Air Conditioners vs. Swamp Coolers

long run, and it is easier to maintain.
Tony Oakman, owner of Lee’s Heating and Air, explains how people can earn $500 towards a new AC unit when they trade in their existing swamp cooler.

Oakman says, “About half of the homes in Utah still use swamp coolers to cool their homes. These systems work by drawing air through water- soaked pads and converting the warm air into cool air. But if your swamp cooler pads aren’t kept fresh, they simply won’t work. Plus, there is a chance of mold and mildew build-up which can add to allergies and make you sick. So if you are sticking with swamp coolers, you need to remember to change your filters frequently.

Oakman notes that central air conditioning is simply cleaner than swamp cooler units. Central air systems are helpful in maintaining healthy, indoor air quality by reducing humidity and the likelihood of mold, mildew allergens, pollens and dirt.

“But don’t just take my word for it. According to Wade Thompson, a weatherization program specialist with the state of Utah, there have been a few instances where family doctors have actually written a prescription for central air conditioning because the bacteria in the swamp cooler air has either caused or exacerbated life-threatening lung infections,” Oakman says.

Thompson also says that because of the way swamp coolers are usually installed, this type of system could be contributing in a large way to heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. In the winter, uninsulated swamp cooler duct work could result in a loss of over 30,000 BTUs of heat in one day. To put this into perspective, a BTU—which stands for British thermal unit—is what people in the heating and air conditioning industry use to measure energy. One BTU is approximately equal to the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of water by one degree Fahrenheit—from 60 degrees to 61 degrees. Put another way, a furnace typically used to heat a home that’s about 1,500 to 2,000 square feet is usually capable of putting out about 60,000 BTUs.

In addition to all of this, swamp coolers may not always be that effective. “Central air conditioning works in high or low humidity. Swamp coolers only work in drier conditions and are dependent on the amount of humidity on the air. We all know that even though we live in a desert, Utah summers can be very humid with our summer storm patterns – like what we have been seeing over the past couple of weeks,” Oakman says.

Oakman suggests that if you’re worried about your home’s interior and exterior appearance, central air conditioning is the way to go. Central air conditioning systems don’t damage your roof or look like an eyesore in your ceiling or window. Plus, leaking swamp cooler units can cause unsightly water stains on the ceiling and walls.

There’s another serious issue people often don’t consider when they’re using a swamp cooler. In order to work properly, a swamp cooler requires that windows are open to pull cool air through the house, while a central air conditioning system runs air throughout the entire house with the use of ducts. Central air conditioning doesn’t require open windows to pull cool air through the house.

Oakman says, “Often times, people with swamp coolers forget to lock up their homes when they leave, or even when they’re asleep. This presents an opportunity for someone to break in a house. Plus, dust, pollen, pollution, insects and even animals can enter through open windows.”

For more information, you can contact Tony at Lee’s Heating and Air at 801-747-LEES or online at Tony can explain more about his limited time offer where you can trade in your old swamp cooler for $500 toward a new central air conditioning unit.

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