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Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Evaporative Cooler Efficiency in New Mexico Climate

swamp cooler san juan county nm new mexico
Swamp Cooler

There are many options to consider when deciding what kind of AC unit is most efficient for the climate you’re living in. What your sister is using at her home in Buffalo, NY may not be what’s right for you in the high desert, like San Juan County, NM, even if she raves about how well it works for her home. If you’ve kicked around the idea of purchasing an evaporative cooler, read on to find out more about this option.

How do “swamp coolers” work?

Evaporative coolers aka “swamp coolers” use water to wet a cooling pad inside the unit, when outdoor air passes over the pads the cooled air is blown into the space. This is similar to taking a cold shower on a hot day or putting a cold cloth against your skin. They add humidity to the air which can be a great benefit in our dry desert climate. Evaporative coolers can also add fresh air into the space, which is great in environments where lots of people may be present. Evaporative coolers also don’t use any refrigerant. Replacement parts have a lower cost and can be found at a local hardware store. Many owners find the know-how to perform repairs with DIY training or YouTube University.

What are the cons to using a swamp cooler?

Cooling with outside air does have its drawbacks. Because outside air is the source, the temperature will only be 20-25° cooler than the outdoor temperature at best. Likewise, any outdoor smell can travel into the cooled space, i.e.; the neighbors’ barbeque grill, skunks, etc. Evaporative coolers also continually use water which may be an extra consideration to make in drought conditions.


Although the initial cost is lower, the frequency of repairs is high and most manufacturer warranties are typically only 12 months or less. Additionally, IAQ solutions are not compatible. Electricity costs are also another detail to factor in when budgeting for this type of cooling unit. A common belief is evaporative coolers are less expensive to operate than AC. This may be true when compared to older AC systems but is not the case when considering newer, high efficient systems.

How do I know which option is right for me?

Depending on what your needs are, you may have a strong preference for a certain system to use. When in doubt, call a professional like Robbins Heating and & Air Conditioning, and we can help guide you through questions or which option would be better for your home or business. As always, our in-home evaluations are free of charge.

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