Evaporative Cooler / Swamp Cooler
In low-humidity areas, evaporating water into the air provides a natural and energy-efficient means of cooling. Evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers, rely on this principle, cooling outdoor air by passing it over water-saturated pads, causing the water to evaporate into it. When it comes to cost-efficient cooling of dry climates in the hot summer, nothing beats an evaporative cooler. Less expensive to both purchase and operate than traditional air conditioning systems utilizing refrigerant, an evaporative cooler will provide cooling comfort without wreaking havoc on your wallet. In fact, studies have shown that when compared to an air conditioner with comparable cooling capacity, a swamp cooler uses between one-tenth and one-third less of the energy than an AC. Here are some other additional benefits associated with swamp coolers:
- Because they add moisture to the air, they also provide a comfortable environment for arid climates.
- They lower temperatures naturally and without the use of ozone-depleting chemicals.
- Instead of re-circulating the air like ACs, they are open systems that constantly bring in fresh air to a room or area.
- The filter pads used in a swamp cooler also act as air filters and can remove airborne dirt, debris, and dust particles.
Maintenance will most likely involve cleaning the interior and exterior of the unit, changing the cooling pads, and checking the belts. Follow the tips below to learn how to properly maintain your swamp cooler in order to maximize its cooling efficiency.
Thoroughly clean the exterior of the unit.
Keeping your swamp cooler clean will not only increase cooling efficiency, but it will also prolong the life of your unit, and this should be performed every few weeks. After removing your unit from storage, wipe down the swamp cooler’s surface with a soft, damp cloth when it is not in operation. Do not use abrasive chemicals or detergents which may result in damage to the unit itself. Furthermore, keep the swamp cooler away from direct sunlight in order to prevent color changes on the unit’s surface.
Regularly replace the cooling pads.
Check to make sure the cooling pads are in good condition. If they were not removed prior to end-of-season storage, your swamp cooler’s cooling pads should be replaced at the beginning of the summer and during mid-season maintenance. If the pads are found to be cracked, they will need to be replaced. In fact, cooling pad inspection may even need to be performed even more frequently based on the quality of your local water supply. Begin by removing the old pads from the unit and washing the pad frame and retainer in order to remove scale and dirt.
Operation of Evaporative Cooler
An evaporative cooler should have at least two speeds and a vent-only option. During vent-only operation, the water pump does not operate, and the outdoor air is not humidified. This lets you use the evaporative cooler as a whole-house fan during mild weather.
Control the cooler’s air movement through the house by adjusting window openings. Open the windows or vents on the leeward side of the house to provide 1 to 2 square feet of opening for each 1,000 cfm of cooling capacity. Experiment to find the right windows to open and the correct amount to open them. If the windows are open too far, hot air will enter. If the windows are not open far enough, humidity will build up in the home.
You can regulate both temperature and humidity by opening windows in the areas you want to cool and closing windows in unoccupied areas. Where open windows create a security issue, install up-ducts in the ceiling. Up-ducts open to exhaust warm air into the attic as cooler air comes in from the evaporative cooler. Evaporative coolers installed with up-ducts will need additional attic ventilation.
Optional filters remove most of the dust from incoming air — an attractive option for homeowners concerned about allergies. Filters can also reduce the tendency of some coolers to pull water droplets from the pads into the blades of the fan. Most evaporative coolers do not have air filters as original equipment, but they can be fitted to the cooler during or after installation.
Two-Stage Evaporative Coolers
Two-stage evaporative coolers are newer and even more efficient. They use a pre-cooler, more effective pads, and more efficient motors, and don’t add as much humidity to the home as single-stage evaporative coolers. Because of their added expense, they are most often used in areas where daytime temperatures frequently exceed 100°F.
Evaporative Cooler Maintenance
Save yourself a lot of work and money by draining and cleaning your evaporative cooler regularly. Build-up of sediment and minerals should be regularly removed. Coolers need a major cleaning every season and may need routine maintenance several times during the cooling season.
The more a cooler runs, the more maintenance it will need. In hot climates where the cooler operates much of the time, look at the pads, filters, reservoir, and pump at least once a month. Replace the pads at least twice during the cooling season, or as often as once a month during continuous operation.
Some paper and synthetic cooler pads can be cleaned with soap and water or a weak acid according to manufacturer’s instructions. Filters should be cleaned when the pads are changed or cleaned. Be sure to disconnect the electricity to the unit before servicing it.
Evaporative Cooler Maintenance Programs
Spring Start Up
Evaporative Cooler Spring Start Up Level – 1
Leave Pads in Place, Remove Plastic Wrap, Clean Vacuum Sump, Turn on Water, Install Overflow Pipe, Adjust Float, Clean/ Clear Spider Distribution Tubes, Re-install Existing Belt, Adjust pulley, Verify Motor Amp Draw, Verify Unit Supply Voltage, Clean/ Clear Pump, Clean/ Clear Basket, Verify Pump(s) Operation, Verify Drain, Grease Bearings; when applicable. Start up unit, Verify Operation. All additional work requires additional line items.
Evaporative Cooler Spring Start Up Level – 2
Includes: 4-Aspen Pads, 1-Belt, 1- Float, 1-Pump, 1-Basket
Install New Pads, Turn on Water, Adjust Float, Clean/ Clear Spider Distribution Tubes, Re-install Existing Belt, Adjust pulley, Verify Motor Amp Draw, Verify Unit Supply Voltage, Clean/ Clear Pump, Clean/ Clear Basket, Verify Pump(s) Operation, Verify Drain, Grease Bearings; (when applicable). Start up unit, Verify Operation. All additional work requires additional line items.
Fall Shut Down
Evaporative Cooler Fall Shut Down Level – 1
Leave Pads in Place, Clear Spider Distribution Tubes, Turn off Water, Remove Drain Overflow Pipe, Drain Unit, Remove Belt and Hang on Pulley, Turn Off Power to System; when applicable. Wrap Unit is Plastic. All additional work requires additional line items.
Evaporative Cooler Fall Shut Down Level – 2
Remove and Dispose of Pads, Clear Spider Distribution Tubes, Turn off Water, Remove Drain Overflow Pipe, Drain Unit, Remove Belt and Hang on Pulley, Turn Off Power to System; when applicable. Wrap Unit is Plastic. All additional work requires additional line items.
Contact us today at Las Vegas Mechanical to get a free quote. Our HVAC experts are here to service all of your commercial air conditioning needs.