How to Improve Swamp Cooler Efficiency

A swamp cooler is an air conditioning unit that uses electricity to cool water, then releases the cool, evaporated water into the immediate environment to create a pleasant indoor climate.

Improve Efficiency

Swamp coolers are most efficient in hot, dry climates.
Fiber pads filter debris from air and water before releasing the fine, cooled mist. Window units and central units are available. Swamp coolers are useful in hot, dry climates, such as the American Southwest region, as they work best where temperatures routinely exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity is lower than 30 percent. Swamp coolers are much more cost efficient than traditional refrigerated air conditioners in such climates, but there are some things you can do to increase your unit's efficiency even more. .

Step 1

Check home insulation levels. Adding insulation to the attic is one of the easiest and least costly ways to increase your home's energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling bills.

Step 2

Check for air leaks. Stop any air leaks around windows or doors with spray foam insulation or caulking.

Step 3

Check the water level in the swamp cooler. Water should reach to one inch from the top of the tray.

Step 4

Replace exterior finishes with light colored roofing or siding. There are a number of roofing and siding products available that are labeled "cool" according to Energy Star standards. These products can reduce your cooling costs by 10 to 15 percent.

Step 5

Install a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans move the cool air around a room, effectively inducing a "wind chill" type effect. While ceiling fans don't actually lower the temperature in a room, they do cause the people in the room to feel cooler. Remember to turn the fan off when you're not in the room to keep energy bills lower.

Step 6

Install shades on all windows. There are many types of shades that block heat-inducing solar waves while still letting ambient light in. To maximize cooling efficiency, choose opaque shades or draperies in a dark color.

Step 7

Replace old windows and doors with new, Energy Star ones. New windows come with low-e glass which is comprised of two panes of glass with argon gas in between. New windows are also available with a low-e glazing that blocks unwanted heat. Open a window just a crack to draw cooled air through the room.

Step 8

Keep your unit clean. Both the swamp cooler and the duct system should be cleaned regularly to ensure maximum efficiency. Use a multi-purpose household cleaner to clean the unit itself. Hire a professional to clean duct systems.

Step 9

Change the fiber pads on the unit, following manufacturer's recommendations.

Step 10

Turn your thermostat up a few degrees. For each degree you turn the thermostat up, you should see a savings of three to five percent on cooling costs.

Step 11

Hire a technician to inspect the unit. Swamp coolers may need tuning every two to three years to ensure top performance.

Things You Will Need

  • Insulation
  • Caulking
  • Light-colored exterior finishes
  • Fan
  • Window shades


About the Author

Lisabeth Hughes holds an Associate of Fine Arts from Minnesota State Community and Technical College with a Bachelor of Arts in progress at Prescott College. Hughes began writing professionally as an assistant at First Rate Freelance in 1995. In 2009 she began to submit her own work and has now published numerous articles on various websites and in "Kush" magazine and two poetry anthologies.