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Do Ventless Air Conditioners Work? Unmasking the Truth

Ventless Air Conditioners, Swamp Coolers, Evaporative Coolers. It’s All The Same.

Today I thought I’d like to cover a topic that I’ve recently been doing a ton of research for myself. I’m one of those guys that gets sweaty at the slightest hint of heat and so I want something to cool my apartment so I could actually get some sleep at night and wake up feeling refreshed!

During the research process I came across ventless air conditioners. You might’ve also heard them being referred to as ‘swamp coolers’ or ‘evaporative coolers’. There’s a fair bit of talk online about them not being up too hot at keep things cool if you know what I mean.

Is there any truth to that? Are ventless air conditioners any good? Let’s discuss!

How Ventless Air Conditioners Work At A High Level

Alright, so what are ventless air conditioners exactly? Well, they’re devices that cool air using evaporation. If you want the “Explain it like I’m five” for this: they draw in hot air, pass it over wet pads, and voila, you’ve got cooled air!

Well that sounds pretty underwhelming doesn’t it? At least that’s what I thought when I learned about them.

Here is a pretty solid guide for further explanation on how ventless air conditioners work.

But there’s a big downside to cooling a home like this.. This process also adds quite a bit of moisture to the air.

Are Ventless Air Conditioners Any Good?

Are ventless air conditioners any good then? Well, they can be decent – like I said, the dryer the climate the better the chances. In dry, low humidity climates, these coolers can lower the air temperature by a pleasant 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the quality of the air cooler you get.

But here’s the thing. In more humid climates, the air is already holding a lot of moisture. This makes it harder for the cooler to evaporate more water and effectively cool the air. In a lot of cases, it might not cool the room down at all.

The Not-So-Cool Side of Ventless Air Conditioners

It’s not just about the cooling effectiveness, though. Here are a few more drawbacks of ventless air conditioners you might want to consider:

  • Increased Humidity: Ventless air conditioners can make your living space feel uncomfortably damp and humid. This can even lead to health risks like mold and mildew growth. Here’s a bit more about that from the EPA.
  • Noise Levels: Got a noise-sensitive pet? Or just love your peace and quiet? Beware – ventless air conditioners can get pretty loud, especially on high settings.
  • Maintenance: If you’re not into regular DIY projects, you might find maintaining a ventless air conditioner a bit of a hassle. They need regular cleaning to keep mold at bay and water reservoirs refilled frequently. This maintenance guide might help!

How Do Ventless Air Conditioners Stack Up Against Other Air Conditioners?

So how do ventless air conditioners compare to other types? You’ve got your central air conditioners, ductless air conditioners (aka mini split air conditioners), window units, and traditional portable air conditioners.

Central air conditioning is a powerhouse – it’s efficient at cooling your home and relatively low-maintenance. Mini split air conditioners also work incredibly well and efficient.

Window units aren’t quite as effective but can be a less expensive option. And portable air conditioners? They’re not super efficient but can be handy for single rooms and apartments.

Depending on your living situation, you might be at the mercy of the building with your options. Portable air conditioners generally end up being the go-to option for people in apartments, they’re affordable and easy to upkeep. You can check out this air conditioner buying guide from Consumer Reports for more detailed info.

The Bottom Line

Are ventless air conditioners right for you? In my honest opinion, it’s going to be a pass from me. While they can be enticing at first glance, you’ll soon find out that they are generally a waste of money.

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