Swamp coolers are relatively small single room units and their ability to cool depends on the outside conditions. They can be effective coolers and efficient relative to refrigeration air conditioners if the outside humidity is not too high. They work by cooling water through evaporation, up to 30 degrees, which makes the air around them a lot more humid but also cooler. If the air where you live is already humid they will not be that affective. Also, if you do not like it humid (air conditioners tend to dry the air) they may not be for you.
If you live in a hot dry climate, “swamp coolers” (or evaporative coolers) can save you money big time. Swamp coolers use as much as 75 percent less electricity as air conditioning does. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District estimates the electricity savings at approximately $150 a year. For hotter desert climates, the savings can be much more. An evaporative cooler costs about half as much as an air conditioner that will cool the same sized area. Some California utilities, such as PG&E, also offer rebates up to $300 to electricity customers who install them. Many people appreciate the fact that evaporative cooling adds moisture to the air, which helps to keep wood furniture and fabrics from drying out. With evaporative cooling, a complete air change in a home occurs every one-to-three minutes. This flow of fresh air means that evaporative coolers can be operated without using the water pump to replace warm stale air with cooler nighttime air, much like a whole house fan does.
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