Swamp Cooler vs. Air Conditioner: Cost & Advantages

Swamp Cooler vs. Air Conditioner: Cost & Advantages

Swamp coolers and air conditioners may serve the same purpose of providing cold air to each room in your home, but both types of systems work in different ways. To help you maintain a livable environment, we have developed an outline of the differences and advantages between dry-climate swamp coolers vs air conditioners.

How Does a Swamp Cooler Work?

Swamp coolers pass air over a wet pad to cool your house. This pushed air evaporates the water into the surrounding air. This evaporated water decreases the temperature of the air in your household by adding moisture to it. For this reason, the swamp cooler work in climates with humidity ratings close to 15% or lower. For climates that reach humidity levels of 30% or higher, the swamp cooler loses effectiveness. Also, keep in mind that the swamp cooler is water-intensive. To maintain cold air, you are required to continuously add and control water to the system.

How Does a Central Air Conditioner Operate?

If you're comparing the operational procedures of swamp coolers vs central air conditioners, you will discover your air conditioning system is designed to circulate refrigerant between a pair of condenser and evaporator coils to extract warm air from the household. The warm air is collected through the return vents by the blower fan in your system. Next, the warm air is distributed to a set of coils that are filled with cold refrigerant. As the incoming air is pushed to the coils, excess heat energy will be extracted and the temperature of the air will start to decrease.

Once the air is cold, a fan is activated to distribute the cold air through the air ducts and supply vents in your household. The heat that was collected by the refrigerant is distributed to the compressor in the outdoor condenser. Next, a set of condenser coils will release the heat energy into the outdoor air.

Air Conditioners

Installing Swamp Coolers & Air Conditioning Units

Both swamp coolers and air conditioners have many installation options. The installation of a swamp cooler vs an air conditioner depends on your purchase size and model, swamp cooler cost, as well as installation location.

Swamp Cooler Installation Process

If you’re comparing the installation process of swamp coolers vs air conditioners, portable, direct air, and window unit swamp coolers require no professional installation. All they need is a nearby water hose or hookup. On the other hand, a whole-house swamp cooler should be installed by a licensed technician because this type of system requires air ducts and anchoring.

Air Conditioner Installation Process

Portable and window air conditioner units typically do not need to be installed by a licensed contractor. However, an average homeowner will not be able to install a central air conditioner and air ducts without a certified technician. In some cases, a carpenter and electrician may be needed to retrofit a ductless system to a house.

Cost of Purchasing & Installing a Swamp Cooler

The cost of swamp cooler ranges from $100 to $1,500. The total price of this type of system varies depending on the size, features, and model. In addition, the cost of your system will vary by the type of swamp cooler you purchase. Ordinary types of systems include portable, window, or mounted swamp coolers. Professional swamp cooler installation services can range from as low as $100 to $1,000 depending on the amount of labor required.

Cost of Buying & Installing Air Conditioning Systems

In general, the cost of air conditioners will range from $200 to $1,500 or more, with portable air conditers being the cheapest to purchase. Central air conditioning systems will be more expensive in comparison to portable systems. If you are researching the cost of installing air conditioners vs swamp coolers, the cost to install a portable or window air conditioner will vary from $100 to $800. On the other hand, the cost to install a central air conditioning sytem will vary from $2,000 to $2,500

3 Benefits of Investing in a Swamp Cooler

Air Conditioner

1.) Minimal Maintenance

Swamp coolers need regular maintenance to operate properly. This includes filling the unit with water and changing out worn pads. The simplicity of this maintenance means you can do it yourself. If you’re comparing swamp coolers vs air conditioners, the process of maintaining an air conditioner is harder due to the advanced parts and components. You will pay annual fees of $70 to $100 to maintain your central air conditioner. This doesn’t include paying for any parts that may need replacing.

2.) Excellent for Climates With Dry Air

Swamp coolers are perfect for dry climates because they add moisture to cool air. The moisture will make you feel comfier at home, whereas an air conditioner extracts additional moisture from the air.

3.) Environmentally Friendly

Swamp coolers use water to cool your home rather than cooling agents with carbon emissions. For this reason, swamp coolers are safer for the environment, your home, and your family members when compared to air conditioning units.

3 Benefits of Purchasing a Central Air Conditioner

1.) Convenience

Air conditioners can easily cool every room in your house with the touch of a button. Rather than installing a separate unit in each room, a centralized air conditioning system will allow you to cool your entire house simultaneously.


2.) Intuitive & User Friendly

You don’t have to be an industry expert to understand how to set or manually update your cooling preferences into your system. Air conditioners are designed to be intuitive to homeowners. Some types of energy-efficient air conditioners are available with remote controls!

3.) High Air Quality

Central air conditioners filter out dirt and other particulates from the air in your home. If you're analyzing the benefits of purchasing an air conditioner vs a swamp cooler, a central air conditioner will provide higher quality air to each room in your living space. This is especially beneficial to homeowners with allergies or respiratory issues.

Air Conditioning & Furnace Repair Services

Prior to purchasing a swamp cooler vs air conditioner, talk to an HVAC technician about the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Your comfort is important to us. That’s why we provide safe, efficient, and affordable air conditioning and furnace services to Chicagoland residents 24 hours a day. From broken water heaters, cracked water lines, malfunctioning sump pumps, to repiping, our team has the tools, equipment, and training to resolve your issues. Give our team a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or schedule an appointment online.

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