Although traditional air-conditioning systems are still the most popular form of cooling apparatus, evaporative coolers remain an extremely viable alternative. In fact, evaporative coolers are one of the oldest forms of climate control still in existence. If you are undecided as to which form of cooling system will work best for you, it is helpful to first understand the distinct differences between the two.
Most people are more familiar with the more traditional form of air-conditioning system. These chill the air to a more comfortable level by utilising the act of refrigeration. Standard air-conditioners contain a number of coils filled with compounds called refrigerants. As warm air is moved through the system’s interior, it is absorbed into the coils, converting the refrigerants from a liquid state into gas. The coils chill the air to be expelled from the system and at the same time carry on absorbing the warm air within the interior in a continuing cycle of liquid-gas conversion.
Also known as swamp coolers, evaporative systems, as their very name would suggest, cool the air around them through the evaporation of water. Through the transition of liquid water into vapour, the ambient temperature of air can be cooled significantly, making evaporative coolers one of the most effective air-conditioning systems available. In particularly dry conditions, evaporative coolers add moisture to the air, making conditions much more comfortable.
Which Is Best?
Both evaporative coolers and traditional air-conditioning systems have their advantages and disadvantages. However, one of the main deciding factors in choosing the right system for you is the location in which it will be used, as each system is particularly suited to a different type of climate.
Evaporative coolers are highly effective in particularly hot and dry climates, where the addition of moisture to the air from the evaporation process can help make conditions more bearable. On the other hand, this type of cooling system is not suited to a more humid climate, as the effectiveness of the cooling process is greatly reduced. Humid locations are better served by traditional air-conditioning systems, which work by actually removing moisture from the air rather than adding to it.
In terms of running costs, an evaporative cooler is far more economical. Initial installation of an evaporative cooler generally costs less than that for a traditional air conditioner, while on-going operation is cheaper due to power consumption being limited to just a fan and a water pump. When it comes to comfort and overall performance, once again each system has its own distinct benefits. Evaporative coolers work efficiently even when windows and doors are left open, meaning that the air that is being circulated is fresh and not recycled. However, the high humidity of the air expelled by an evaporative cooler can sometimes cause corrosion in electrical equipment, making a traditional air-conditioner more suited to an office environment.
While both traditional air-conditioning units and evaporative coolers have their merits, it is location and budget which will ultimately be the deciding factors.