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Evaporative Cooling vs Direct Expansion Air Conditioning

A guide for the South American market

Evaporative cooling and direct expansion (DX) air conditioning options

Evaporative cooling and direct expansion air conditioning, or in short DX cooling, have always been debated in terms of what is the best solution for cooling a home. Direct expansion (DX) is the most common type of air conditioning in the US where the indoor air is cooled with a refrigerant liquid.

We all know that depending on where you live and work, summer can be a scorcher and involve several heat waves, making it necessary to have an effective and economical air conditioning solution. There are many air conditioning options to choose from, and both evaporative cooling and direct expansion air conditioning are excellent solutions to choose from.

 

Cool your business with evaporative air conditioning

The main difference between evaporative air conditioning and direct expansion air conditioning technology is that evaporative cooling is based on a completely natural process that cools air using water without chemicals. Direct expansion air conditioning uses refrigerant gases in cooling the air. Compared to direct expansion air conditioning, the air released from evaporative cooling is never recirculated and is constantly replaced with fresh air.

Direct expansion air conditioning options to cool you home

Ducted Heat Pump Air Conditioning

This is a cooling solution for your home where air is circulated via ductwork. Ducted systems consist of two parts: an indoor unit which is placed within the roof space and an outdoor unit.

Packaged Units
This option contains all of the parts inside the cabinet; the coil, condenser and compressor.

Wall Mounted Split System Air Conditioning
The ductless solution is the most common type of direct expansion air conditioning. A wall-mounted split system air conditioner consists of two parts; a wall-mounted indoor unit and an outdoor unit.

Multi Split System Air Conditioning
Multi-split air conditioning connects multiple zoned indoor units to a single outdoor unit. The options include wall-mounted split systems.

Ceiling Mounted Cassettes
This compact solution is ideal for rooms that have hot and cold spots. It consists of two parts: an indoor unit and an outdoor unit.

Window Wall System
A window wall air conditioner is designed to be fitted within a window frame.

Central Air Conditioner vs. Evaporative cooling
A comparison of two technologies

How does central air conditioning work vs evaporative cooling? How well does each technology perform?

Central Air Conditioner

How it works

  • Air conditioner removes heat and moisture from air
  • The same air is continuously circulated in the room and through the air conditioner unit – no fresh air
  • Air is distributed around the house through ducts
  • Air is filtered as it is returned to the air conditioner
  • Air conditioner uses a compressor to pump refrigerant through the system and discharge heat outside of the house

Performance

  • Cools air – air temperature is controlled by cycling an electricity-intensive compressor
  • Removes moisture from air – will reduce humidity
  • Retains the same air in the house – no fresh air added

Evaporative Cooling

How it works

  • Cools air by evaporation – draws hot air through pads where water is evaporated, cooling the air
  • Cool, fresh air is continuously supplied to the house
  • Cool air is distributed throughout the house through ducts or there may be a central air supply vent
  • Normally higher airflow than central air conditioner
  • Exhaust air is continuously removed from the house, through windows or vents

Performance

  • High volume of cool air supplied to house – temperature can be controlled by varying airflow
  • 100% fresh air supplied to the house
  • Cooler increases moisture in air and house which is managed by effective exhausting of air from the house
  • Cooling ability impacted by external temperature and humidity conditions – works most effectively in dry climates
Couple deciding on buying a Breezair

How do I decide between evaporative cooling and DX cooling?

When comparing DX cooling and evaporative cooling technology for your home and lifestyle, the cost to operate a system should be closely evaluated.

If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining in the summer, evaporative cooling can also be used to keep outdoor entertaining areas cool, perfectly complementing American alfresco living. On the other hand, open plan outdoor areas can’t be economically cooled using a direct expansion air conditioner.
Let’s dive into the features and benefits between the two air conditioning technologies.

Top 10 benefits for evaporative cooling compared to refrigerated air conditioning

Here is a guide of the top 10 most important benefits to look for when choosing between an evaporative air conditioner or a refrigerated air conditioner.

1. Evaporative cooling has low running costs

The main reason that evaporative cooling is so energy efficient is that the only power-consuming components are the motor for the fan, the control module, and a small water pump.

That means some evaporative cooling products can use 80 % less (1) energy than direct expansion air conditioning. That’s a huge saving when you consider that heating and cooling in the US on average can account for more than 50% of the energy used in homes. While this varies by state and geography, some is driven by seasonal high intensity use (2).

2. Evaporative cooling provides fresh cool and clean air into your home

Fresh air is a major benefit of evaporative air conditioning, supplying 100% fresh, cool, outside air, all while delivering superior energy efficiency compared to a refrigerated equivalent. As the fan within an evaporative air conditioner draws outside air through the cooling pads, not only is the air cooled, it also filters impurities and pollens – a bonus for allergy sufferers.

3. Evaporative cooling has lower electricity usage

Evaporative air conditioners use far less electricity, and less fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Investing in a premium evaporative air conditioning product will not only deliver lower running costs but will also reduce energy demands and lower the carbon footprint of a household as a result.

4. How a carbon footprint can be reduced by evaporative air conditioning

A carbon footprint is the total amount of CO2 dispersed into the atmosphere and generated by our energy consumption (3). When measuring a carbon footprint, it’s the amount of carbon dioxide directly or indirectly produced. The carbon footprint is a method of determining someone’s environmental impact.

According to United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, in total 25 % of 2019 greenhouse gas emissions (4). If a household appliance uses a low level of electricity, it minimizes the environmental impact.

5. Evaporative air conditioning —better for the environment, better for you

Every time a customer chooses an evaporative vs a direct expansion cooler, the benefits for the environment are significant. Breezair’s evaporative cooling range has been shown to reduce the environmental impact by producing up to 80% less CO2 emissions (5), when compared to a refrigerated air conditioner.

 

6. Evaporative cooling reduces demand on the electrical grid

The comparison between evaporative and conventional direct expansion air conditioning is just as significant when it comes to the impact on the electrical grid. We already know that energy consumption and evaporative running costs are much lower for refrigerated air conditioning, which in turn means those with evaporative cooling aren’t stressing the power grid as much.

7. New technologies helping to manage power use

Many of Seeley International’s range of evaporative coolers have smart wall controllers to help reduce power consumption. Depending on the brand and model, an evaporative air conditioner can be installed and managed with a seven-day program. Breezair’s sophisticated and intuitive MagIQtouch® controller with touch screen technology offers seven-day programmable climate control. By reducing the amount of time the evaporative cooler operates, this minimizes power consumption and power bills.

The Breezair and Convair ranges are designed and manufactured with evaporative cooling pads specifically aimed at maximizing cooling during harsh summer conditions. Pads are available through a network of approved contractors.

To improve efficiency, some evaporative air conditioners also have automated pad rinse technology and seasonal maintenance alerts. It helps too that Seeley’s evaporative coolers are also made of a highly durable and non-corrosive plastic cabinet, are light weight, and easy to install and maintain. These non-corrosive cabinets will not rust or corrode contributing to their long life and savings.

8. Easy maintenance helps to keep costs down

Easy and regular service by a qualified technician after each cooling season will ensure that an evaporative air conditioner continues to run at its peak efficiency while maintaining low running costs.

The Breezair and Convair ranges are designed and manufactured with evaporative cooling pads specifically aimed at maximizing cooling during harsh summer conditions. Pads are available through a network of approved contractors

To improve efficiency, some evaporative air conditioners also have automated pad rinse technology and seasonal maintenance alerts. It helps too that Seeley’s evaporative coolers are also made of a highly durable and non-corrosive plastic cabinet, are light weight, and easy to install and maintain. These non-corrosive cabinets will not rust or corrode contributing to their long life and savings.

9. What is the average cost of purchasing an air conditioner installation?

The approximate cost for a full evaporative air conditioner installation including ducting will vary depending on the size of your home, number of ducts and unique features of the unit. It is important to keep in mind that while installation costs for an evaporative or direct expansion air conditioner may be similar; the running costs will be vastly different. The simple way to find out exactly how much an evaporative air conditioner will cost for your home is to request a quote from a qualified contractor who specializes in this type of air conditioning installation.
Please contact an expert for evaporative cooler in your state.

10. It’s time to experience evaporative cooling

Despite the low operating costs, continuous fresh air and beautiful comfort, modern evaporative air conditioning can be an unfamiliar technology for US homeowners to adopt. Many consumers know little about evaporative cooling simply because they have only experienced refrigerated cooling. The challenge to consumers who want a better cooling experience is to investigate the alternative of evaporative air conditioning firsthand.

This opportunity will provide a new level of comfort and efficiency and can change perceptions once experienced. There has never been a better time to invest in an evaporative air conditioner which is simple to maintain and operate and offers an amazing cooling experience.

 

References

  1. Seeley International’s calculation based on approximate running costs figures from publicly sourced data. All comparisons made are between Breezair Icon series with 2 star not zoned ducted reverse cycle system in a large size (220m2) 2-star pre 2005 house in a Melbourne, Australia climate, cooling all day on the weekend and in the morning and evenings when internal temperatures are high. For the purposes of this webpage, “central air conditioning“ refers to reverse cycle technology.
  2. US Energy Information https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/use-of-energy/homes.php
  3. https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/
  4. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions#:~:text=Electricity%20production%20(25%20percent%20of,mostly%20coal%20and%20natural%20gas.
  5. Seeley International’s calculation based on approximate greenhouse gas emissions figures from publicly sourced data. Comparison with 1.5 star not zoned ducted refrigerative system in a large size (220m2 ) 2-star pre 2005 house in a Melbourne climate, cooling all day on the weekend and in the mornings and evenings when internal temperatures are high. For the purposes of this webpage, “central air conditioning“ refers to reverse cycle technology.