What’s The Difference Between A Swamp Cooler And An Air Conditioner?

High temperatures can cause a lot of discomfort. So if the atmospheric temperature is high, you would naturally want to reduce it. There are two different technologies you could use to lower the temperature. These technologies apply in two separate appliances, either an air conditioner or an evaporative cooler, often called swamp coolers. So what is the difference between these two appliances?

Process of Cooling

Swamp coolers use air flowing over a wet surface of a water bath. This, in turn, will evaporate the water and carry the water vapor with it. The heat will absorb the evaporated water, adding moisture to the air; the temperature drops as the heat is absorbed. Swamp coolers also need a continuous feed of water to keep the surfaces moist for evaporation. In contrast, air conditioners pump heat out from the enclosed place. This is the same principle as how a refrigerator runs. They use a working fluid called a refrigerant in a closed circuit. The refrigerant is mechanically compressed and then sent to an evaporator, where an air stream is then sent across the outer surface of the evaporator. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air to cool the air. Evaporated refrigerant is then condensed using another airstream outside the building to cool it before sending it back to the compressor for the cycle to start again.


Evaporative coolers will add moisture to the air and, in time, saturate it. In hot, dry areas, you will be comfortable with cool and moist air. However, if you run swamp coolers regularly, increased humidity could promote mold and fungal growth issues. When the air conditioners cool the air, moisture drops, making the air dry. In a high humidity area, the drop in humidity could make you comfortable. However, lower humidity in air-conditioned spaces can make your skin dry and promote related health issues.


Unless your air conditioner is a compact one called a “window type” or a portable unit, a professional ac installation is needed to handle refrigerants. Furthermore, larger units will need both design and installation to have proper air conditioning, and unless you are installing swamp coolers in a relatively big house, you do not need professional installation.


The equipment installation and mechanical handling will impact the price of both an air conditioner and a swamp cooler. A swamp cooler for a room could be as low as $ 100, while an air conditioner for a similar space could cost you $ 400. After an inspection, the HVAC engineer should be able to give you the best price costs.


Swamp coolers need minor regular maintenance, including ensuring water supply. Since the owner can do most maintenance required, the cost of a maintenance technician should be low as the certifications needed is even less. An industrial air conditioning unit will require yearly maintenance, cleaning the evaporator and condenser surfaces, and restoring refrigerant. There may be repairs to the compressor too. The technician will cost you more as they will have to be certified for refrigerant handling.

Which Is Better Swamp Cooler or Air Conditioner

As much as both appliances work to reduce temperatures, they work differently. Apart from the cost implications, understanding how they work will allow you to make the best choice for your 

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