Articles & Advice

Swamp Cooler Maintenance

by Matt Myers

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Heating & Cooling
Ideally, we should be able to turn on our swamp coolers and have them deliver cool air all day long. Most of the time this is the case. What is difficult to discern is when the evaporative cooler is not running efficiently. Sure, it's on and putting out cold air, but is it working too hard?

Think of your swamp cooler like a car. It has a motor and runs off a certain type of energy. In the same way that you change your car's oil, spark plugs, recharge the battery, etc, these HVAC motors also need regular attention to run efficiently and effectively. Below are some maintenance for your systems.

Evaporative Cooler Efficiency

  • To have your evaporator cooler run efficiently, try to wait until the temperature reaches at least 85 degrees. This will save 50% on water usage.
  • Turn on the water pump a five minutes before turning on the fan. This process will saturate the pads first, and make your cooler more efficient.
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate air.
  • Swamp Cooler Maintenance
    Before summer begins, removes the panels and clean out any debris in the water pan at the bottom. This will ensure that clean water is getting to the pads and not getting gummed up by leaves, dust, and debris.

    Check the fan belt to see if it has adequate tension. It shouldn't move much more than an inch, and in some cases an inch may be too much. If it is visibly sagging then it definitely needs replaced. If you can't tell whether or not it is too loose, click here to get matched to an air conditioning contractor.

    Lubricate the blower assembly bearing and the motor if it has an oil receptacle with the appropriate oil.

    Make sure the cooler pads are in good shape. If they look worn or ratty, replace them new.

    Turn on the cooler motor and pump to test if the cooler pads are getting sated evenly. Check for any insults to the casement or tray's integrity that could cause a leak. If cracks or holes exists, call an air conditioning repairman.

    Summer Swamp Cooler Checkups

  • Check the water to make ensure that it is at the proper level in the tray. The water line should be a little below the top of the tray, with the top of the overflow pipe sticking out of the water. Adjust the float arm if the water is not at the proper level.
  • Check all other working parts, including the pump, motor and fan belt.
  • Check the condition of the cooler pads. The cooler will run at its most efficient when the pads are clean.
  • Don't go a day without cool air! Use this link to

    Repair Swamp Cooler

    Winterize Swamp Cooler
    As soon as you are certain that you won't need your evaporative cooler, you need to winterize it. Much like spring preparation, you need to clean the buildup of mineral deposits so that won't harden over the winter and become hard to remove.

    Clean out the tray at the bottom of the cooler, and drain the water completely.

    To prevent freezing of the cooler's water line, disconnect the water line from the cooler and blow out the water. This is the most important winterizing step. If you can only bring yourself to do one thing, do this.

    Matt Myers is a freelance writer for the home maintenance and remodeling industry. Formerly a contractor specializing in deck building and casework, Matt has written over 500 articles for both homeowners and contractors.