Air coolers and ACs both have the same basic function of cooling down the surrounding area. However, the approach and effectiveness are vastly different from one another. Air coolers use simple and natural techniques to lower the temperature of the surrounding areas. Whereas AC uses complex laws of thermodynamics to change the composition of the air inside the room.
Both have their pros and cons, we will discuss these in detail. Let us first understand how each of them functions.
What is an Air Conditioner?
Air Conditioner changes the fundamental composition of the air to make the area less humid and maintain the optimum favourable temperature regardless of the weather conditions outside. Since it reduces humidity in the area, it creates a hypoallergenic environment that is clean, dry and free for allergic causing microorganisms.
Air conditioners usually use the method of Vapor Compression Refrigeration to cool down the room. This is done with the use of a chemical coolant called Refrigerant to reduce the temperature of the room. Here the refrigerant chemical changes from liquid to gas and then back to liquid in a continuous loop to facilitate the cooling procedure.
These refrigerants are often harmful to the environment and are heavily regulated by the authorities.
What is an Air Cooler?
Air Cooler uses a technique called Evaporative cooling that uses the process of evaporation of water to cool down the area. This is based on the principle that the water will absorb a large amount of heat to evaporate into the environment. By absorbing heat it will cool down the area.
The air cooler will pull in hot and dry air and pass it through a moistened pad. As the moisture in the pad evaporates due to the heat, the air becomes cooler and damper. This cool air is circulated back into the room. As this process is a natural process, the air feels like naturally cool and fresh air and not dry and cold air like air from an AC.
It not only cools down the surrounding area but also adds moisture back into the environment which makes it perfect for hot and dry climates. They require water in their operation so the cooler has to be refilled with water at regular intervals.
Air Conditioner vs Air Coolers
|Categories||Air Conditioner||Air Coolers|
|Ventilation||Re-circulates the same air, no ventilation||Allows ventilation. Circulates fresh air
|Climate Suitability||Suitable for all climate condition||Suitable for hot and dry climate|
|Cost||Is expensive||Relatively affordable|
|Installation||Requires heavy installation||No installation needed|
|Energy Efficiency||Consumes a lot of energy||Is energy efficient|
|Portability||Cannot be moved easily. Only portable |
AC can be moved
|Can be moved around easily|
|Air quality||Dry, hypoallergenic air||Moist, natural and fresh air|
Air Conditioner vs Air Cooler Which is Better?
1. Quality of Air:
Both AC and cooler have their benefits when it comes to air quality. AC generates dry and cool air, due to the lack of humidity, this air becomes hypoallergenic and prevents the growth of microorganisms. However, AC works in a closed space and re-circulates the same air repeatedly.
Cooler on the other hand generates cool but damp air. This dampness is only suitable for dry weather conditions where the growth of disease-spreading microorganism is minimal. However, an air cooler does not work in a closed system, it continuously collects fresh air from the surroundings and cools it down. This results in a fresh and ventilated airflow.
AC uses a chemical substance that is highly toxic and causes depletion of the Ozone layer. This chemical called refrigerant is a vital part of the cooling process in an AC.
The air cooler on the other hand uses a completely natural method of evaporation for cooling. This process does not have any harmful effect on the environment.
The upfront cost of an AC can range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs.45,000 which makes it costlier than an average air cooler. An average air cooler can range from Rs.5000 to Rs.20,000. When we compare the upfront cost, the difference isn’t very high. However, AC requires high installation cost and regular maintenance charges as well.
4. Space & Power Consumption:
ACs are notorious for consuming a lot of power and contributing significantly to the electricity bill. Air coolers consume much less power even after long hours of operation.
Both windows, as well as split AC, require minimum interior space as they are installed in a way that does not occupy any floor space. Coolers, on the other hand, require significant floor space.
Air Conditioners are complex devices that require regular care and maintenance. You need to clean the filters and the coils, condensation pipes require regular inspection and professionals to do a full cleanup and check for leakage and malfunctions.
A cooler does not require heavy maintenance but it does require some maintenance like cleaning the filter and the water tank at regular intervals.
However, the cost of maintenance is significantly higher for ACs than coolers.
Air Coolers use the simple method of evaporation to cool down the area. It contains a damp pad that absorbs heat and the dampness evaporates to leave behind cooler air. This method is simple but is not highly effective especially in very hot conditions.
ACs use a method called Vapour Compression Refrigeration that uses a chemical that converts from vapour to liquid and then back to vapour. This change in the state of the chemical absorbs heat and makes the room cooler. This method is complex and highly effective even in very hot weather conditions.
ACs are powerful devices and can effectively work in all climate conditions. They can maintain the desired temperature irrespective of the weather and climatic conditions outside. Coolers use water to cool down the environment and hence the air that is released in damp and full of humidity. This makes it suitable for hot and dry climates only. You cannot use an air cooler in humid weather conditions as this will make it even more humid and damp.
8. Effects on the Environment:
Not only are ACs responsible for the release of CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) that damage the earth’s Ozone layer but they also consume large amounts of electricity during operation. Too many ACs working together in the same area can increase the temperature of the area as they will release hot air into the environment. This results in global warming.
Air Coolers on the other hand use natural methods of cooling which do not adversely affect the environment. It also consumes less power than AC.
Whether you should buy an AC or an air cooler depends on your needs and requirements. An air cooler is cheap and energy-efficient but not as effective as AC in hotter weather. Whereas an AC might be highly power consuming and expensive in the long run. Also, considering other factors like who is going to use the device, people with health conditions like asthma or sinusitis are not allowed to use an AC. Similarly, older people might find an air cooler more comfortable than an AC. All these factors must be taken into consideration.