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Swamp Cooler vs. Central Air: Make the Right Choice for Your Home

Bryant AC Installers

Swamp Cooler vs. Central Air: Make the Right Choice for Your Home

When living in a southwestern city such as Albuquerque, you can choose to install either central air conditioning or a swamp cooler in your home. There are various benefits and disadvantages to both systems, but swamp cooling is often more cost-effective and energy efficient than central air conditioning. At Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we can install and service both types of cooling systems. Use this guide to determine which type is right for you.

How Are They Different?

Swamp coolers and central air conditioning both cool the air in your home, but they do it in entirely different ways. Air conditioning takes air and passes it through a set of coils that have a refrigerant chemical. This cools the air by re-circulating it over and over, sending the hot air outdoors. This is considered a closed process, meaning that if you leave a door or window open, the cold air will escape and the air conditioner will have more difficulty creating it. Air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers, making them best suited to humid areas.

Swamp coolers, on the other hand, are an open process. They need air to flow throughout your home in order to direct it to different areas. In addition, swamp coolers use the hot, dry air in southwestern climates to evaporate water. This necessitates airflow so that the air already in the house can get out. Swamp coolers also humidify the air because they cool with water, making them most beneficial in dry climates.

Pros and Cons of Swamp Coolers

Swamp coolers are beneficial in many ways. First, they require a breeze to circulate fresh air in your home, making it feel cooler than it actually is. In comparison to central air conditioning, they use 75% less electricity. Also, you do not need to install a duct system in order to operate.

However, swamp coolers also have a few disadvantages. They do not work well in cool or humid climates, and they are not as easy to control as air conditioners. They use a large amount of water, which can be a problem if your home is in an area with a drought or reduced water supplies. Swamp coolers also require more maintenance because you have to drain them in the winter, and if you forget to shut them down you will be faced with costly damages. Additionally, the pads must be changed and they can be expensive. Finally, if your area is very polluted, you will not want to keep your windows open all summer.

Pros and Cons of Central Air Conditioning

Central air conditioning also has its pros and cons. On the plus side, they allow you to control the exact temperature, can improve the quality of air, and are useful in a variety of climates. Air conditioners also require little maintenance (usually once per year as well as changing the filter) and do not need to be shut down for winter.

However, air conditioners are at a disadvantage because they require much more electricity, raising your bills. They also need a duct system in order to work, and your duct system must have an air handler. You also cannot open windows at all with central air conditioning because it will make your system less efficient, or even inoperable.

Which is More Cost Effective?

Swamp cooling and central air conditioning both have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cost. To install, swamp coolers are cheaper by far. You can purchase either individual window units for each room or a large unit for the whole house. On average, the large units are significantly more costly than the individual ones, but they are still only about half as expensive as central air conditioning. Swamp cooling is also much cheaper in terms of energy costs. If you use small window units, invest in styles that have a controllable thermostat to save even more.

The one area where central air conditioning wins out is maintenance. Air conditioners require very little maintenance, but swamp coolers must be drained every year, turned off and on at the end and start of the season, and need regular replacement of their pads.

Contact Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Today (505) 349-4404.


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At Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we can handle all of your cooling needs, whether you have chosen central air conditioning or swamp cooling. We will install and service either system. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment.

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