Evaporative Cooler vs Mini-split
I’m in the planning stages of a remodel and need to make a decision about cooling.
I’m in zone 5B (cold, dry Denver), but the summers can get pretty toasty with a few days of 100+ and long stretches of 90+ temperatures each year. I currently have an evaporative cooler that can keep the house in the uppers 70’s on the worst days and usually cool it down pretty well at night. When the air is a little more humid, it is obviously less effective, and during forest fires when the air is bad it’s not really usable. My contractor would like to swap the existing, and somewhat old unit for a new higher efficiency model like a BreezeAir. I ran a BEopt model that auto-calced a cooling capacity of 1.7 tons (garbage in/garbage out, but the model agrees within 10% of my actual heating costs, so hopefully it’s not too far off).
The house is about 2000 sqft, on 2 floors with a fair amount of unobstructed southwest facing glass. As part of the remodel the walls and cathedral ceiling will be insulated and any new west facing windows will be triple-paned low SHG glazing. I have hot-water baseboard heat, so there aren’t any ducts.
The new evaporative cooler is about $3500. It seems like a ductless mini-split could also deliver the same cooling and keep the humidity down on muggy days while being somewhat more expensive.
So if you have to choose, which way would you go and why?
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