What are the differences between an evaporative cooler and a traditional air conditioner?

Being able to provide employees with a cool, healthy, and comfortable working environment is one of the goals that every entrepreneur aims for, as they are aware of the importance of safeguarding the health of their collaborators.
It is well known that in a workspace where the temperature is consistently under control, the physical and mental well-being of the staff improves, leading to increased productivity for the company.

The solutions available in the market for summer cooling of industrial warehouses, storage facilities, hangars, and the like are diverse, but they can be grouped into two main categories: evaporative cooling and refrigeration-based air conditioning.

Before delving into the main differences between an air cooling system and a refrigeration-based air conditioning system, let’s better understand what adiabatic cooling means and what refrigeration-based conditioning entails.

Evaporative cooling: what is it?

Evaporative cooling, used to cool the air, harnesses the natural principle of water evaporation, with water acting as a natural coolant.
In this process, individual units draw in hot air from the outside, which, propelled by a fan, passes through water-soaked honeycomb panels. During this process, the air inevitably releases some of its heat to the water, lowering its temperature by as much as 5°C.
The air is then filtered, cooled, and released into the working environment at more comfortable temperatures.

Thanks to this principle, adiabatic cooling systems can be effectively used with doors and windows open, enhancing their performance and ensuring a continuous exchange of air that reduces the spread of viruses and bacteria within workspaces. Additionally, these systems help eliminate odors and dust particles resulting from various processes.

funzionamento raffrescatore evaporativo

If you’re interested in learning more about how evaporative cooling works and its benefits, you might find the following article useful:

Evaporative Cooling:
what it is, how it works, and why to choose it.

How does an air conditioning system work?

On the other hand, an air conditioner relies on the refrigeration effect of a refrigerant gas within a closed circuit, circulated through the use of a pump.
As a result, the air is cooled as it comes into contact with a coil containing the refrigerant gas.
In this process, the perceived air temperature is indeed cooler compared to the cooling achieved with water, but at the same time, the air loses a significant portion of its natural humidity, leading to dry air.

For proper functioning and optimal performance, as we know, this type of system needs to operate in an environment where doors and windows remain closed. However, this approach limits air circulation , leading to an increased diffusion of pathogens or substances that can affect employees’ health.

The main differences between an adiabatic cooling system and a refrigeration cycle conditioning system.

Now that we have understood what distinguishes an evaporative cooler from an air conditioning system in terms of operation, let’s delve deeper into the key differences in terms of comfort and energy savings.

  • CO2 emissions and environmental sustainability

The evaporative cooling system produces minimal CO2 emissions: thanks to the use of the water evaporation principle, carbon dioxide emissions are almost negligible compared to those produced by an air conditioning system.
The latter expels a significant amount of CO2 emissions into the external environment due to the constant use of refrigerant gas for its operation.

In this sense, adiabatic cooling represents the most sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for summer climate control in medium to large work environments.

  • External climate influence

Adiabatic cooling is influenced by the external climate: the amount of cooling produced varies depending on the weather conditions; nevertheless, the essential aspect to consider is that the energy consumption for effective operation remains unchanged.

Based on what was mentioned in the previous lines, we can state that a cooling system is ideal in primarily warm and dry climates.

The advantage of a traditional air conditioner is that it is not influenced by the external climate, which is why it is effective in any climate.
In fact, as weather conditions change, its performance remains consistent throughout the day. However, as the outside temperature increases, the electrical energy consumption used for its operation also increases.

  • Air exchange

As mentioned earlier, with a cooling system, the air is cooler and, above all, cleaner, as a continuous exchange of air can be maintained by keeping doors and windows open during working hours. This allows employees to experience less fatigue and tiredness, consequently improving their concentration and productivity.

On the other hand, with an air conditioning system, air exchanges are minimal, as doors and windows need to remain closed to avoid affecting its proper functioning.
As a result, the air inside the workspace tends to become heavier and stale, promoting the spread of viruses, bacteria, dust, and odors.

Employees might more easily experience fatigue and tiredness and be more susceptible to illness due to the significant temperature difference between the interior of industrial buildings and the outside during the summer.

  • Humidity

Adiabatic cooling allows air to pass through water-rich panels, adding a percentage of humidity to the air, making the environment cooler and healthier, ensuring the mental and physical well-being of employees and eliminating heat stress within factories, industrial buildings, and warehouses.

With an air conditioning system, however, humidity tends to be removed from the air, making it drier, often causing a sensation of dryness in the throat.

  • Maintenance

Another advantage of adiabatic cooling is maintenance.
This type of system does not require constant maintenance; two interventions per year are sufficient, preferably one at the start of the summer season and the first operation and one at the end of the season, before winter shutdown.

An air conditioner, on the other hand, requires regular maintenance to check the status of the refrigerant gas and clean the filters to prevent dirt and bacteria from accumulating within them.

Choose an efficient and sustainable system that allows you to create a healthy and comfortable working environment for your employees while helping you save on electrical energy.

Do you want to know if an adiabatic cooling system
is suitable for your needs?

Contact us, and one of our technicians will be at your disposal to provide you with all the information you need.