Troubleshooting the Most Common Swamp Cooler Issues

February 1, 2016 5:33 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Troubleshooting the 6 Most Common Swamp Cooler Problems

A swamp cooler is a much simpler unit than an air conditioner is, and that means there are really only a few issues which can interfere with its operation. These tend to be fairly predictable, so you’ll know right where to look when you’re experiencing any kind of operational difficulty. Some of these issues are described in the content below, so you can quickly troubleshoot the issue and get your cooling unit blowing cold air again.

How do Evaporative Coolers Break?

There are several reasons that evaporative coolers may break down, the first of which is that the region you live in is persistently humid, and this is a condition where swamp coolers are much less effective. The most common reason for swamp coolers to break down is that the evaporative pads become saturated with water or that scale and debris builds up on them. It’s also possible that the internal belt will break or slip off, and in that case it will need to be replaced.

Another common reason for swamp coolers to break down is through faulty wiring, which may cause persistent tripping of the circuit breaker, or blowing of fuses. It’s also possible that the fan motor might cease operating, and if this is the case, it will generally be necessary to replace it. One last reason that your swamp cooler might not be operational, is that the thermostat might be set too high, so the unit doesn’t need to blow cold air to achieve that high temperature setting.

Does Airflow Affect the Efficiency of a Swamp Cooling Unit?

Airflow is extremely important to the efficient operation of a cooler, and without proper airflow your unit simply will not be capable of efficient operation. It will be necessary for you to provide a pathway for warm air to be expelled from the interior of your home, and the best way to do this is to simply open a window or two. You can influence the actual airflow of your swamp cooler by closing the doors to some rooms in the home which are not in use, and by opening windows in rooms where you want the temperature to be cooler.


Does Airflow Affect the Efficiency of a Swamp Cooling Unit_

What Should I Do if My Unit isn’t Blowing Cold Air?

If your swamp cooler is not blowing cold air, there could be one of several problems causing the issue. For one thing, you may have the thermostat set at too high a level, and this can be remedied by simply lowering the thermostat setting. If your unit doesn’t even turn on, you could have a blown fuse, or the circuit breaker might be tripped. When you replace the fuse or the circuit breaker, and it trips again, you may have a wiring issue.

You can eyeball this by looking for frayed wiring around the fuse or the circuit breaker, and looking for small black spots which might indicate a short-circuit. It’s also possible that you could have low voltage running to your unit, and that would cause it to operate at a subpar level. Another strong possibility is that the evaporative pads have become saturated with too much water, or have become clogged with scale and debris, and in this case you would need to clean your evaporative pads.

What’s Causing the Odd Smell That’s Coming From My Cooler?

When you notice a musty odor coming from your cooler, it’s very possible that you have stagnant water or mildew on your evaporative pads. It’s a good idea to periodically check your pads and replace them whenever necessary. It could also be that the water in your sump has become stagnant, and if this is the case, it would need to be drained and cleaned.

In order to ensure that the water in your unit stays clean for a longer period of time, you could try adding a teaspoon of vinegar to it. If you notice that the musty odor persists even when you use vinegar, you could also try using a bleed-off kit, which serves to remove a certain amount of the water, and replaces it automatically with fresher water.


What’s Causing the Odd Smell That’s Coming From My Cooler_

Tips for Preventing an Evaporative Cooler Failure

In order to ensure that your cooler stays operational, and performs at an optimal level, there are some routine maintenance tasks you can perform. First of all, you should remove old evaporative pads and clean the pad frames. Next, you should drain the reservoir and scrape away any scale which has accumulated. Clean your water distribution system, and that will involve the pump screen, the water distribution tubes, and the pump impeller.

Inspect the electrical wiring to make sure there are no frayed wires or poor connections, and you should also check the belt to make sure there are no signs of excessive wear. After having performed these checks, you should turn on the water supply to make sure the entire cooler pad gets wet, so you’ll have maximum efficiency. If you perform these simple tasks at the beginning of a warm season, your evaporative cooler should provide you with good service all summer long.

Evaporative coolers in Phoenix, AZ require more regular maintenance than other cooling systems, but they also involve fairly simple technology. If there’s something not quite right, it is likely you can fix the issue yourself to make the cooler work well again. Here are the common problems that arise with evaporative coolers and the steps you can take to solve them before you call in a technician:

  • Low or no air flow: A lack of air flow (or reduced air flow) is normally a power supply issue. Check breakers and fuses to see if they are tripped or blown. If this is the cause, you need to replace the fuse (if necessary) and reset the breaker. Air flow is also compromised by a lack of exhaust, so if you did not have exhaust ducts installed, keep a window cracked open. Unlike air conditioners, evaporative coolers in Phoenix, AZ require this access to outdoor air. Another malfunction linked to this problem is motors overheating and shutting down. If that happens, you require a new motor. Replacing belts and thermostats may also be necessary to restore air flow.
  • Air is not cool: If your cooler is not blowing cold air, it is likely due to the water system. If the pads are not sufficiently soaked, it is impossible for the cooler to create cold air. Check the pads to see if they still retain water, and if they are new or functioning properly, move on the water pump. See if there are clogs in the tubes or valves malfunctioning, as those issues can keep water from reaching the pads.
  • Excessive water usage: Your cooler may be working fine except for one problem—it is always out of water. If the water reservoir constantly needs filling, there is likely a leak within the system. Since there are multiple possibilities for the source of a leak, it is likely most prudent to call a technician to locate and seal it. Usually the water valves are common culprits in this situation.
  • Odors: This is a relatively rare problem because the climate in Phoenix is so dry. When evaporative coolers produce odors, it is often traced to the water pan being left to linger. With no place to evaporate, it will grow stagnant, and the effects of the new bacteria growth will make themselves known through your home or office. Drain the water from the pan and reservoir and clean them out with chlorine. Once you finish that task, there should be no odors.
  • Corrosion: If you fail to clean your cooler every six months, you will notice corrosion, which will eventually compromise functioning. This is especially likely if your water source provides high mineral levels. Purchase a water softener to extend longevity and clean your cooler regularly. This will at least slow any corrosion and help your cooler last longer.

Premier Industries Inc. designs evaporative coolers in Phoenix, AZ for homes and businesses. To enjoy cooling with improved cost savings, contact us today.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Mike Nicolini

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *