Some common issues homeowners have with swamp coolers include:
- Excess build-up of dirt on the cooling pads
- Ruptured water lines
- An open damper
- A swampy smell
These problems can largely be mitigated by winterizing a swamp cooler properly. For example, water lines to a swamp cooler can rupture if they aren’t completely drained of water before freezing weather hits. This can cause water damage inside the home if the water lines run through the attic, for example, or through another part of the home.
If the damper to the swamp cooler is left open during the winter, heat can escape the home through it. This can lead to higher energy costs. And if the cooler isn’t tightly covered during the winter, dirt can build up excessively on the cooling pads, and they’ll need to be replaced more often. Odd smells from the swamp cooler can be remedied with regular cleaning of the unit.
How Swamp Coolers Work
Have you ever waved a wet cloth around a few times to cool it off? Do you know how you always feel cooler when you’re wet, even when it’s warm outside? The reason why that happens is because of evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling uses water to cool hot, dry air.
It’s the same principle on which a swamp cooler works. The water will absorb heat in order to evaporate — a lot of heat. An electric fan pulls hot air in, where it passes across wet evaporative pads, and emerges crisp and fresh.
Most swamp coolers these days trap water in thick cooler pads that have multiple layers, maximizing surface area as they absorb water from the water reservoir. But, like most HVAC systems, swamp coolers can occasionally break down.