Today We Got a Swamp Cooler

We knew when we bought this house that the air conditioner was shot. It probably played a part in why it took the owners so long to sell. The house was noticeably warm the day we first saw it, and it was still June. Not a good first impression!

We factored this in when we made our lowball offer. The Denver housing market was literally in the dumps last summer. The house had been on the market for close to two years. The owners weren’t upside down in it, nor were they cash strapped. But they WERE sick and tired of trying to sell. They grumbled, but they took our offer.

We survived, albeit uncomfortably, the rest of the ’11 summer without a/c. Fast forward to this June, when we had weeks of 90-100 degree weather. And still no a/c. It seemed like half of Colorado was fire. I was grateful we weren’t among the hundreds of families who lost their homes. But I was grumpy about our hot house, nevertheless.

The HVAC companies could hardly keep up with the calls, but Jay managed to get someone out to give us an estimate. We had decided to go with an evaporative cooler (called a swamp cooler, here in Denver) because we prefer the moisture it puts out compared to the dry air of a/c. Plus, a swamp cooler costs a fraction to operate, energy-wise.

The estimate came to $9,000!

Jay about choked on that. He called a builder he knows to see who he’d recommend to do the installation. Nick was great. He purchased, delivered and installed it as a side job last week. The swamp cooler itself was $3,000.  Nick charged us $700.  Jay’s brother, Lin, a master electrician, came over on the weekend to do the electric. It took most of the day, even with Jay’s help, and Lin was only going to charge us for parts. Very nice of him, but he’s married with a toddler and gave up most of a Saturday to help us out. We paid him $500, which still represented a pretty good “family” discount. Everyone was happy.

We LOVE our new swamp cooler! The house is totally comfortable. And, instead of paying $9,000, it cost $4,200!! (Plus, we’ll be applying for a $500 rebate from Xcel Energy, making the total cost $3,700.)

Update: the rebate ended up being for $600 and it arrived last week. Woo hoo!!

Update: we have parquet floors and the increased moisture in the house has caused them to expand and rise (like a bubble) in the front entryway. Hmmm – we weren’t expecting this! It’s already shrinking back down now that the weather is cooler and we don’t have to run the swamp cooler as much. Denver has a wicked dry climate, though not as bad as Calgary!