Proper Swamp Cooler Care

Before we begin discussing the importance and the specific methods of swamp cooler care you may be wondering what a swamp cooler is. A swamp cooler is a type of air conditioner. Swamp coolers work best in dry areas rather than humid ones because they us evaporation as the primary method to help cool the home.

There are two types of swamp coolers, a wall mounted cooler and a larger one that often mounts to the roof of a building. Roof mounted swamp coolers usually cool a home more efficiently because the cooling pads cover more areas of the external area. Now that we know what one is it is time to discuss maintenance.

Swamp Cooler Care

Swamp coolers need regular checkups, but other than that, not much maintenance is required. You should make sure to check your cooler at the beginning of spring, before it gets hot, and at the end of fall, right around the time you will stop using your swamp cooler.

There are several tools you will need to perform the maintenance on a swamp cooler. These tools include:

    Screwdrivers: flat-head and Phillips
    Wire Strippers
    Various Wrenches: including an Allen wrench

You may not need all of these things when performing swamp cooler care, though it is better to have them handy, just in case they are needed. The maintenance periods will have you doing different things each time, but you will become used to the pattern and you will see how simple the care for a swamp cooler really is.

Spring-time Maintenance

When you do maintenance in the spring, you will concentrate on the dry portions of the swamp cooler first. You do not want to add water to the sump pump until you are positive the cold weather is gone. You should avoid connecting the water lines until the weather is going to remain favorable.

To perform spring maintenance you should start by turning off the circuit breaker for the swamp cooler. Once this has been done you will remove the sides and replace the cooler pads that are inside. While you are looking at the internal areas of the cooler you should remove any dust that has settled inside the area.

Despite not hooking up the sump pump you should remove it and make sure that there is no mud or debris down in the area where it sits. Mud will stop the pump from working correctly.

The drip-tubes should be firmly connected and the V-belt should be checked, as well. You should make sure the blower fan is working and that it is able to move freely. If your fan has oil fittings you should oil it at this time.


Connect the water lines now and wait for the pump to fill. You should allow the water to fill and close. The float valve should stop just shy of an inch below the over-flow valve. When the swamp cooler shuts down the water will drain to the pump. If you have issues with over-flowing you can bend the float-arm down some and check it a second time to make sure the problem has been fixed. On the other hand, if there is not enough water you can bend the float arm upwards.

From there you put the side panels back on and your swamp cooler care is done for the spring. The key is to make sure you will be ready for the summer.

Fall Maintenance

Maintenance for your swamp cooler in the fall is going to be a snap. Basically the goal during this time is to shut it down for the season and prepare it for the upcoming cold weather.

Start by draining the water and cleaning the cooler out so that it is free of any dirt or a similar substance. Unhook the water line before the weather gets cold. If it has a chance to freeze it is likely to burst and that means you will be replacing the line. You can just leave the water line to hang until it is time to hook it back up. It should be fine during the cool weather as long as it is unhooked.

Once you have handled the main issues you can either decide to cover your swamp cooler or not. This just ends up being a personal decision and its fine either way. Now you just turn off the breaker and you are done with swamp cooler care until the next maintenance season!

See Also:

Portable Air Conditioner