Just what exactly is the difference between a swamp cooler and an air conditioner? Although an air conditioner and a swamp cooler both serve to lower the ambient temperature of an environment, they rely on different cooling techniques.
Their primary differences have been outlined below:
An air conditioner cools the environment by acting as a dehumidifier and extracts moisture and heat out of the air. This is achieved by condensing the air with the aid of refrigerant cooled coils inside the AC. These coils extract heat and moisture from the flowing air. When the air meets the coils, it condenses and hence loses its heat and moisture content.
A swamp cooler adds moisture to the air so that the vapor absorbs the heat to create a cooling effect. This is achieved by allowing air to flow through moist filter pads. As the hot air flows through the moisture, it dissipates heat to the liquid turning it into vapors.
How Do they Work?
An AC extracts heat from air by condensing it, hence it needs a closed system – no air is allowed to flow from outside of the environment. The same air is continuously recycled, re-oxygenated, and conditioned to desired thermal comfort level by means of mechanical ventilation (exhaust fans, air ducts, filters, etc.)
A swamp cooler extracts heat from air by vaporizing water, it needs an open system – a natural flow of air is required from the outside. Hence, new air is continuously injected into the environment to keep the air oxygenated and conditioned to desired thermal comfort level by means of different ventilation techniques (open windows, doors, etc).
As the AC relies on cooling refrigerants, coils, and other electrical equipment to continuously cool the coils and dissipate hot air out of the system, it uses larger units of electricity. This consumption is affected by interference from outside atmospheric air as well as the humidity level inside your home. These can be dramatically reduced with proper maintenance and insulation.
As the swamp cooler depends on filtered atmospheric air to evaporated water from filters, it relies on simple blower fans, thus consuming relatively less energy compared to an AC.
Suitability for Los Angeles
During spring and summers, homeowners will have to deal with a few problems:
- The high moisture content in the atmosphere
- Allergens (spring allergens such as spores from plants. Normal pet dander, dust, and mold)
- The pollutant rich smog
- Summer heat waves
An AC can act as a humidifier as well as a dehumidifier. It can easily condense excess moisture in air and drain it as water, and since it utilizes a closed system, it can easily control thermal comfort and filter out pollutants and allergens.
A swamp cooler can only behave as a humidifier and since it requires natural ventilation, poses problems with allergens and pollutants. Humidity and allergen levels can be controlled manually through ventilation.This article was provided by American Air Conditioning & Heating. Since 1981, American Air has been providing professional air conditioning and heating service and repair. Check out their $99 tune-up special – good for your air conditioner or furnace!