Evaporative coolers, also known as ‘swamp’ coolers can be an energy efficient method for cooling a home in arid or semi-arid climates.  Evaporative coolers work under a pretty simple concept of using the evaporation of water to cool air which is then blown into the home providing both cooling and humidification of the air.

Evaporative coolers are popular in climates where the air is hot and the humidity is low which includes much of the western and mountain states in the U.S.  Although the equipment is relatively simple some maintenance is still required and the units should be winterized in areas that experience below freezing temperatures in the winter.

Simple Maintenance Steps for Evaporative (Swamp) Coolers

  1. Check the condition of the cooling pads.  Your cooler will run more efficiently if the pads are clean.  Consider replacing the cooler pads every 6 months, if you’re only using your cooler during the summer months this might mean you only need to change them every other summer.
  2. Check to be sure the motor, pump and float are working properly.  If the float sticks the water will not shut off causing the unit to overflow, wasting water and potentially causing damage to adjacent structures.
  3. Check the water level.  The water should be about an inch below the top of the bottom tray.  If the water level is too high or too low adjust the float.
  4. Check the water line and all connections to be sure there are no leaks.  Especially if your unit is located on the roof and the water line runs through your attic space.