Emilie Broughton Real Estate Blog

Swamp Cooler vs. Air Conditioner–Which is Best for You?

I was recently asked, “What is a swamp cooler anyway?” Since I have been introduced to them since spending time in the Southwest where they are more common than the West Coast it seemed like a good idea to share some of what I have learned.

Evaporative air coolers (also known as swamp coolers) can be a smart option for dry areas of the country.  Let’s compare a swamp cooler vs. an air conditioner to see which one is more suitable for your living arrangements and needs.

How Do They Work?
Swamp coolers do the cooling via the natural process of evaporation by passing the
air through over water-saturated pads to absorb heat. Air conditioners, on the other
hand, use refrigerants in a closed-loop system to remove heat from the air and expel it outside the building.

What is best for your climate?
Swamp coolers are most effective in dry climates where the added humidity can be a
comfort benefit. In areas with high humidity, they are less effective and can make
the indoor air uncomfortably moist, which is when you might consider the clean air
of a good air conditioner.

How Do Operation Costs Compare?
Swamp coolers are generally less expensive to operate than air conditioners. They
use less energy, typically 200 to 400 watts, compared to the several kilowatts that
might be used by an air conditioner, resulting in lower electricity bills.

How Do They Compare on Maintenance?
Swamp coolers require maintenance at the change of seasons and water tanks that
need their water refilled. Air conditioners need filter changes, occasional refrigerant
refills, and professional maintenance to ensure efficient operation.

Are Swamp Coolers Quieter Than Air Conditioners?
It depends on the model but generally, swamp coolers are quieter than air
conditioners. It is mostly thanks to the way they function — since swamp coolers
use fans to move air through moist pads, they can produce a gentle humming sound.
At the same time, air conditioners use a compressor with a stronger noise. But it should be noted that swamp coolers typically sit on the roof so you will hear that vibration. Compressors on AC units can be placed on the side of a property which can limit how much noise is heard inside when in use.

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About Emilie

A transplant from the Pacific Northwest, Emilie has first-hand knowledge of the ins-and-outs of first-time home ownership and remodeling. She has become involved in the local art community and all the diversity Southern California has to offer and more recently has expanded her knowledge to include New Mexico.

Emilie’s passion to be involved in her community led her to become a licensed Realtor and Broker.  She continues to educate herself on different aspects of real estate to support clients with a variety of needs.  She is certified as a Military Relocation Professional (MRP) to work with U.S. Service families and veterans to find affordable housing solutions.

Having worked for both a small boutique firm and a company with a global presence, in 2023 she formed Emilie Broughton Real Estate to work with buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants in California and New Mexico.

Splitting her time between the Land of Enchantment and the Golden State, Emilie focuses on Los Angeles County and the Greater Albuquerque metro area, helping her clients achieve their real estate goals in both Mountain and Pacific Time Zones.

Emilie represented her region as a California Real Estate State Director for three years.  She has served as President of the Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors and is a multi-year recipient of the Five-Star Real Estate Professionals Award for the outstanding service she provides to her clients.

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