How to Maintain an Installed Swamp Cooler

Swamp coolers and are an ingeniously simple and effective way to cool your home but they do require setup every summer, regular maintenance and winterizing. These tasks are relatively simple and within the abilities of any homeowner with average do-it-yourself skills. Follow these steps in order to have an efficient and long lasting swamp cooler.

Maintain an Installed Swamp Cooler
  1. Inspect the hose bib, valve or water spigot that serves as your water source. Open and close the valve to make sure it is functioning properly. Check the plastic or copper tubing that runs from the water source to the swamp cooler and look for any cracks or kinks that may be leaking. The tubing connections at the source and the cooler are common places where slow drips develop. These leaks can be repaired by replacing the compression nuts and compression sleeves at the connections.

  2. Check the rubber washer on the connection between the tubing and the float valve inside the unit. If it is old or cracked, replace it to prevent any leaking. Clean up dirt and debris from the bottom of the swamp cooler with a short broom and dustpan or a shop vacuum. Clean the mesh screen in which the electric water pump sits so that water can flow freely through it. Use the garden hose to rinse away the dust from inside the unit. Turn on the valve at the water source and fill the swamp cooler, checking and adjusting the float valve to properly shut off the water flow at the right water level. Plug in the electric water pump and fan motor and then have someone inside the house turn on the cooler. Check to make sure the pump and fan are working properly. The water distribution lines from the pump to the pads should be free from any clogs, providing a constant flow of water.

  3. Measure the size of the pads on the sides of the swamp cooler so that you can purchase a new set. The pads should be replaced every year. Verify that you have a complete list of replacement parts needed and then you can get them and the pads in one trip to the store.

  4. Winterize the unit after the summer season. Turn off the valve at the water source. Remove the tubing, drain it, and store out of the weather. Pull the plug at the bottom of the cooler's water reservoir and drain out all the water. Make sure to put the plug in an easy-to-find place inside the cooler; you will need it when you start up the cooler again the next season. Unplug the electric pump and fan motor. Allow the swamp cooler to air out for a day or two so that it is completely dry. Sweep or vacuum up any material that has settled on the bottom of the unit over the summer. Put on the cooler cover securely so that it can withstand wind and also protect the unit from rain and snow. Your swamp cooler is now ready for a quick and easy start up next summer.


  • When inspecting the swamp cooler while it is powered up and running, stay clear of the moving parts of the unit.
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