In this article we will cover when to replace your evaporative cooler belt and offer general maintenance tips.
In the United States, evaporative coolers are common in the western states and part of the mid-west. They are also commonly known as swamp coolers.
Those of you living in the east may have never even heard of them. I know they were new to me until I moved to Arizona. For those of you that do use evaporative coolers, this article will give you the information you need to feel secure about replacing the belt yourself instead of hiring someone to do it.
There is no need to pay a service man an inflated fee just to do this simple task. Some places will charge you up to $100 to do it. Generally though if they charge more than $60, they are not being reasonable.
How to Determine if you Need a New Belt
One sign that you may need to replace your evaporative cooler’s belt is if the cooler is running but not providing sufficient air. This could be due to the belt not being tight causing slippage or because of excessive wear. You should inspect your belt each season for wear.
What you are looking for are signs of dry rot, cracks, splits and proper tension. The belt should be stretched fairly taut. If you push down on the belt it should not give easily and should not move much more than a half inch. If it is not cracked or split anywhere, you may just need to tighten it.
Replacing the Belt
To replace the belt you are going to need a wrench or socket set and a pry bar. Then go through these eight simple steps:
1. Loosen the motor mount so that the motor will slide back and forth to loosen the tension on the belt.
2. To remove the belt, grip the belt where it begins to rise onto the pulley of the blower or the larger of the two pulleys.
3. Being very careful not to pinch your fingers, rotate the pulley in the direction that will take your fingers over the pulley and guide the belt to the side until it comes off.
4. Find the belt size. The belt size is normally printed on the underside of the belt and should begin with “4L”. If you can not find the size marked on the belt, take the belt into the retail outlet and they will determine the size for you.
5. To put the belt back on, first place the belt over the motor’s pulley(the smaller one) and then stretch it halfway over the larger pulley. Turn the pulley to force the belt onto the rest of the pulley. If turning the pulley makes the belt com off, you are turning in the wrong direction.
6. Use a small pry bar to apply tension to the motor, making the mount tight until the belt is tense.
7. While holding the motor taut, retighten the motor mount bolts.
8. Double check to be sure the belt is properly tight when finished.
That’s it, you are done. While you are repairing the belt, it may be a good idea to oil the motor and look for signs of corrosion elsewhere on the unit and give it a cleaning.
Covering your unit in the off season will help to preserve it from the elements and make it last longer. Also, it is a good idea to check your owners manual for other maintenance tips or check with the manufacturer if you no longer have the owner’s manual.
Photo by lowjumpingfrog, Creative Commons Attribution License