The name swamp cooler is a more common term given for an evaporative cooler. A swamp cooler is a mechanism that cools by blowing hot air onto water saturated pads and into a building or home. The cooling ability of a swamp cooler is around -20 to -25 degrees of the surrounding air.
Swamp coolers are used mainly in climates where the air is hot and the humidity low as in the western mountain states of the US. The moisture condition of the cooled air gives a swamp cooler its trademark name. Some times there is a need for replacing swamp coolers or their pads. To do this we have to know how a swamp cooler works.
How does a swamp cooler work?
A swamp cooler looks like a metal or plastic box with vented sides. Inside this box is a centrifugal fan or blower, a sheaved electric motor which is an electric motor with pulleys, a water pump, the water pan, the float, the cooling pads and a bleed off mechanism for the pads.
The fan draws air from the outside through the vents. While this is happening the water pump is keeping the pads inside damp as the air coming from the outside evaporates the water. As the air passes through these dampened pads, cool moist air is produced and transferred through out the building via ductwork. Since the air is coming from the outside in, an exhaust went must be in place to let the air pass out of the building.
Replacing or repair of Swamp coolers
Since a swamp cooler is made of a combination of several simple machines it is a very rare occasion that there is a need for replacing the entire cooler unless it has been neglected for a long time. Most of the time it is replacing one of the swamp cooler’s internal items like the fan or the water pump.
The most replaced items are the cooling pads themselves. As water evaporates from the cooling pads, salts and minerals from the evaporated water are left behind. This will eventually cause scale to build up on the pads, making them hard and non-absorbent.
To prevent this, these salts are removed from the swamp cooler via some sort of “bleed-off” mechanism. In older models, a continual stream of water is pumped out or a manual valve is opened to drain water out of the cooler. Newer swamp coolers have automatic timers which dump the contents of the water pan at certain intervals.
As the old saying goes “the best offense is the best defense”. It goes the same with a swamp cooler. There are several things you can do to prevent wear and tear on your swamp cooler:
1. With a wire brush remove all scale in the pan then paint the drain pan with marine paint or a rust blocking paint. Do this every year your cooler is in service.
2. Check the tubing for splits.
3. Check your pulley belt for signs of wear.
4. Clear the intakes. Clean off the inside filters of scale and debris.
5. Tighten any nuts that need it especially around tube fittings.
6. Replace your pads every year. During replacement clean your vents with a wire brush.
7. Lubricate all of your moving part on your engines. A simple WD-40 spray is fine depending on your make and model of your cooler.
Doing these simple steps will prolong the life of your cool. Even at peak efficiency a typical swamp cooler will last only 20 years, but that is 20 years less spent sweltering in a summer heat wave.
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