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How Much Does a Swamp Cooler Cost?

Swamp coolers provide homeowners with an alternative to central air conditioning that can reduce energy usage dramatically while maintaining indoor comfort levels. Also known as evaporative coolers, these units use moistened pads through which air is drawn by a fan and moved into the home. The combination of moisture and air movement leads to a cooler feel for those in the home. It is important to evaluate the environment in which a home is located before deciding to install such a system as there are conditions that can limit the effectiveness of a swamp cooler.

The Costs

  • The minimum cost of a whole-home swamp cooler is $350.
  • The maximum cost of a whole-home swamp cooler is $2,000.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Swamp Coolers

One of the greatest advantages of using a swamp cooler is the potential for energy savings. This type of system can operate with as little as 25% of the electricity required to operate an air conditioner. Energy usage can be controlled even more efficiently by installing a thermostat for automated on and off activity.

Installation can be much easier with an evaporative cooler as well. Because a swamp unit operates on 120-volt electricity, existing outlets are often sufficient for powering a new system. Many units can be installed in windows, making the structural work required minimal. Ductwork needs are also minimal.

The main disadvantage of using a swamp cooler is humidity. The use of water in the cooling process introduces a great deal of moisture into the home environment. However, the evaporative process can be impeded in an environment that is already humid. This technology is recommended for dry, hot climates. It is not appropriate for areas with high levels of humidity. Additionally, a unit located in a normally dry environment may be ineffective during rainy weather or times of excessive heat.

Installation of an Evaporative Cooler

It is important to evaluate the location for a new system prior to selecting the unit. Some units may be installed in windows. Others are better suited to rooftop installation. In some cases, structural alterations may be needed to create an opening for directing incoming air. Additionally, a water line must be provided to supply the unit. A whole-home unit can be heavy, requiring more than one person to move and place it. While this may be accomplished without the assistance of a contractor, a professional may ensure more efficient and aesthetically pleasing results.

Swamp Cooler Maintenance

Moving parts in a unit should be lubricated prior to the start of the cooling season to ensure optimum performance. Additionally, cooling pads need to be inspected and replaced if they show signs of deterioration. If the water used to operate the cooler has a significant level of mineral content, pads may become caked with mineral buildup, requiring frequent replacement. Similarly, water lines should be inspected for blockages. A water filter may be used to reduce the mineral damage. It may be necessary to replace floats, belts and pumps as wear and tear occurs over time. At the end of the cooling season, a swamp cooler needs to be drained of water and covered to prevent the introduction of cold air into the home during the winter months.

Last updated on May 17, 2016

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