Evaporative coolers, also known as Swamp Coolers are becoming increasingly popular to energy conscious United States citizens (mostly in western states). They can be up to 75% more efficient than an air conditioner when used to cool your home.
Unfortunately, more evaporative coolers equals more evaporative cooler problems. That is the topic of this article. We will cover some common evaporative cooler problems and tell how to fix and prevent them.
The main problem with swamp coolers unfortunately is one that really cannot be remedied. It is that they are really only effective in dry climates. Swamp coolers work by soaking pads of wood or other cellulous material with water and blowing air over the water cooled pads and into your home. Thus, they constantly add water to the air.
They work great in dry climates where adding moisture to the air will actually cool it, but in wet climates, adding water moisture to the air only makes it seem hotter! This is not good and a large portion of the country cannot use evaporative coolers efficiently. However, in dry areas of the western United States, they work wonderfully. They can keep a home about 20 degrees cooler than it is outside on hot days.
While the one big problem with swamp coolers has no real solution yet, there are still many problems with evaporative coolers than can be solved and we will cover those problems and solutions here:
1. Cooler will not start: Check the fuse box or circuit breaker and reset the breaker or replace the fuse. If the problem persists, inspect the wiring for potential breaks or damage. If the wiring looks good and the circuit is active, then you will need to check the switch then finally the motor. Call in a repair man if you don’t have the required experience to check the internal parts of a swamp cooler.
2. Cooler runs but doesn’t put out enough air: Check the cooler’s ventilation. If your cooler is the type with no vent, then be sure to have one or more windows open the proper amount to allow enough air to flow through the house in order to cool it. If you have proper air flow and still are not experiencing enough air from the cooler, then check the cooler’s belt for proper tension and tighten as needed. The belt should not give way easy when you press down on it with a single finger. If the belt easily moves more than a half inch with little tension, then it needs tightened.
3. The Cooler has good air flow, but the air is not cool enough: In this case, check the water pads and make sure they are wet. If they are not well soaked, check the water pump and make sure there are no clogs and that it is running properly.
4. The cooler uses too much water: You may have a leak. Check for signs of water running from the unit. Check the water valve as it is a common source of leaks. Make sure the pads are not receiving excessive water. If so, or if the valve is leaking, you may need to replace the valve.
5. The cooler appears dirty or corroded: You should clean your cooler at least every six months. You will need to knock any dirt loose and wipe the entire unit down so that dirt doesn’t build up and prevent the unit for doing its job. If you have high mineral levels in your water, it can cause corrosion to happen faster and you should see about getting your water treated. If you are trying to run the cooler in a humid environment, it will corrode faster and it will not effectively do its job in a humid area, look into another method of cooling during humid months.
6. There is an odor coming from the cooler: You may need to clean it out. If water sits in the bottom pan for too long, it will grow stagnant. Drain all the water and clean the drain. When the cooler is properly cleaned, it should omit no odors.
If you have trouble that you cannot identify or remedy from this article, then you may need to call a repairman, but most problems are fairly simple. Luckily swamp coolers are relatively simple devices that are not hard to fix when compared to other types of air conditioner, like central a/c.