Pros and Cons of Evaporative Cooling in Melbourne

October 07th, 2022

Evaporative cooling is one of Melbourne’s favourite ways to keep cool during summer. It’s energy-efficient, affordable, cost-effective, and natural. However, evaporative cooling certainly isn’t for everyone, and it has a few drawbacks that might make it a deal breaker for you.

So, what are the pros and cons of evaporative cooling, and is it the right form of cooling for your needs? As experts in evaporative cooling in Melbourne, the team at Australian Climate Systems is here to tell you all about the advantages and disadvantages of evaporative coolers.

Read on to find out more.

What Is Evaporative Cooling and How Does It Work Compared to Other Air Conditioners?

Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s explore the difference between evaporative cooling and other air conditioners.

Evaporative coolers are sometimes called evaporative air conditioners, but they’re not really air conditioners at all. 

Most types of air conditioning use refrigerant gas, pumps, and fans to absorb the air in your home, cool it down, and redistribute it. The windows and doors remain closed because you don’t want the warm outdoor air mixing with the cool indoor air.

Evaporative cooling systems use fans, water pumps and cooling pads to cool outdoor air and distribute it throughout your home. Outdoor air is passed over water-soaked pads, which cools the air naturally through the process of evaporation. That refreshing breeze is then sent through the evaporative cooling ducts. The windows and doors remain open because evaporative coolers constantly cycle new air throughout your home, rather than reusing the same air.

Evaporative coolers are sometimes shortened to Evap coolers, and in other parts of the world, they are called swamp coolers.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Evaporative Coolers

In the next section, we’re going to present some of the pros of evaporative coolers next to a related con. Whether you’re interested in evaporative cooling in Lilydale or Templestowe, this list will give you a fair and balanced look at what evaporative systems have to offer.

PRO: Evaporative Coolers Offer Excellent Energy Efficient Cooling

If you’re concerned about the effect of air conditioning on your energy bills, an evaporative cooler could be perfect for you. These systems require up to 75% less electricity to run compared to most air conditioners. Even when compared to reverse cycle air conditioning systems, Evap coolers come out on top when it comes to energy efficiency.

This is because an evaporative cooler only requires electricity for a few functions, like the fan and the water pump. Comparatively, your average air conditioner uses energy to power the compressor, convert liquid refrigerant into a gas (and back again), and much more.

CON: Evaporative Coolers Can Use a Lot of Water

Evaporative coolers might save you energy on electricity, but that’s partly because they mainly rely on water. In high humidity conditions and at full fan speeds, your evaporative cooler could consume 25 litres of water every hour. 

Most of the time, the electricity you save will outweigh the water you consume, but don’t be surprised if your cooler sends up your water bill during summer.

PRO: Evaporative Systems Are Perfect for Hot and Dry Melbourne Summers

On a hot, dry summer day, an evaporative cooler will provide sweet relief for everyone at home. That’s because evaporative coolers work by running warm air over cool water so the air can absorb the water vapour.

On dry Melbourne days, there’s naturally not much moisture in the air, meaning evaporative coolers can work at their best. As well as cooling you down, your cooler will add some much-needed moisture to the air, which can really help if your nose and throat are irritated by all that dry air.

Melbourne isn’t typically a tropical environment, meaning hot, dry climates are common while hot, humid climates are not. That’s why so many people choose evaporative cooling in Doncaster, Vermont, and all throughout Melbourne!

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CON: Coolers Will Struggle on Those Humid Melbourne Days

High humidity isn’t common in Melbourne like it is in Singapore or even parts of Queensland. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t get some humid summer days.

On those days, you might find your evaporative cooler starts to struggle. In wet climates, there is already so much moisture in the air, meaning your evaporative cooler won’t be able to cool the outside air as much. As well as this, your cooler will be adding extra moisture to the air, so even if it does make you cool, it might not make you comfortable as it will be increasing humidity levels.

Humid days are few and far between in Melbourne, but if this drawback is a deal breaker for you, it might be time to consider another system.

PRO: Eco-Friendly and Healthy Thanks to Natural Fresh Air!

Evaporative coolers are undeniably the number one choice when it comes to the environment. As stated above, these systems use less electricity, which means there are fewer greenhouse gases generated when you use these systems. As well as this, evaporative coolers do not use refrigerants, which are considered harmful to the environment. Instead, they use water, and it doesn’t get any more natural or environmentally friendly than that!

When it comes to your own health, evaporative coolers have a range of benefits that you may enjoy. For example:

1. With doors and windows open, evaporative coolers constantly bring new cycles of fresh air into your home. This is in contrast to air conditioners, which constantly recycle the same air inside your home.

2. Traditional air conditioners often leave your nose and throat feeling dry and scratchy. Evaporative coolers don’t tend to have this problem as they add moisture to the air that enters your home.

3. When evaporative coolers draw in outdoor air, they pass it through pads. This basic filtration system allows your cooler to trap dust particles, pollen, and other airborne contaminants, providing you with cleaner air.

CON: Not Necessarily the Best for People with Respiratory Issues

It’s true that evaporative coolers are natural, healthy, and eco-friendly, but their features might not be for everyone.

For example, open doors and windows can wreak havoc on people with asthma, hay fever, and other respiratory issues. If there are outdoor contaminants that aggravate you, they can come in through the doors and windows without being filtered.

As well as this, the filtration systems in evaporative coolers are very basic compared to modern air conditioners. Many air conditioning units have advanced air filters as well as technology that can neutralise odours, bacteria, viruses, and more.

If you want the utmost air filtration where doors and windows remain closed, evaporative coolers aren’t for you at all!

PRO: Evaporative Coolers Offer Affordability from Start to Finish

Just about every aspect of your evaporative cooler will be affordable.

Installation costs for evaporative coolers are generally lower than they will be for comparable air conditioning systems. However, you can lower the cost of standard air conditioners by opting for split systems instead of ducted systems.

When it comes to running costs, the low energy consumption of an evaporative cooler will keep your costs down. You can be sure that the 75% reduction in electricity use will result in lower electricity costs.

Finally, evaporative coolers also have fewer complicated moving parts to take care of. You should still invest in evaporative cooling services for regular maintenance as well as evaporative cooling repairs on a needs-basis. However, your evaporative cooler services are likely to be more affordable, and a well-maintained cooler won’t cause as many problems as the average air conditioner.

Of course, proper system care and a bit of luck will also come into play, but if you’re looking for affordable maintenance costs, Evap coolers are definitely the way to go!

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CON: Affordability Comes with Its Drawbacks

The old saying is that you “get what you pay for”, and this applies to evaporative coolers to a certain degree.

While they may be cheaper to install and run compared to other air conditioners, the way they are designed comes with its limitations.

Temperature control is limited when using evaporative coolers. These systems don’t tend to have a thermostat where you can set the temperature of the cool air. Instead, they simply produce a cool breeze and you can adjust the fan speed to produce more or less airflow. The temperature is also highly dependent on the outside temperature, as mentioned above.

On the other hand, an air conditioner is not affected by outdoor conditions and you can generally set the precise air temperature using an in-built thermostat.

While evaporative coolers are easier and more affordable to maintain, it’s worth mentioning that poor maintenance comes with its own set of problems. Failure to take care of your cooler or system malfunction could lead to water leaks, a build-up of minerals and salts, becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests, and much more.

Evaporative Vs Refrigerated Cooling Systems

Now that you’ve heard all these pros and cons, you might be wondering if you should choose evaporative units or refrigerated air conditioning.

Generally speaking, we recommend evaporative coolers for anyone who is looking for an environmentally friendly and affordable option where you can throw open the doors and windows to enjoy summer while keeping cool.

Refrigerated systems are better for those who don’t mind having the doors and windows closed on a nice summer day. In return, these systems provide benefits such as colder airflow, precise temperature control, and advanced filtration.

To compare these options further, check out our article on Evaporative vs Refrigerated Cooling Systems.

Ready to Get Started with Evaporative Cooling?

At Australian Climate Systems, we proudly supply, install, service, and repair evaporative cooling in Ringwood and a wide range of surrounding Melbourne areas. Our team also specialises in refrigerated cooling systems and reverse cycle air conditioners, and we can recommend the best system for your needs.

To install or take care of an evaporative cooler or to get advice on the best cooling system for Melbourne’s hot summers, talk to our experts today. Call Australian Climate Systems on 03 9726 4444.

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