What’s the difference between an evaporative cooler and a split system air-conditioner?

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There are so many options, brands and sizes when considering cooling your home over summer. Knowing what’s right for you and your family can be a challenge and one of the main things home owners struggle to understand is the difference between evaporative coolers and reverse cycle split system air-conditioning. So we’ve put together the key differences and considerations for the installation of both to help you choose the right option.

Don’t worry, we won’t leave you on your own to try and work it all out – we also offer free on-site consultations and quotes for all your air-conditioning needs. Simply call 1300 306 342 to ensure you get the right solutions for your home.

How does a reverse cycle split system work?

A reverse cycle split system uses refrigerant gas in order to heat or cool an area. They consist of a wall mounted indoor unit with a remote control and an external system located outside called the condensing unit. Within the condensing unit is a compressor which produces cold or hot gas that is feed through piping to the indoor unit.

Split systems do not actually add cool air to the area but instead remove the heat from the air and dissipate it outside, leaving the remaining air cooler. This makes split systems a great choice to manage humidity levels.

Although these units use refrigerant gas, they run on electricity and the gas is contained within the unit for it’s lifetime.  With today’s technology, most units consist of inverter technology which is used to control the speed of the compressor to efficiently regulate the temperature without fluctuations for ultimate comfort.

One of the best things about split system is they can both heat and cool, making them a versatile option for the erratic Melbourne weather.

Bluegum-Electrical-Tatjana-Plitt-1881-web-400x300

Split System Air-conditioner outdoor unit

Air-conditioning and Split System Installation

Split System Air-conditioner indoor unit

How does an evaporative cooler work?

Have you ever noticed you feel cooler by a river or the ocean? This is because hot air blows across the water causing some of the water to evaporate and absorb the heat. That’s what an evaporative cooler does!

An evaporative cooler works by using water to cool air from outside and distribute it via ducts throughout the house. A pump circulates water on to a cooling pad and air is cooled by evaporation.

An evaporative cooler consists of a main unit mounted to your roof and an internal duct system. Hot air enters the unit on the roof and is cooled as it passes through the cooling pad which water is pumped through, then a fan blows this cooled air throughout your home via the ducts.

An evaporative cooler needs to be plumbed in and only uses electricity to run the pump, fan, and controller. Evaporative coolers are more energy efficient than split systems, however they do have other limitations as outlined below.

Evaporative Cooler

Evaporative Cooler

As far as usability goes, both systems provide very different experiences.

The split system offers significantly more control of the environment. You can set the temperature, direction, strength, set timers and much more.

On the other hand, the evaporative cooler mainly offers you the ability to control the fan strength, that is, there is no control of the desired temperature. In order for an evaporative cooler to work there must be open windows and doors for the hot air to be forced out and replaced with cool air that comes in through the ducts. This means the air within the house is constantly changing like a cool breeze passing through.

In order for a split system to be effective, it requires a closed environment to keep cool air in and hot air out. Open windows and doors would significantly reduce the effectiveness of a split system.

Below is a table that sets out the pro’s and cons to help you compare the two systems:

Split System Pro'sSplit System Con's
Filters air to remove bacteria Uses more power
Ability to secure home (no open windows)One unit can only cool one area
Temperature controlTwo or more units may be required to provide a complete home solution
Programmable timer
More effective cooling
Heats and cools
Easier to maintain & access
Suitable for most homes
Pro's of Evaporative CoolerCon's of Evaporative Cooler
Energy Efficient Limited effectiveness
No dedicated electrical circuitIneffective against humidity
Cools a large areaRequires air flow throughout house (windows and doors open)
Unsecured property
Minimal filtration of bacteria in air
Adds moisture to the air. Can cause doors and timber furniture to swell
Issues with curtains & blinds

A complete solution – It doesn’t have to be one or the other!

In order to provide a complete solution of ultimate comfort in your home (without breaking the bank) you may wish to consider multiple split systems throughout, for example a larger unit in the main living area and a smaller unit in the bedroom. Many clients who have a home with evaporative cooling also opt for the installation of split system for the master bedroom, as overnight is when you really want control of the temperature and the timing settings really come in handy.

Want to get more control over the temperature in your home

Simply call us on 1300 306 342 to get your free quote today.

Here’s what’s included in your FREE site visit (Valued at $225):

  • Electrical safety inspection
  • Power assessment
  • Room assessment
  • Needs analysis
  • Recommendations
  • Printed quote

Get your free quote today!

Chantel Gilbert

Author: Chantel Gilbert

Chantel brings her professional qualifications, entrepreneurial edge and passion for customer service together in her role as General Manger of Bluegum Electrical Solutions. She is challenging the stereotypes in the tradie industry and surprising their customers with quality and kindness.

Along the way, Chantel has bagged multiple Excellence in Customer Service Awards on behalf of Bluegum and is the proud recipient of the 2016 Young Business Person of the Year.

Whether she is on the netball court, at the gym or out bushwalking, Chantel is always thinking about the next innovative step for Bluegum and how they can continue to raise the bar and exceed their customers expectations.