How Ducted Evaporative Air Conditioning Works

The ins and Outs of Ducted Evaporative Air Conditioning

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, you’ll know that there are a wide range of options available. From window air conditioners to reverse cycle systems, there are almost too many choices.

One of the more luxurious air conditioning options we’ll discuss in this article is ducted evaporative air conditioning.

If you’ve ever been to the beach or a river on a hot day you’ll have noticed you feel cooler by the water, but why is that? You feel cooler because as hot air blows across the water, it causes some of the water to evaporate and absorb the heat.

But how does the process work in air conditioners?

Are there any drawbacks?

In this article we’ll provide you with a top-to-bottom guide to help you make the best choice for your home.

How does evaporative air conditioning work?

Evaporative air conditioning works on the same principle of why you feel cooler by the water when there’s a breeze.

Ducted evaporative cooling begins in the cooling unit outside the house. This unit has cooling pads which are fed water from an internal water tank. A fan inside the unit draws air in through the wet cooling pads and, the same way the air cools as it blows across water, the cooling pads cool the air drawn in. The cool air is then pumped through your home.

How much doe evaporative cooling cost to run?

One of the reasons ducted evaporative cooling is so much cheaper to run than other systems is because of this design. The only moving part in the unit is the fan drawing air in. Depending on use it can reduce costs by a whopping 80 to 90 per cent and still provide your home with a comfortable temperature. Some estimates state ducted evaporative systems to cost $37 to $54 a year compared to $349 to $383 for other conventional systems.

The reduced costs are a surprising benefit for many people that choose ducted evaporative cooling as it’s often regarded as the ultimate in comfort. This is because evaporative systems cycle 100% fresh air through your home every two minutes which can help asthma and hay fever sufferers. Evaporative air conditioning is also great for the environment. A 20kW air conditioning unit produces between 1100 to 1600 units of CO2. Compare that to the meagre 155 to 226 units of CO2 evaporative coolers produce.

Also, ducted evaporative air conditioning units are flexible and versatile. You may choose to only have ducting in larger rooms like the kitchen and loving room or in bedrooms as well. Also, you can leave windows and doors open – handy for when you’re hosting gatherings in the backyard as people can come in and out as they please. 

Drawbacks of evaporative cooling

In some climates, ducted evaporative systems can have some limitations that may affect their performance. Because they cycle moist air through the home, they work best in dry climates. If you live in a more humid area like the Gold Coast or Queensland, you may need to leave more doors or windows open to allow the moist air to escape.

In open areas such as factories, the climate doesn’t have as much of an effect as they’re very open areas so the moisture doesn’t get a chance to build up too much. When moisture from evaporative cooling units is allowed to build, mould can form and doors may swell. However, this will only happen if the humidity reaches 80 per cent, which can be prevented by having doors and windows open.

Also, if you live in a fire-prone area evaporative air conditioning can be a potential hazard. During large bushfires homes can burn down from evaporative units catching fire.

Additionally, the servicing costs of ducted evaporative air conditioners can be high. But, they only require servicing every two to five years. The money you save on running costs during that time will often more than make up for the occasional service cost.

Is Evaporative cooling right for you and your family?

When deciding if ducted evaporative cooling is right for you, consider the benefits and drawbacks we’ve discussed.

Do you live in a humid area?

Is the area fire-prone?

Are you able to leave windows or doors open while the air conditioner is running?

If you live in a dry area that isn’t fire-prone, ducted evaporative air conditioners are easily one of the best choices for cooling. However, if your area isn’t well suited to ducted evaporative cooling, consider buying a 6 or 7-star energy efficiency rating air conditioning unit. They won’t be quite as cheap to run as an evaporative system but will be far cheaper than 2 or 3-star units. The initial cost may be higher but you’ll save in running costs over the years.

Evaporative cooling won’t work for every home as we’ve discussed, but it could be perfect for your home. If you’re interested in learning more about ducted evaporative air conditioning or wondering if your area is suited, contact the friendly staff at Mannix Heat & Solar today. With over 50 years’ experience servicing the Adelaide region we can help find the perfect cooling or heating solution for your home.

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