Does an Evaporative Cooler Really Work as an Air Conditioner?

The heat in Austin is intense in the summer, and hot weather can linger through many other times of the year. That means air conditioning systems take on immense workloads. You probably have a central air conditioner for your home, so you know how high electrical bills rise when the AC runs. When you hear about a possible energy-saving alternative like an evaporative cooler, you might start to consider making the change.

And then you’ll stop because … maybe this “evaporative cooler” thing won’t do the job?

You’re already thinking the right way. Healthy skepticism about any type of new comfort system (or new to you) is wise. You never want to impulsively purchase HVAC equipment because there is no such thing as a universal air conditioning or heating system. Certified professionals must not only find the right type of unit for a house but also accurately size it so it’s neither too weak nor too powerful.

Evaporative coolers can work as effective air conditioning systems for homes. But they are not right for all homes in all areas of the country. Let’s dig deeper into the particulars.


What differs between a standard central AC and an evaporative cooler is the cooling mechanism.

  • standard air conditioner circulates refrigerant to pump heat from inside the house to the outside. Electrical power goes to a compressor to super-heat the refrigerant and places it under extreme pressure so it circulates. Electricity also powers a set of exhaust and blower fans.
  • An evaporative cooler uses the water to cool off air brought in from outside the house. Water is pumped onto the pads the air passes over, and the air loses its heat to the water—this is evaporative cooling. Electrical power goes to the pumps wetting the pads and to the blower fan.

An evaporative cooler is simpler than a refrigerant-based air conditioner, and it consumes less electrical power to cool the air. It also has the benefit of bringing in fresh air and raising the humidity in dry conditions.


We can’t provide a definite answer in a blog post because we need to examine your home. However, we live in one of the best environments for evaporative coolers—a dry one. High humidity makes it harder for evaporative cooling to work. Under dry, hot conditions, an evaporative cooler can work just as well as a refrigerant-based air conditioner. For example, on the day we’re writing this, relative humidity is at 14% and the temperature is in the mid-80s. Under these conditions, an evaporative cooler can lower the temperature down to the low 60s! That’s far cooler than you’ll ever need your home. Even on 90°F days with average humidity, an evaporative cooler can lower a home’s temperature to a comfortable range.

The lowdown: an evaporative cooler is definitely worth considering.

If you would like to learn more about evaporative cooler installation, or you have other troubles like AC repair in Kyle, TX, you can trust our technicians for the service you need.

Choose iAir Services, where the intelligent choice today makes cents tomorrow! Contact us for more information about your cooling options.