An introduction to swamp coolers
How do they work?
Swamp coolers use the scientific principle of evaporative cooling to chill air it draws in from the outside into your home. Essentially, by running the air over water, the air becomes cooler. It’s the same reason that you sweat when you run: the addition of water allows for your body to more effectively release stored heat.
When attached to a window or roof, a swamp cooler can provide cooling at a fraction of the cost of a traditional air conditioning system, which uses electricity to run air over chilled coolant in coils.
History of the swamp cooler
Despite the popular name, “swamp” coolers actually would not be all that useful in a swamp. In fact, evaporative coolers work best in dry climates, like the kind found here in New Mexico. That’s because swamp coolers add more humidity to the air—not something you want when it’s already extremely humid out.
Humans have been using evaporative cooling for centuries to cool buildings and even store food. In the twentieth century, swamp coolers became popular in the U.S. West because they provide cooling while adding humidity to the air.
What are some advantages of swamp coolers?
For Arizonans who are sensitive to dry temperatures, a swamp cooler is a great solution, since it simultaneously cools and adds moisture to the air. Since dry air can often impact the way the human body cools itself, this means that the cooling impact of the swamp cooler goes ever farther compared to a traditional AC system, which dries the air. Evaporative coolers are also far less expensive to install than AC, and they cost far less to operate in the summer.
Here are some of the other advantages of installing a swamp cooler:
- Evaporative coolers are available in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different spaces and windows. There are even portable swamp coolers that roll on wheels.
- They use less electricity, and are considered environmentally friendly.
- The can help offset extremely dry conditions outside, making your home a much more comfortable place to live.
What are some disadvantages of swamp coolers?
For one, swamp coolers don’t work everywhere. They’re a great fit for Albuquerque and New Mexico, but we wouldn’t recommend one to your cousin in Florida. Evaporative coolers require regular cleaning and maintenance, and two scheduled appointments per year to winterize and de-winterize the system.
Here are some of the other disadvantages of a swamp cooler:
- If not properly maintained and cleaned, swamp coolers can be the source of many problems, including mold and mosquitos.
- Open windows could pose a security problem. There are ways to mitigate this, however.
Now, these negatives do not mean you shouldn’t consider a swamp cooler. Wagner can help with the winterizing and the spring checkup, and—if properly maintained—an evaporative cooler can be a great investment that cools down your home at a low price.
How do I decide if I should buy a cooler or an air conditioning system?
Ultimately, the choice really comes down to your personal tastes, your needs, and your budget. However, if you have any questions or would like to learn more about either swamp coolers or air conditioning systems, give us a call. We can help you decide which is best for you.