Many people favor evaporative coolers during the early and late summer months in Arizona. They are a great way to cool your home when it’s 80-110 degrees outside. The only real drawback is that they don’t work too well on those high humidity days during the monsoon season. I recommend having an AC as a primary way to cool your home, but having a evap cooler is a wonderful way to help alleviate the steep electricity bills that summer can bring.
The main reason evap coolers are so much cheaper to run than air conditioners is that they only have 1 motor. While most AC’s have 2 motors and a compressor. Most amps are drawn during the startup of the compressor. It is equivalent to stop and go traffic in the city or non stop high way traffic.
Evap coolers use convection to transfer the heat from the outside air to the water that is falling across the pads. They can drop the temperature 25 degrees or more. The higher the humidity in the outside air will cause the cooling efficiency to decrease.
Proper maintenance on swamp coolers is crucial if you expect them to last more than the first season of operation. They are relatively low cost to maintain. If you do it right then you should only have to inspect and maintain your swamp cooler twice a year. Usually done before and after summer. I recommend doing a pre summer inspection during early spring. In Arizona I recommend to start getting your swamp cooler ready in February. I recommend winterizing it before snowfall or if you experience freezing temperatures where you are located.
Several things to take a look at when inspecting your evap cooler.
- Pads – Depending on how much the water is running across them, and how “hard” your water is. You might want to change these pads out yearly or every other year. In Arizona there is a lot of minerals in the water. This is evident from some of the large mineral deposits that are left on the pads after a few months of running your cooler. Sometimes a purge pump (aka clean machine) or a bleed valve will help keep your pads in decent shape. This works by draining some of the concentrated mineral water, and it will get replaced with fresh water from the fill valve.
- Fill valve – You want to make sure that the fill valve is properly activating and shutting off when at the proper level. Sometimes mineral deposits will stop them from doing their job.
- Fan Motor – You want to make sure that the fan motor is spinning well, and that no strange noises are coming from it. A little shot of lube might help it spin better.
- Pump – Make sure pump is delivering enough water, and the distributor lines are evenly delivering the water. Pumps usually will make a grinding noise when they stop working. Replace it with similar style.
- Belt – Belts tend to fray, crack, and tear after their service life. Replace the belt with the exact same size and style.
- Blower wheel – Take a look at the bearings that the blower wheel shaft is connected to. The bearings will rust after their service life has expired. Also make sure there isn’t too much vibration coming from the blower when spinning. I recommend replacing the whole unit rather then just replacing the bearings or blower wheel. It is usually more cost effective to replace the whole unit.
- Drain – The drain can get clogged with debris and sludge. Make sure the unit is draining properly. If the drain is worn from sun damage or clogged beyond repair. They are usually pretty inexpensive to replace.
- Water Pan – Make sure the water pan and condition isn’t too rusted. They sell a pan coating that you can spray on the bottom of water pans that are rusting. Once again I recommend replacing the whole unit if they get too rusted.
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