Not sure which type of HVAC system you need for your Las Vegas home? Maybe you are wondering if you should go with a swamp cooler or central air?
Having a functional and effective cooling system is vital in the summer. Particularly, this is true for homeowners who live in warmer climates. In Las Vegas, for example, you have many people wondering if a swamp cooler might not be a better option.
In general, homeowners in Las Vegas living in these warmer climates have questions about swamp coolers versus central air conditioning units. This article is an honest comparison that will help you understand the main differences and choose between these two cooling units.
What is a Swamp Cooler?
A swamp cooler consists of evaporative cooling. That means it relies on the evaporation of water to cool air. Swamp coolers are also referred to as wet air coolers. Therefore, this system has a special need for a stable water supply. They cool by taking advantage of the large enthalpy of vaporization of water.
Another key difference between swamp coolers and more common types of HVAC 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 airflow through a house or building to properly direct the cooled air. Completely different compared to the AC unit, which depends on HVAC ducts. Swamp coolers are ductless systems because no ducts run through the house. In this case, the air is cooled in one part of the house and distributed throughout the rest.
What is a Central HVAC System
Central air conditioning is an HVAC system that cools a home or building by using fans to blow cold air into the space. The air is then distributed throughout the room through vents and registers. Central air conditioning is a system that uses a compressor to pump refrigerant through the house, where fans cool it and then send it back to the compressor in each individual unit.
Swamp coolers, at times, can be the best choice of system for large spaces with lots of windows and doors. They don’t usually require any special installation like ducts or vents. In contrast, central air conditioning is ducts and vents that distribute cool air throughout your home. There’s usually an outdoor unit and an indoor unit in each house, and the units are connected by a series of tubes that carry refrigerant fluid. The outdoor unit has a compressor, fan, and condenser coil. The compressor compresses the refrigerant fluid to be moved through the system more quickly; this causes it to heat up. The fan blows air over the condenser coil, which transfers heat from inside your house to outside the house. This heated air then passes into the indoor unit, where it’s cooled back down by blowing across an evaporator coil before being distributed throughout your home via ductwork in different rooms or floors.
Swamp Cooler Versus 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 advantages and disadvantages of both options.
Swamp coolers have a cheaper price point, and they’re also inexpensive to install. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a central air conditioner can cost thousands of dollars, while a swamp cooler costs around $700. The monthly electric power bill is also lower than a central air conditioner for a swamp cooler, making a key difference in the price. 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. Here in the desert, we have no shortage of hot air or dry air. So it does make Las Vegas a decent environment for this unit to cool individual rooms. Of course, except for what the locals call “monsoon season” in the summer.
Both swamp coolers and air conditioners need to be maintained to ensure excellent 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 regularly clean or change the pads of a swamp cooler.
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. However, these are not ideal for those who dislike humid or muggy air. A swamp cooler would not be effective in a climate that’s already humid.
If you choose to get a swamp cooler, you will see significant savings in your energy costs. This single unit takes four times less energy to run than a comparable standard air conditioner. It will allow you to save electricity, but it will also help you protect the environment. Many homeowners feel it is the best option for its compact size and best choice for its ability to save them so much money.
However, air conditioners are getting better and more efficient. As a result, 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 a central location. However, a ducted system may be necessary for larger homes for both a swamp cooler and an air conditioner. Many homeowners like the AC unit more because there is not much noise.
How to Maintain Swamp Coolers
Swamp coolers are just big fans blowing across water-soaked pads. As the water evaporates, it takes to heat and cools the air. This is exactly what happens in your refrigerator or on a hike as you walk next to a swamp. Of course, you can’t see the evaporation because the water is cold, but it’s evaporating nonetheless.
A swamp cooler has three main parts:
- The fan
- The cooling pads
- The pump that moves water through them
The pump is usually hooked up to a thermostat. The thermostat turns on when it’s hot and off when not needed.
To clean your swamp cooler pads, turn off the power to the unit at the breaker box. Then disconnect the hoses and slide them out of their sleeves.
If they’re caked with algae or mold, scrub them with a stiff brush under running water. Please note that you may want to wear rubber gloves and a face mask for this part. If they’re really bad, you can run bleach through them. Just soak them overnight in a tub of bleach and water (about 1/10 bleach) and then rinse thoroughly. Once they’re clean, dry them by standing them up on end. This way, air can blow through them. You don’t want any mildew to form.
How to Maintain a Central Air Conditioner
The central air conditioning system, although the more popular HVAC system, is more complicated than the standard ductless unit. With these two different types of HVAC units, central air conditioning is much more effective. So if you want to keep your home cool this summer, it’s worth the effort to learn how to maintain central air conditioning.
The first step to maintaining your central air conditioning system is checking for leaks in the ducts. The most commonplace leaks are between the return air filter and grille. To check for leaks, turn off all power to your HVAC system, remove the filter, and look for any discoloration around the filter’s edges or surface. If you see stains or discoloration, such as on top of or beneath any wire grilles, you likely have a leak.
To fix this problem, tighten all connections between components out of place or missing, and replace all damaged parts before turning back on the power.
Central air conditioning is a great way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Although it is important to know, if you don’t maintain it properly, it can cost you more money than it needs to.
Here are some tips for keeping central air conditioning running smoothly:
- Check the filter regularly: Filters should be checked and replaced every three months. It’s essential to keep the filter clean because dirty filters reduce airflow and cause the system to break down prematurely.
- Check refrigerant levels: If the refrigerant level drops too low, it can cause damage to your system’s compressor. If your levels drop low, you will need to get a technician out promptly so they can top off or replace the missing refrigerant.
- Check condenser coil for obstructions: Any obstructions on your condenser coil (like leaves) can cause your AC unit to run inefficiently and overheat. A technician will be able to remove these obstructions from your system quickly, so it works at peak efficiency again!
Tips for Buying a Swamp Cooler
A swamp cooler can lower the temperature of a room by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. For the cooler to work correctly, put it somewhere with adequate ventilation. The ventilation should be directed towards the swamp cooler fan to distribute the cooled air throughout the room.
The Cooling Capacity
The cooling capacity of a swamp cooler is measured in British thermal units per hour (BTU/hr), and one BTU represents about 1/200th of the heat needed to warm up one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
The cooling capacity of your swamp cooler depends primarily on three factors:
- The area of your pad
- The amount of moisture present in the outside air
- The temperature difference between outside and inside
You will also need to consider how many square feet you are trying to service.
Swamp Cooler Cost
Achieving effective cooling with an evaporative cooler is relatively inexpensive compared with other cooling options such as central air conditioning systems. Plus, they use a lot less electrical energy to work. So your energy bill will be less.
Now that you are considering purchasing a swamp cooler, here are some helpful tips:
- Purchase fans with variable speed settings so you can adjust the amount of cool air produced by the unit according to your comfort level.
- Buy fans that have easy-to-adjust louvers so that you can direct airflow toward specific areas in your home.
- Check for units with timers so you can program them to turn on and off depending on when you need them.
- Try using fans together with your cooler; this combination can produce even more significant cooling effects than either method alone.
Tips for Buying a New HVAC system
The first thing to consider when buying an HVAC central air conditioning system is the size of your home. If you have a large house, you’ll need to make sure the system can handle all of the rooms in your home. A smaller home will only need a smaller system.
Another thing to consider is what type of energy source you will be using for your HVAC system. For example, if you have solar panels or wind turbines on your property, then it may be best to use them as an energy source for your central air conditioning system. This will reduce your carbon footprint and save you money on monthly bills from utility companies and other waste disposal costs that are often associated with running these systems using fossil fuels like oil or gas instead!
Finally, consider what kind of ductwork needs replacing if there’s any damage done by previous owners who may not have been careful with their maintenance routine over time (or even if they were). You can get replacement parts from your local hardware store but if they’re not available there, try searching online for other options, such as Amazon. Sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace make it safe to buy from people who sell used items.
When you’re ready to buy an HVAC central air conditioning system, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Ductwork Needs to Be Up to Code
If you’re installing your central air conditioning unit, make sure that your ductwork is up to code before you begin. If it’s not, you’ll need professional help installing the system. This can be expensive and time-consuming, so make sure everything is done correctly.
- Make Sure Your Unit Works Well with Your Space
When choosing a central air conditioning unit for your space, be sure that the size of the unit matches what you need for cooling. Also, consider how well it will fit into the area where it will live, for example, whether or not any ductwork needs to be installed. Being prepared can save money on installation costs later on down the line!
- Consider Solar Panels
A solar panel would be an excellent addition to any home or business with limited access to electricity, such as in remote locations. Solar panels can be installed on roofs or walls for easy access to sunlight during warmer months when cooling needs are high. Solar panels don’t require much maintenance either.
Your Home Cooling Choice is Yours
The majority of homeowners in Las Vegas have the same specific needs, temperature control in a warmer climate. Even though there are different types of HVAC systems, most Las Vegas homes have central air conditioners. However, swamp coolers are still present in the valley since this is one of the climates they work well in.
Ultimately, choosing between the key differences of a swamp cooler and an air conditioner is up to the homeowner’s preferences. The cooling season can be challenging for Las Vegas homeowners. We recognize finding the best way to cool your home is a big decision. The right system for your home or office can become challenging. Consumers often try to make a good choice between energy conservation, indoor air quality, the temperature change within their space, and the long time commitment. We personally feel the best residential HVAC system is central air. These HVAC units are typically more versatile and have better quality options. We can address any of your questions about installing a unit in your home during a consultation.
For more information about the pros and cons of each option, don’t hesitate to contact us! The Cooling Company: we are available today to help you!