When it comes to cost-efficient cooling of dry climates in the hot summer, nothing beats an evaporative cooler. Less expensive to both purchase and operate than traditional air conditioning systems utilizing refrigerant, an evaporative cooler will provide cooling comfort without wreaking havoc on your wallet. In fact, studies have shown that when compared to an air conditioner with comparable cooling capacity, a swamp cooler uses between one-tenth and one-third less of the energy than an AC. Here are some other additional benefits associated with swamp coolers:

  • Because they add moisture to the air, they also provide a comfortable environment for arid climates.
  • They lower temperatures naturally and without the use of ozone-depleting chemicals.
  • Instead of re-circulating the air like ACs, they are open systems that constantly bring in fresh air to a room or area.
  • The filter pads used in a swamp cooler also act as air filters and can remove airborne dirt, debris, and dust particles.

However, swamp coolers oftentimes require a bit more maintenance than portable air conditioners, but these are often minor.  Generally speaking, the optimal time to start maintaining your air cooler is right before summer so that your system will be ready for use once the warmer months approach, but this may also extend into the summer when the unit is actually in use. 

Maintenance will most likely involve cleaning the interior and exterior of the unit, changing the cooling pads, and checking the belts.  Follow the tips below to learn how to properly maintain your swamp cooler in order to maximize its cooling efficiency. 

Thoroughly clean the exterior of the unit.

Keeping your swamp cooler clean will not only increase cooling efficiency, it will also prolong the life of your unit, and this should be performed every few weeks. After removing your unit from storage, wipe down the swamp cooler's surface with a soft, damp cloth when it is not in operation. Do not use abrasive chemicals or detergents which may result in damage to the unit itself. Furthermore, keep the swamp cooler away from direct sunlight in order to prevent color changes on the unit's surface.

Regularly replace the cooling pads.

Check to make sure the cooling pads are in good condition. If they weren't removed prior to end-of-season storage,  your swamp cooler's cooling pads should be replaced at the beginning of the summer and during mid-season maintenance. If the pads are found to be cracked, they will need to be replaced. In fact, cooling pad inspection may even need to be performed even more frequently based on the quality of your local water supply. Begin by removing the old pads from the unit and washing the pad frame and retainer in order to remove scale and dirt.

Once clean, place new pads in the unit and reinstall the frame and retainer. Also be sure the pads, frame, and retainer are properly installed with no gaps.

Swamp Cooler Buying Tip

Right before use, it's also a good idea to soak your swamp cooler's cooling pads beforehand to provide better cooling.

Clean the water tank.

In preparation for use, make sure your swamp cooler's water tank is clean, and if you live in an area with hard water, this is especially important even during the cooling season. Begin by rinsing the water tank with mild, soapy water, flushing it out with clean water, and draining the water via the drain plug. Make sure the rear panel is correctly fitted before replacing and tightening in the screws.

Maintain proper water levels.

Be sure to frequently check water levels when the unit is in operation. The water should always be at the proper level in the tank, and the water line should be a little below the top of the tank. Adjust the float arm if the water is not at the proper level.

Use water treatment tablets.

If your evaporative cooler's manufacturer recommends water treatment tablets, regularly use these in your unit in order to prevent mineral build-up, to control corrosion, and to freshen the air.

Shutting down the system when it's not in use.

To prepare the evaporative cooler for storage or even for a system shutdown, turn off and unplug the unit; turn off the water supply; and drain the water supply. Let the interior completely dry. Clean the water tank and filters as explained above, wrap the cord around the cord hooks (if applicable), pack the swamp cooler in its original carton, and store it in a cool, dry area.

Always remember that even during the summer, your swamp cooler will still require periodic maintenance, and this will usually involve ensuring the pads are in working order and clean. Frequently check the unit's water level, and also check the motor and pump for odd noises. Unexplained noises or water leakage will require service, and to ensure safe operation, be sure your swamp cool is in good, working order before using.

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