Swamp Cooler | Evaporator Cooler | Pros, Cons, Cost

Swamp Cooler / Evaporative Cooler Overview: Pros, Cons, Costs, Helpful Tips, and Free Estimates for Homeowners Considering or Shopping for Swamp Coolers

  • Do you like this article?

Quality Services

Where do you need services?

Where do you need services?

Featured in

For most homeowners, thoughts of staying cool in the summer heat have long turned toward air conditioners. In recent decades, however, numerous practical cooling alternatives have gained popularity as homeowners look to cut energy costs.

A swamp cooler, or evaporative cooler, is one of the most popular options and is an ideal low-cost cooling option in dry, arid climates due to the method in which it operates.

Likewise, a swamp cooler is not usually a practical option in humid climates because of its ineffectiveness in removing humidity.


Bottom Line:

An extremely efficient home cooling solution ideal for dry, arid climates that requires simple routine maintenance.

What it is:

A swamp cooler, which is slang for its more formal names, evaporative cooler, operates via a reaction caused by the collision of hot outdoor air that hits water-soaked pads housed inside an evaporative cooler. As the water evaporates, hot air is separated from cool air and directed outdoors.

Meanwhile, the system directs cool air into your home that’s anywhere from 15 to 40 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. A swamp cooler can distribute cool air to individual zones inside a home through a web of indoor ducts or to a ductless central location. Installation costs can rise significantly if you choose to install ducts. If your home does not have ductwork from a central air conditioning system or another HVAC system, choosing a ductless central location for your swamp cooler can mean thousands of dollars less in installation cost.


Generally, a swamp cooler costs half as much as a central air conditioning system that can cool the same amount of space and use a quarter as much energy to produce the same amount of cool air.


A swamp cooler is only recommended for areas with low humidity. In an odd choice of phrasing, these systems are called swamp coolers, but areas near swamps are among the worst places to own an evaporative cooler: they do an extremely poor job of removing humidity compared to air conditioners. So while your home may be cool, it will also be muggy.

A swamp cooler requires regular maintenance, which most homeowners can do themselves. The water-soaked pads should be replaced monthly during the warm season and at least twice during the cold season. Filters should be replaced regularly and a complete cleaning is necessary at the start of each warm season.


Swamp cooler prices are wide ranging: portable units for small areas are available from about $75 and up. Units that can cool large homes can run up to $2,500, including installation. For most homeowners, the price should fall somewhere in the middle. For prices specific to your needs and location, click the link below for up to four free estimates from insured, licensed, and reputable contractors in your area.


Swamp Cooler