Get Your Swamp Cooler Ready for Winter
Swamp coolers are a common cooling system used in the southwest region of the United States, installed as an alternative system to air conditioning. Swamp coolers, also called evaporative coolers, operate on the principle of pulling warm air from the outside into the unit, which is usually located on the roof of the house. The air is cooled with water and then vented into the home.
Part of maintaining a swamp cooler is shutting it down for the winter months. This reduces the risk of damage to the unit when not in use and increasing its longevity. Follow these few basic steps to winterize your swamp cooler.
1. Shut off the water valve that controls the water flow to the cooler. This is a dedicated water line so you do not need to shut off the water to the house, only the valve that feeds the water into the cooler.
2. Drain any water remaining in the system. Remove the access panel from the unit and remove one of the cooler pads to get to the overflow tube. Pull the tube away from the drain opening and allow the water in the tube to flow into the water tray inside the unit.
3. Carefully remove the tray and empty it. You'll likely see mineral deposits on the surface of the tray. Use a general purpose, acidic cleaner, such as a vinegar and water solution to clean the tray. Set the tray aside and allow it to dry.
4. Look at the supply hose, located above the slots for the pads. This hose has several small holes in it to allow water to drip over the pads. Gently clean the exterior of the hose using a small brush and vinegar and water solution to remove mineral deposits.
5. Check the water tray for cracks or rust. Repair small cracks with marine grade sealant and remove rust with a scouring pad and place the clean tray back into the unit.
6. Leave the water flow tube disconnected to prevent condensation from building up in the line over the winter months. Put the pads back into the unit. Do not put new pads into the unit at this time. Put new pads in when you prepare the unit for summer use.
7. Secure the access panel back onto the unit, making sure the screws are tightened, and that screws on the rest of the unit are tight as well. Check the mounting bolts to be sure the unit is secure.
8. Insulate the cooler by wrapping it in a thin layer of insulation or a thick blanket. This guards against heating loss, as the unit allows for air flow into the home. Cover the insulated unit with a cooler cover.
Winterizing your swamp cooler takes little time and doesn't require any special skills. Performing this basic maintenance prolongs the life of the cooler and reduces the costs of heating your home during the winter months.