Whether you already have a swamp cooler in your San Antonio, TX home or you’re thinking about putting one in, it’s important to understand how they work. While air conditioners, heat pumps, and ductless mini-splits dramatically lower indoor temperatures, swamp coolers only provide a limited amount of cooling. Read on to find out more about the drawbacks and limitations of these units.
Humidity Is a Major Factor in a Swamp Cooler’s Cooling Abilities
Also known as an evaporative cooler, a swamp cooler uses heat energy from the indoor air to evaporate water. Functioning much like the cooling system that your body uses when temperatures rise, swamp coolers offer a low-cost alternative to conventional air conditioning in moderate climates. When you sweat, heat energy from your skin causes your sweat to evaporate, thereby leaving you feeling a bit cooler. In a like manner, an evaporative cooler uses indoor heat to evaporate indoor moisture.
Many swamp coolers work well in temperatures as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but they aren’t much use when the weather becomes significantly hotter. This is especially true during times of high humidity. If there’s already excess moisture in the air when you turn your swamp cooler on, less water will evaporate, and less indoor heat will be used for your swamp cooler’s operations. For instance, in a hot room with just 2% humidity, an evaporative cooler may be able to drop the temperature by as much as 20 degrees, but in a room with 80% humidity, the temperature decrease could be as low as just three degrees Fahrenheit.
You Might Stay Safe With a Swamp Cooler, but You Aren’t Guaranteed Comfort
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) affirms that in the right conditions, a swamp cooler can reliably reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 15 degrees. Unfortunately, even in prime operating conditions, this could mean having an indoor temperature as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, on days that are excessively hot and humid, an evaporative cooler might not have enough cooling power to maintain an inhabitable living environment. In San Antonio, where the average early-morning humidity is about 80% throughout much of the year, there’s often the risk of having excessively high humidity and excessively high temperatures at once. In these instances, homeowners must have secondary cooling plans to limit the likelihood of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, severe dehydration, and heat stroke.
Having a Swamp Cooler Can Actually Diminish Your Home’s Value
One of the biggest drawbacks of having a swamp cooler is the fact that these units can actually diminish home values. While modern air conditioning systems enhance both the value and marketability of homes, swamp coolers are known to cause serious roofing problems, and they may contribute to water damage within the building’s interior. This is because swamp coolers are frequently mounted on the roof. When they leak, they cause shingles to warp, buckle, and detach from the roof’s surface. Common swamp cooler float problems can additionally lead to roof staining and damage to the roofing substrate.
Although swamp coolers come with relatively modest maintenance requirements, they do need to be maintained more frequently than most conventional AC systems. More importantly, when swamp coolers are roof-mounted, taking care of them poses the risk of falling.
Why Do People Install Swamp Coolers if They’re So Problematic?
Swamp coolers are a popular choice for indoor cooling in many areas that have moderately high summertime temperatures and relatively low levels of humidity. They have a low upfront cost, and they often suffice in small-sized spaces. However, it’s important to consider the long-term costs of using an evaporative cooler. When accounting for potential roof damage, water damage in the building interior, and the need for secondary cooling equipment, swamp coolers become far less cost-effective overall. Ducted, central air conditioning is a much better choice for older homes that already have HVAC ductwork, and ductless mini-split heat pumps are better-performing alternatives for homes that lack ducting.
Whether ducted or duct-free, modern air conditioning systems provide indoor temperature and humidity control, and they also help regulate indoor air quality (IAQ) by providing constant air filtration. With the right air conditioner, you can enjoy a lower likelihood of mold, fewer indoor odors, fewer airborne allergens, and a safer, more comfortable home all around.
We work hard to help residents of San Antonio, TX stay safe and enjoy optimum levels of home comfort. We provide heater, heat pump, and air conditioner installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also offer IAQ services and preventative maintenance agreements. Contact MD Air Conditioning & Heating today to find the best cooling solution for your home!Tags: HVAC