Evaporative Vs Refrigerated Cooling Systems

January 28th, 2022
Evaporative Vs Refrigerated Cooling System Which One Is For You

Evaporative and refrigerated cooling systems are both powerful air conditioners. These air conditioners are central cooling systems that evenly set the temperature of your home or business for maximum comfort.

Deciding between evaporative cooling and refrigerated cooling isn’t always straightforward. Both air conditioning systems have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking at getting a central cooling system for your place, read on to learn more about how these two efficient systems can benefit your home or workspace. 

We’ll provide you with key information so you can decide whether evaporative cooling or refrigerated cooling is best for you.

What’s the Difference between Evaporative Cooling and Refrigerated Air Conditioning Systems?

The first step to choosing the right system for your home is understanding the difference between each option.

Many people think of air conditioning as a single product, but it can actually refer to a wide range of systems, all of which vary in terms of price, efficiency, performance, and environmental impact.

Let’s take a closer look at evaporative cooling and refrigerated air conditioning to see how they stand apart from each other.

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What Is Evaporative Cooling and How Does It Work?

Evaporative cooling is an incredibly popular option for cooling homes and businesses in Melbourne. Typically, these systems are created by installing a central cooling unit on your roof and connecting it to ductwork throughout your ceiling. The ducts deliver air throughout your property for a refreshing central ducted cooling experience.

Evaporative coolers make use of filter pads and water to cool your home. The system draws in warm air from outside, draws it over the filter pads, cools the air via evaporation, and disperses this cool air to every room.

Evaporative cooling is a natural form of cooling with a low environmental impact. For best performance, we recommend opening up some windows and doors in your home when operating your evaporative cooling.

What Is Refrigerated Cooling and How Does It Work?

If you want the most premium cooling experience, then refrigerated cooling is the option you are looking for.

Just like with evaporative systems, refrigerated coolers are generally set up as central ducted systems. This means cool air is distributed throughout your home via a series of ducts.

However, unlike evaporative cooling, refrigerated air conditioners do not utilise outdoor air. Instead, they draw in the air that’s already inside your home, cool this air using refrigerant, and return it back to your room for a cool, refreshing experience.

All of the refrigeration occurs in the condenser outside your home (the outdoor unit). Meanwhile, the indoor unit contains a fan and a heat exchange coil. While efforts have been made to improve the environmental impact of refrigerated cooling, the refrigerant used in these systems is not eco-friendly.

Unlike evaporative cooling systems, you should keep your doors and windows closed when you use a refrigerated air conditioner. That’s because it’s continually recycling and cooling the air inside your home.

Frequently Asked Questions: Evaporative Cooling Vs Refrigerated Air Conditioning

I’ve heard that evaporative cooling is cheaper than refrigerated air conditioning. Is this true?

In almost all cases, evaporative cooling will be cheaper than refrigerated air conditioning. If you’re looking to save money on your ducted systems in Melbourne, then you might want to select evaporative cooling in Ringwood, Lilydale, Dandenong, or wherever you are located.

Evaporative systems will generally have lower installation costs than refrigerated systems, but it is running costs where you will save most of your money. It is estimated that evaporative coolers can be up to 7 times cheaper to run!

Of course, cheaper does not always equal better. Refrigerated air conditioners are known for having better cooling performance, especially on humid days, although this is rarely a problem in Melbourne and throughout Victoria.

Evaporative or Refrigerated – Which One Do I Need to Keep My Doors and Windows Open for?

As mentioned above, you need to remember to keep your windows and doors open when using an evaporative cooler.

These systems use water to cool your home, so they will send your humidity levels through the roof in sealed environments. To enhance performance and ensure complete comfort, you need to allow fresh air into your home.

If you want to keep your windows and doors closed while using your air conditioning unit, a refrigerated system might be best for you. In fact, refrigerated air conditioning needs a sealed environment as it works by exclusively cooling and recirculating indoor air. 

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Cooling Performance: How Powerful Is Refrigerated Air Conditioning Compared to Evaporative Cooling?

If you want the most powerful, high-performance air conditioner for your home or business, you can’t go past ducted refrigerated air conditioning in Melbourne. Whether you’re looking for air conditioning in Croydon, Rowville, or beyond, you can’t go wrong with a refrigerated system.

Refrigerated air conditioners are much more effective at lowering humidity and producing cool air compared to water-powered evaporative coolers. 

However, as we mentioned above, this does come with higher running costs. Generally speaking, evaporative systems won’t have a problem on the vast majority of Melbourne days due to the lower humidity levels compared to places like Queensland.

Can You Use an Evaporative Cooler for Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning?

A reverse cycle air conditioner heats and cools your home through the use of reverse cycle technology. If you want your heating and cooling all on one system, you need to use a refrigerated air conditioner.

Evaporative coolers function in a completely different way and are not compatible with reverse cycle air conditioner technology.

Refrigerated and Evaporative Cooling Maintenance Considerations

When it comes to maintenance, both refrigerated air conditioning and evaporative cooling systems should be serviced every 2-3 years. This will keep your system running at its best and reduce the presence of dust, bacteria and other allergy-causing nasties!

As long as you take care of your cooler, you won’t face any extra repair or maintenance requirements for one system or another. However, evaporative coolers generally require more cleaning than refrigerated systems.

You can enquire about refrigerated and evaporative cooling services here. You can enquire about refrigerated and evaporative cooling repair here.

Evaporative vs Refrigerated – Is There a Better Option for Central Ducted Cooling?

In terms of ducted cooling, both of these systems stand up as great options. If you’re building or renovating and you want a ducted central cooling system, they are both worth considering. The only differences you need to think about are those listed above. 

Pros and Cons of Evaporative Cooling and Refrigerated Air Conditioning

Evaporative Cooling Benefits

Fresh, clean air

One of the main advantages of an evaporative cooling system is that it provides fresh, clean air. An evaporative unit circulates outside air and filters out all harmful dust particles and allergens. With an evaporative cooler, your home becomes hygienic and a safe environment for those who suffer from airborne allergies.

Energy efficient

An evaporative cooling system only needs electricity for its fan and water pump. Therefore, the air conditioning unit uses significantly less power than most cooling systems. This means you’re able to cool your home at a cheaper cost.


Another benefit of an evaporative cooling’s energy-efficient system is that it’s better for the environment. An evaporative unit emits less carbon dioxide and uses a more natural process to keep your home cool. Therefore, you’re able to keep your home comfortable without leaving a big carbon footprint.

Things to consider with an evaporative system

Performance depends on outdoor weather

Because an evaporative cooling system relies on outside air, the weather conditions will have some effect on its performance. Evaporative units are not ideal for humid areas and can be influenced by rainy periods. They are best suited for cooling in dry climates rather than humid climates. Luckily, summers in Melbourne are often more dry than sticky, so evaporative systems are still a viable and effective cooling option.

Needs routine cleaning

For an evaporative system to work at its full potential, it needs to be cleaned consistently. The evaporative air conditioner needs its internals like wet pads, blades, nozzles, and screens maintained to avoid mould and bacteria. Salt and mineral deposits must also be removed. All air conditioners need to be properly taken care of, the only difference with evaporative coolers is that they require a little more TLC than most air conditioners.

Relies on water

An evaporative cooling system needs to be connected to a constant water source to work. While most homes have reliable water systems, it’s understandable that not everyone will be able to provide an evaporative cooling unit with the right amount of water.

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Refrigerated Cooling Benefits

Cooling in all weather conditions

A refrigerated cooling system will keep your home or office comfortable in all climates. Melbourne is well known for extreme, unpredictable weather conditions. Whether it’s a dry climate or humid, rain or shine, a refrigerated unit’s performance will not be altered and will continually keep your space cool.

Ultimate temperature control

Refrigerated air conditioners come with a zoning feature that allows you to assign different temperatures in your home or office. Because you get to select which areas you want to keep cool, you save energy and let everyone enjoy comfort their way.

Year-round comfort

With a ducted refrigerated system, you’re also given the option to heat your home with the same unit. A refrigerated cooling system can have a reverse cycle where it circulates warm rather than cool air. Enjoy year-round comfort with the versatile technology of a refrigerated cooling system.

Things to consider with a refrigerated system

Costs more to run

A robust system like a refrigerated cooler needs sufficient electricity to function. This means it can cost more than some air conditioners. However, there are ways to help cut down costs while using a refrigerated system, like zoning and using solar power to decrease your energy bill.

Noisy operating system

While a refrigerated system works quietly indoors, the outdoor unit can produce loud noises. If placed in an inappropriate spot, the refrigerated cooling’s outdoor unit may annoy neighbours or people with open windows who are nearby. However, with proper placement, a refrigerated system’s external unit will be able to carry out its job without causing too many noise grievances.

Closed operations

To keep your home cool with a refrigerated system, you need to keep all windows and doors closed. If you were after a more refreshing method of keeping cool during summer, a refrigerated system’s closed-off process might feel off-putting.

Should you get an evaporative or refrigerated cooling system?

At the end of the day, choosing between evaporative cooling and refrigerated cooling is a personal preference. 

Those who are more eco and allergen-conscious should opt for an evaporative system. It’s a healthy way to keep cool as long as your area doesn’t have too many humid or rainy days.

If you are after a versatile system that can keep you comfortable in all climate conditions, get your home or office a refrigerated cooling unit. Despite the extra costs, a refrigerated system gives you complete temperature control.

Either way, an evaporative or refrigerated cooling system will be able to get you through Melbourne’s harsh summers.

For evaporative systems, we recommend brands like Bonaire and Brivis. For refrigerated or add-on air conditioning, we regularly turn to Daikin, LG, Brivis, ActronAir,  and Panasonic

Know which cooling system you’re going to get? Or still unsure of what will work best for your place?

Contact us at Australian Climate Systems. As experts in climate control, we will be able to get you the best system for your place so you stay cool this summer.

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