-services company). There are two basic types of air conditioner: central (installed through a HVAC system) and window units (operated via an outlet). Either way, be prepared to shell out some serious cash: on average, monthly service costs $25–$55 and each hour of operation costs about 12 cents for electricity (not including installation or maintenance costs), according to Home Advisor.
Advantages of Swamp Coolers
If you live in a hot and humid climate like much of Texas, air conditioning can only do so much to keep your home cool—and swamp coolers provide a key advantage over A/C units by keeping humidity levels low while also cooling you down on super-hot days. Many swamp cooler companies also sell easy-to-install window units that let you save cash on energy costs by providing A/C relief right where you need it: indoors! And since they’re not connected to ductwork or any other machinery, swamp coolers are extremely quiet when compared to their mechanical counterparts. At night, for example, most people won’t even know if their swamp cooler is on—even if it’s working at full capacity!
Disadvantages of A/C
Heating and cooling a home is one of the biggest energy-wasters in any household, which makes choosing a cooling system especially important. While air conditioners have an obvious advantage (since they cool your entire house instead of just your room), they also come with some downsides that you should consider before purchasing one
The biggest issue with air conditioners is that they use a lot of energy, which adds to your monthly utility bills and carbon footprint. While newer models may use less electricity than older ones, you’ll still be paying more for cooling every month.
How Do They Work?
A swamp cooler works in much the same way as a dehumidifier, except it utilizes water evaporation instead of sublimation to cool air and lower its temperature. A swamp cooler pulls air into a refrigerated chamber where it’s surrounded by cool pads containing circulating water and ice packs to help lower temperatures within that chamber even further.
The cooled air is then pumped into your home to help lower temperatures across your entire house, as opposed to just one or two rooms. This can help make your home more comfortable for you and reduce energy costs if you use a swamp cooler instead of a central air conditioning system.
What is it Made Of?
Swamp coolers can be made from a variety of materials, including: – Plastic foam – Fiberglass sheets – Aluminum fins – Wooden slats – Metal grates As you might expect, each material has its own unique set of pros and cons. For example, fiberglass is lightweight and easy to install, but it’s also susceptible to damage and doesn’t hold up well in high-humidity environments. Meanwhile, aluminum is more durable than fiberglass but heavier and more expensive to ship.
Metal grates are ideal for swamp coolers that are installed above ground level because they provide easy access to moving parts and prevent debris from falling into them. Fiberglass sheets may have slightly lower installation costs, but you’ll need to be extremely careful when working with it so you don’t get any splinters in your hands or on your clothes.
How Does it Work?
Swamp coolers are based on evaporation—when water evaporates, it absorbs heat from its surroundings. This is exactly how your body keeps cool: sweat on your skin evaporates, drawing away heat and making you feel refreshed.
Swamp coolers use a similar process to draw out heat in hot climates. The system uses a pump to circulate water through a wet pad that’s placed in front of an air vent. As air blows through, it draws moisture out of the pad and into your home. It’s important to note that swamp coolers aren’t effective at temperatures above 90 degrees F; they only work when humidity levels are high enough for substantial evaporation to occur.
Tips for Installing One in Your Home or Office
Some of you may be thinking, But what if I don’t have a swamp near my house? Don’t worry: Swamp coolers can be easily installed indoors as well. Here are some installation tips to keep in mind when doing so: The room where your swamp cooler will be installed should ideally have a ceiling height of at least 8 feet and contain no obstructions that would impede airflow. If possible, try to place it in an area with lots of windows or other sources of natural light—they help create convection currents that boost cooling efficiency.
You’ll also need to consider your climate and how hot it gets there during summer months. If you have a swamp cooler, is it sufficient for cooling your home? If not, what are you planning to do about it? Do some research and get familiar with other AC models that might be able to provide more efficient cooling for your home or office.