January 2, 2017

Not sure which type of HVAC system you need for your Las Vegas home? Contact your HVAC experts at The Cooling Company today (702) 567-0707.

Having a functional and effective cooling system is of vital importance in the summer, particularly for homeowners who live in warmer climates. Unfortunately, many homeowners find it difficult to select a cooling system that best suits their needs. In general, homeowners in Las Vegas end up with questions about swamp coolers vs central air conditioning units. Here is an honest comparison that will help you choose between these two options.

What Is a Swamp Cooler?

A swamp cooler refers to a device that relies on the evaporation of water to cool air. On the other hand, traditional air conditioning systems use absorption refrigeration and vapor-compression cycles. Swamp coolers, also referred to as evaporative coolers and wet air coolers, take advantage of the large enthalpy of vaporization of water.

Another key difference between swamp coolers and traditional air conditioning systems is that the former is an open system while the latter is a closed system. Since a swamp cooler is an open system, it relies on the flow of air through a house or building to properly direct the cooled air.

Related: Should I Open Windows After a Storm to Avoid Running My AC?

Swamp Cooler vs High-Efficiency Central Air System: The Pros and Cons

If you’re having a hard time choosing between a swamp cooler and a high-efficiency central air system, here is some information about the pros and cons of both options.

Operational Costs

Not only are swamp coolers cheap to build, but they’re also inexpensive to install. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a central air conditioner can cost thousands of dollars to install while a swamp cooler costs around $700 to install. The monthly operating costs are also lower for a swamp cooler than a central air conditioner. However, swamp coolers are only effective in the right climate. It must be both hot and dry for a swamp cooler to function as intended, which makes Las Vegas a decent environment with the exception of our monsoon season in the summer.

Air Quality

Both swamp coolers and air conditioners need to be maintained to ensure good air quality in a home. Just as the air filter of a standard air conditioner needs to be replaced every few months, homeowners need to clean or change the pads of a swamp cooler regularly.

Moisture Levels

While an air conditioner will remove moisture from the air in your home, a swamp cooler will add moisture. Therefore, if you live in a dry climate, a swamp cooler will help add moisture to the air. Swamp coolers are not ideal for those who dislike humid or muggy air, and a swamp cooler would not be effective in a climate that’s already humid.

Related: The Benefits of Installing a Humidifier and Ventilation Systems with Central Air


If you choose to get a swamp cooler, you will see major savings when it comes to your energy bill. A swamp cooler takes four times less energy to run than a comparable standard air conditioner. Not only will a swamp cooler allow you to save electricity, but it will also help you protect the environment.

However, air conditioners are getting better and more efficient. Homeowners can enjoy the benefits of energy savings with high-efficiency units with none of the drawbacks of a swamp cooler.


Both swamp coolers and air conditioners are often installed in the central location of a home. However, for larger homes, a ducted system may be necessary for both a swamp cooler and an air conditioner.

Your Home Cooling Choice is Yours

The majority of homeowners in Las Vegas have central air conditioners, but swamp coolers are still present in the Valley since this is one of the climates that they work well in. Ultimately, the choice between a swamp cooler and an air conditioner is up to the preferences of the homeowner. If you’re having a hard time choosing between the two options, keep in mind that some elect to have an air conditioner to cool certain parts of your home and a swamp cooler for the rest of the home.

Choosing between a swamp cooler and air conditioner can be very difficult for Las Vegas homeowners. We personally feel that central air is typically a more versatile and better quality option, and we can address any of your questions about installing a unit in your home. For more information about the pros and cons of each option, don’t hesitate to contact us here at The Cooling Company by calling (702) 567-0707.

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