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Swamp Cooler versus AC Cooling :: What's Best For You?

Swamp cooler or AC cooling

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In New Mexico and elsewhere in the southwest, it's colloquially known as a swamp or desert cooler. The evaporative cooler - a rather accurate name since it coois the air via water evaporation - has its origins in ancient Egypt, preceding the modern air conditioner by about 6,000 years. Since Its use is older than Methuselah and still regularly used, assume a desert cooler Is a practical, functional and effective air cooling system. But how does It stack up against an A/C system?

Swamp Coolers and AC Basics

The science behind modern the electrical air conditioner emerged in the 19th century and the first patent for commercial air conditioning system came in 1902. The difference between the two is that an AC system uses absorption refrigeration cycles.

Dry air temperatures can drop dramatically when liquid water becomes vapor, as in a swamp cooler and uses much less energy than refrigeration. And in dry climates swamp coolers add moisture to the air. But and this is a pretty big but, there's almost nothing more uncomfortable than when that swamp cooler malfunctions, especially when it's 96 in the shade.

The number one reasons as swamp cooler can malfunction, and especially when one least needs it to, is because of hard water. And in addition to extreme dry heat in New Mexico, another thing that's also as common as a sunny day in Albuquerque is ...hard water.

Swamp Coolers and Hard Water

The swamp cooler is at once a tried and true method of cooling hot, dry air. Picture folks 100 years ago on an unbearably hot night that have wet or dampened sheets hanging in a window or on a porch - we all get the concept. And while the method is basic and simple, it's not always efficient. And in the case of evaporative coolers and hard water, there can be major problems.

And here in Albuquerque, the water is often very hard (and very common) and that water can easily calcify the components of the cooler which means the equipment will wear out far quicker or malfunction completely. The costs associated include repair and often, replacement of parts and sometimes the entire swamp cooler. And therein lays a reason to consider using an AC system instead. Hard water won't affect an AC system.