Cleaning the Cooler Pads and Swamp Cooler

May 24, 2018

Make sure your home's swamp cooler is in good working order and ready to use as soon as the temperature outside begins to rise if your home doesn't have a traditional air conditioner. Because they use a lot less power to run and don't rely on chemical refrigerants to do their jobs, evaporative coolers are a great alternative to air conditioning. As long as you live in a consistently dry region where water can easily dissipate into the atmosphere, evaporative cooling is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to beat the summer heat. Whether you use a portable or whole-house swamp cooler, you must thoroughly clean and inspect it every spring before re-entering service. Swamp coolers occasionally receive a bad rap for having a musty smell, but you can improve the quality of the air by thoroughly cleaning it before using it this season. This is how you do it.

Before you turned off your evaporative cooler for the season last year, hopefully the water tank was empty and thoroughly dried. This will greatly reduce the chance of mold and mildew growing while the appliance is being stored or out of use for a while. Turning off the water supply and emptying the water reservoir should be your first step if not, or if you need to perform a mid-season tune-up. Additionally, you need to turn off the electricity so you can enter without fear of getting shocked.

The model will determine how to drain the tank. A drain plug or valve that must be removed in a whole-house cooling system to release the water is likely to be present. If not, you will need to siphon the water out using a garden hose. If a portable evaporative cooler has a removable tank, you may be able to dump it down the toilet; if not, you may need to dump it all outside on the ground.

To begin, use a stiff brush or the scouring side of a kitchen sponge to dry scrub the water reservoir to remove any debris. When this step is finished, if there is a lot of loose dirt, you might want to use a vacuum to remove it. Otherwise, a standard dustpan should be able to assist you in removing any loose debris.

Next, thoroughly clean the inside of the water tank with a sponge and soapy water (a tablespoon of dish soap in a gallon of warm water should work). If you have mineral deposits in the tank because of hard water, mild soap won't be sufficient to remove them. These might be difficult to remove with soap. If the water in your area contains a lot of minerals, add white vinegar to the reservoir and let the machinery soak for one or two hours. The high acidity will aid in the removal of blockages that prevent your machine from operating properly as well as the dissolution of mineral deposits. In order to eliminate "swamp cooler smell," it also serves to disinfect the water tank. ”

Drain the vinegar after the tank has soaked in it, then fill it with fresh water. Make sure all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with your sponge, then drain the tank once more.

It's the ideal time to inspect for any issues while the tank is empty. Check the water tank for any leaks or cracks where water could seep in. A portable air cooler's reliable reservoir is unlikely to leak, but over time, the metal seams in a whole-house system may start to separate. Apply a bead of silicone caulking to the area and completely dry it with a towel if you find a breach to stop leaks. Before adding more liquids to the tank, let the caulk dry in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

It would be wise to now examine the float arm as well. If the arm is stuck and cannot freely move up and down, mineral deposits may be to blame. Rub corrosion away with a toothbrush or scouring pad, and think about adding more vinegar to help remove tough deposits.

Next, regular maintenance will also benefit the fan and motor of your swamp cooler. Apply a few drops of oil if you can reach it easily to lubricate these moving parts and keep everything functioning properly.

Lastly, see if the fan's belt is clearly visible. It must be tight and not hang loose. If this crucial component is sagging or in poor condition, you should probably replace it because it may crack or stretch over time. For replacement parts, consult the owner's manual or get advice from a certified service representative by calling

A whole-house system is more likely to need these maintenance recommendations than a portable one. The systems function essentially in the same way, but depending on how a portable appliance is designed, you might not have easy access to its interior.

It's time to add a fresh scent to your system if you found mildew or mold while cleaning, or if you simply don't want to take any chances with your home smelling musty when you turn on your swamp cooler for the season. 15 to 20 drops of your preferred essential oil should be added to a spray bottle; lavender, mint, or citrus scents work well. Following that, fill the bottle with fresh water and vigorously shake to combine. When you turn on your machine, you should experience cool air and a fresh scent after spraying this solution over the water pan and reservoir components.

A crucial component of your evaporative cooling system are the cooler pads. They may be susceptible to mold and mildew because they are wet for extended periods of time. As a result, it's essential to carefully inspect them to determine whether they're in sufficient condition for use. Your nose will thank you for the fresh air, and you'll shield your family from breathing in allergens that can lead to respiratory problems if you throw away any pads that show signs of mold and replace them.

Check the old pads to see what kind you have if you need new ones. Generally speaking, there are two options for swamp cooler pads: fiber pads made from aspen wood shavings or cellulose, or rigid media cooling pads. Some must be cut to fit your specific cooler model, while others are designed to fit into furnaces or air conditioners. Keep your old fiber pads so you can use them as a template to cut new ones if you have to purchase your padding in rolls.

You can clean your cooling pads rather than buying new ones if they are in good condition and don't have any signs of mold or mildew. To accomplish this, take off the pad and vacuum any loose debris. After that, hose the pads down with clean water outside on the ground. Verify that you clean both sides. Depending on when you last cleaned the pads, this may take some time; be patient. You'll know you're done when the water runs clean off them.

Reinstalling the pads while they are still damp is acceptable because doing so will hasten the startup of your evaporative cooler. Once the pads have been changed, you are prepared to reassemble the unit, fill the water tank, or, if it is already connected to your home's water line, open the valve so that it can fill on its own. You can plug the appliance back in and turn it on to quickly fill the room with cold air that also smells great.

The frequency of cleaning your unit is determined by a few factors. How frequently do you use it, first? Your evaporative cooler will be effective every day in consistently dry climates, and you may use it constantly for weeks or even months at a time. It's a good idea to thoroughly clean it three times a year if it receives a lot of use: once before you start using it in the spring, once in the middle of the season, and once at the end before you put it away. Additionally, you should empty the tank and fill it up with fresh water at least once every month. This prevents the water from becoming musty and gives you the chance to add some additional fragrance to the tank by lightly misting it with an essential oil, if you'd like.

Because you'll naturally change the water as you refill the smaller tank on a regular basis, the beauty of a portable evaporative cooler is that it might not need to be cleaned as frequently. Evaporative coolers are much faster to clean because of their small size and easily removable water tanks. You shouldn't need to clean your portable air cooler frequently if you use it as a bridge to help you use your air conditioner less; once at the start of the season and once at the end should be enough.


  • Reduce the temperature by as much as 20 degrees
  • Natural, chemical-free cooling is environmentally friendly.
  • Approximately the same amount of electricity as a 100-watt light bulb


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