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Evaporative Coolers vs Whole House Fans: The Best Cooling Solution for Your Colorado Home

Evaporative Swamp Cooler vs a QuietCool Whole House Fan for a blog comparison article from Colorado Home Cooling
Evaporative, or swamp coolers and whole house fans both provide energy efficient home cooling solutions.

When it comes to cooling your home in Colorado, choosing the right home cooling system can make a significant difference in comfort, energy efficiency, and cost savings. Aside from traditional, energy guzzling air conditioning, two popular options are evaporative coolers (often referred to as swamp coolers) and whole house fans. Both swamp coolers and whole house fans are a more energy efficient choice than air conditioning systems, but what is the difference?

In this write-up article we will explore both systems in detail, comparing their pros and cons, and ultimately help you make the right choice for your Colorado home in our showdown of evaporative coolers vs whole house fans.

What is an Evaporative or Swamp Cooler?

Old, broken swamp evaporative cooler installed on a metal roof and showing signs of rust and wear.
Evaporative coolers are usually installed on the roof of a home leaving them exposed to the elements.

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, uses the process of evaporation to cool the air in your home. It works by drawing warm air through water-soaked pads, and is usually mounted on the roof of your home. As the warm air passes through these pads, it gets cooled by the evaporation of water before being circulated throughout the home.

Pros of Evaporative Coolers

Energy Efficiency

Evaporative coolers consume significantly less electricity compared to traditional air conditioning units. They are ideal for those looking to reduce their energy bills and use less energy that central air.

Environmental Impact 

They use no chemical refrigerants, making them an eco-friendly option when compared to traditional air conditioning systems.

Added Humidity

In dry climates like Colorado, evaporative coolers add humidity to the air, which can be beneficial for comfort and health for most individuals

Cons of Evaporative Coolers

Limited Effectiveness in Humidity 

Evaporative coolers lose their efficiency in humid conditions. They work best in dry climates, but even in Colorado, the efficiency can be inconsistent. If it is raining or has just rained, the swamp cooler may not work as well to cool your home.

Maintenance & Installation Requirements 

These evaporative coolers require regular maintenance and upkeep, including changing water pads and ensuring the system is free from mold and bacteria. Swamp coolers are also known to be large, heavy, and awkward to hoist onto the roof of your home.

Home Cooling Capability 

They may not cool the air as effectively as other systems during peak summer temperatures and periods of long heatwaves, especially when compared to traditional air conditioning or a whole house fan system.

Lack of Curb Appeal

Swamp coolers can be unsightly and are prone to rust and corrosion. The large, cube-like shape of many evaporative cooling systems can change the appearance and view lines of a home’s exterior.

What is a Whole House Fan?

A photos of a quietcool whole house fan installed in the attic of a home, shown as a cross section from Colorado Home Cooling
Whole house fans are installed in the attic of a home, protecting it from the outside weather.

As an alternative to evaporative coolers, a whole house fan is a type of fan installed in the attic of a home. It pulls cool, outdoor air through open windows and expels hot air through attic vents. This process can quickly cool down the entire house, especially during the cooler parts of the day such as early morning and evening. Additionally, the fresh air that is pulled in can replace stale, indoor air very quickly.

Pros of Whole House Fans

Energy Efficiency 

Whole house fans use much less energy compared to air conditioners and can significantly lower electricity bills. They use the natural temperature variations of the day to help cool your home.

Rapid Home Cooling 

Whole house fans can cool down a house quickly by ventilating hot air out and bringing in cooler outdoor air. This is especially noticeable in the evening or mornings when the air is cooler outside.

Improved Air Quality 

Whole house fans improve indoor air quality by increasing ventilation and reducing indoor pollutants. By fully swapping the air in your home with fresh air from the outside, there is a noticeable improvement in the quality of your home’s indoor air.

Quiet Operation 

Modern whole house fans, like QuietCool models, operate quietly, providing a comfortable environment without noise disturbance to the occupants of the home. They are known as quiet, cool fans for a reason!

Cons of Whole House Fans

Dependence on Outdoor Temperature 

Their effectiveness depends on the outdoor temperature around the home. They work best when the outside air is cooler than the indoor air, usually after sunset and in the early morning hours.

Proper Installation Required 

For optimal performance, whole house fans require proper installation, including sufficient attic ventilation. They also may work best when combined with attic fans, garage fans, and more venting options (but not always necessary).

Evaporative Coolers vs. Whole House Fans

Efficiency and Performance

Both systems are more energy-efficient than traditional air conditioners. However, whole house fans have the edge due to their ability to rapidly cool the entire home and improve air circulation without adding humidity to the home. This is particularly beneficial in Colorado, where dry conditions are common but can fluctuate depending on the season. Whole House fans also work during any season to help circulate the air throughout your entire home, whereas evaporative coolers rely on warm temps to cool the home.

Homeowner Cost Analysis

The initial installation costs of both evaporative cooling and whole house fan systems are relatively low compared to central air conditioning. Long-term operational costs for whole house fans are generally lower due to their minimal electricity usage and reduced maintenance needs. Evaporative coolers, while also energy-efficient, require regular maintenance and water usage as well as pad changes which can add to the overall cost of ownership.

Maintenance and Longevity

Evaporative coolers demand regular attention to prevent mold and bacteria build-up, requiring periodic pad replacements and water management plans. In contrast, whole house fans require minimal maintenance, primarily focusing on ensuring the attic vents remain unobstructed and the fan motor is functioning properly to circulate air and provide an efficient means of cooling.

Climate Suitability

Whole house fans are highly effective in Colorado’s climate, particularly because of the significant temperature drops in the evening and early morning. Evaporative coolers are also suitable for dry climates but are less reliable when humidity levels rise, even slightly during monsoon season or during our well-known, Colorado storm patterns.

Environmental Impact

Both systems are environmentally friendly compared to traditional air conditioners. Whole house fans, however, have a slight advantage as they do not add moisture to the air and typically have a longer lifespan with fewer resource inputs over time. They also can help with condensation and moisture issues.

Why Choose Whole House Fans?

Given the above comparisons and pros and cons, whole house fans stand out to many homeowners as the optimal cooling solution for homes in Colorado. Here’s a few reasons why:

Home Energy Savings 

Whole house fans are incredibly energy-efficient, significantly lowering utility bills compared to both evaporative coolers and traditional AC units. This is especially true when considering their ability to cool large spaces rapidly with minimal energy use.

Health Benefits 

Whole house fans improve indoor air quality by continually exchanging indoor and outdoor air, reducing allergens, pollutants, and stale air. This creates a healthier living environment for you and your family. Evaporative coolers are sometimes prone to mold and bacteria filled air if the pads are not changed on a regular basis or as needed.

Quiet Operation 

Modern whole house fans, like those from QuietCool, operate quietly, ensuring that your home remains a peaceful, low-noise haven. This is a significant advantage over some cooling systems that can be quite noisy, especially on the outside and on the top levels of your home.


Whole house fans are versatile in various weather conditions. They are particularly effective in the cooler evenings and early mornings typical of Colorado, making them a reliable choice for consistent cooling. Swamp coolers do not operate as effectively when there is humidity or cooler temperatures outside.

Minimal Maintenance

With fewer components that require regular attention, whole house fans offer hassle-free operation. Once installed, they need very little upkeep, providing long-term reliability and convenience. Say goodbye to evaporative cooler water routing and pad upkeep!

Colorado Home Cooling for Your Whole House Fan Installation

At Colorado Home Cooling, we specialize in providing top-quality whole house fan installation services tailored to the unique needs of Colorado homes. Here’s why you should choose us:

Expertise and Experience Since 2003 

Our team has extensive experience installing whole house fans, attic fans, attic vents, and more ensuring that your system is set up for optimal performance buy a company that understands home cooling.

High-Quality Products 

We use only the best products, including QuietCool and Triangle whole house fans, known for their efficiency and quiet operation. We use the best to be the best.

Customer Satisfaction 

We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service and ensuring our customers are completely satisfied with their cooling solutions. We have hundreds of 5-star reviews and thousands of satisfied customers.

Local Colorado Knowledge 

As a locally owned and operated company, we understand the specific cooling needs of Colorado homes and can provide personalized recommendations and installations that are tailored to your specific needs.

Comprehensive Services 

From consultation and free estimates to installation and aftercare, we offer a full range of services to ensure your home stays cool and comfortable. We are available 7 days a week to answer your questions.

Contact Us Today

Don’t let the summer heat take over your home! Experience the benefits of a whole house fan and enjoy a cooler, more comfortable living environment. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can help you with your cooling needs. 

Visit our website at to learn more and schedule your installation or free estimate.

By choosing a whole house fan from Colorado Home Cooling, you’re opting for an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and highly effective cooling solution tailored for the unique climate of Colorado. Make the smart choice and stay cool all summer long with Colorado Home Cooling!


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