Evaporative Cooling Vs Air Conditioning

Are you still indecisive about which Climate System to choose for your home? This guide will point you in the right direction!

As experts in climate solutions Melbourne’s Plum Heating and Cooling are here to give you the lowdown on evaporative cooling and Split System Air Conditioning. With both systems providing efficient solutions to cool your home, it all boils down to understanding which advantages work for you and which disadvantages impact you the least. We’ll keep track of the winner by marking the Evaporative cooling system as “E” and the Refrigerated Air Conditioning system as “A”.

Evaporative Cooling vs Air Conditioning

Fresh Clean Air

When it comes to clean, fresh air, the evaporative cooling system (also known as a Swamp Cooler) is the winner. Since this unit brings in outside air through a filter that helps remove dust and potential allergens, your home benefits from a hygienic boost that is particularly beneficial for anyone suffering from airborne allergens. That’s one point for E.

Energy Efficiency

Since evaporative coolers works through a fan and water pump, it uses much less power than most cooling systems. The refrigerated air conditioning system, on the other hand, requires a lot of power to maintain the refrigerated cooler. While there are ways to minimise this cost, such as solar power, we have to give point 2 to E.

Eco Friendly

If minimising your carbon footprint is on your radar, then the evaporative unit is the one that will cool your heels. It keeps its carbon dioxide emission down through the use of a fan and water. That’s 3 points for E.

Functionality in different weather conditions

Here we start to see the benefits of the split systems air conditioners. The ducted evaporative cooler relies on outside air, which means that it can readily be impacted by the weather. It does not work in humid climates, which is why it’s only really suitable for dry conditions such as Melbourne. Rainy periods and even extreme heat can reduce its functionality. The refrigerated unit works independently of the weather. Regardless of the fluctuating conditions it retains the same level of comfort indoors. While this doesn’t write off the evaporative cooler for Melbourne homes, we have to give this point to A.

Temperature Control

Although the evaporative cooler can be adjusted with different fan speeds, the refrigerated cooling system ensures that you can selectively control the temperature. A is moving up with their second point to E’s 3.


All air conditioners need regular maintenance. Given the mechanisms through which an evaporative system operates, routine cleaning is imperative. The wet pads and fan parts could otherwise become a breeding ground for mould and bacteria. This requirement for a little more care means A and E are now on equal footing at 3 points each.


Both systems are reasonably quiet inside, with the systems doing the bulk of their performance outside. The drawback of a refrigerated system is that the outdoor unit can be quite noisy, which can be a nuisance for neighbours of nearby rooms. Although careful placement can remedy this deficit, this is point 4 for E. Evaporative cooling systems are back in the lead.

Reliance on water

While the refrigerated air conditioner doesn’t need a steady water supply, the evaporative unit relies on it to function. Although reliable water isn’t particularly hard to come by in Australia, this may prove more difficult for some, and it does increase the potential issues that can arise from the system. Guess that’s point 4 for A.

Windows and doors

With each cooling unit on 4 points we arrive at this tie breaker. For the most efficient experience a refrigerated cooling system means you are required to leave your doors and windows closed. This can make it hard to find the fresh feeling. On the other hand the circulation requirements of an evaporative cooling system means that you need to crack those windows open. While you get to experience that fresh blast of cool air, you can’t shut out the sounds, warmth, and maybe the bugs, that moves in from the fresh wilds of your surrounds. Both requirements have their potential drawbacks so we’ll split the difference on this one and leave it as a personal preference.


There is no clear objective winner in this race. Both systems will give you the cooling you need to survive the dry Melbourne summer… The Split System Air Conditioner however will also heat your home while the Evaporative Cooler will give more coverage. At the end of the day, the choice is really up to you and which features are more important. Are you more drawn to the versatility, lower maintenance and effectiveness of the refrigerated unit with the higher energy bill, or the cost efficiency and eco or allergy benefits of the evaporative cooler which also has lower running costs?

Evap Vs Air Conditioning

Whether you’ve made up your mind or need to have a more personalised chat with an expert, you can get in touch with us at Plum Heating and Cooling. As experts in climate control we can help work out and implement the best cooling option for your situation.

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