When researching cooling systems, you may come across evaporative coolers. They are commonly used in dry climates. Both evaporative coolers and air conditioning systems can create cool air, and their respective cooling measure is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). With that said, AC systems and evaporative coolers are two completely different cooling systems.
What Is an AC System?
An air conditioning system is an indoor cooling system that uses refrigerant to create cool air. It features coils, a condenser, refrigerant and other parts. Air conditioning systems will absorb heat from an indoor space, which they’ll transfer outdoors, thus creating cool air.
Refrigerant will run through a pair of coils in an air conditioning system. There’s an indoor coil known as the evaporator coil, and there’s an outdoor coil known as the condenser coil. Air conditioning systems blow indoor air over the former coil. As a result, refrigerant within the evaporator coil will absorb heat. Another fan will blow air over the condenser coil to cool off the refrigerant and release its heat.
What Is an Evaporative Cooler?
Also known as a swamp cooler, an evaporative cooler is a type of cooling system that uses water to create cool air. They feature a water-soaked medium, such as pads, and one or more large fans. When running an evaporative cooler, the fan will blow air over the water-soaked medium. This will lower the temperature of the air so that it can cool the space in which the evaporative cooler is used.
Evaporative coolers pull in warm outdoor air, which they pass over a water-soaked medium. They are simpler cooling systems that contain fewer parts.
Differences Between AC Systems and Evaporative Coolers
Air conditioning systems and evaporative coolers aren’t the same. Air conditioning systems leverage refrigerant – as well as coils and other parts – to create cool air. Evaporative coolers, on the other hand, simply blow air over a water-soaked medium.
Air conditioning systems are more powerful than evaporative coolers. With the right-sized air conditioning system, you can quickly cool your home. Evaporative coolers can still create cool air, but they lack the cooling power of air conditioning systems.
Only an air conditioning system will dehumidify your home. An evaporative cooler will actually have the opposite effect by making your home more humid. This is why most homes have an air conditioning system. You can find evaporative coolers in warehouses, factories and other open spaces. For residential cooling, though, there’s no substitution for an air conditioning system. Air conditioning systems can quickly cool and dehumidify homes.