Swamp cooler question

Every year after I prep my swamp cooler for another summer - clean, lube, new pads, etc. - I notice that when I first turn on the blower I get a large amount of grit/dust blown into my house. Where does this come from? Pieces of fiber from the pads? Flakes of calcium from my hard well water? Is there an easy way to catch these so they won't blow into the house? Any way to avoid them? I see this sometimes during the summer when the cooler has been off a few days too.
TIA
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Just bought a new place about 8 months ago, and have the need to turn on the swamp cooler, which are not common here in AZ. The cooler seems to work fine. It blows cold air, etc. However, every once and a while, a large amount of water will be discharged out the discharge hose (or whatever it's called, it's a pvc pipe). Some of the research I've seen said this can be normal. Some other research said I may have a problem with my float. Anybody have any experience with this?
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JK wrote:

you didn't tell us what brand you have, its gonna be a major guessing game.
Obvious first cause: It may have a "purge" pump installed, which periodically dumps the mineral rich water in the pan down the drain. Its purpose is to delay mineral buildup on the the pads.
A constant trickle would indicate that the float is either stuck open or set too high. If it only happens when the cooler is running it may have a "bleed off" to dump a portion of the mineral rich water.
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No maintenance on the unit and you just turned it on.... Ok. It will not last long that way
Now days there are two pumps in coolers. One to cycle the water over pad. The other one dumps the pan water out ever so often, some are as little as 4 hours and I have seen 12 hour ones. This pump will look exactly (to the untrained eye) like the circulating pump.
In my coolers I used a pump that would dump the water every 8 hours of run time. It sure helps keep the crud down.
Your cooler should be 100% checked out before you run it every year. Cleaned top to bottom, new layer of asphalt in the water pan, bearings oiled, belts checked and or tightened just to hit the high points.
The master cool type pad can last 3-4 years if maintained. The fibrous (aspen pads) need to be changed yearly.
Do you have up ducts in your home? Venting the air into the attic helps a lot. Cools the attic and then makes the home more comfortable. Leaving windows open is dangerous now days. If you have a hall gas heater open the door up, and let the air exhaust there. Hint you need one up duct for every 12 inches of register length or fraction there of.
I have lived in AZ for 35 years now.
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I'm pretty sure it's purging the water since it occurs at certain times, and for certain periods of time. We'll have a guy out to look at it. I did have one question though: Why is opening the windows dangerous. We do have the vents that lead up to the attic, but I have also been leaving a window open. Dangerous in what way?

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Burglars love open windows.
Force as much of the air into the attic as you can. It will help your run time. ( how long you can run your cooler. I used to try to get to 4th of July).
Do not for get to install the slides when you change over to the a/c.

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Ah. I wasn't sure if you mean dangerous in another way.
Good question. Since this is the first time we've had a swamp cooler, not sure. Will we know when we cannot run it (that is, will it stop blowing cold air)?
Regarding the closing slides, not sure what those are. Are those the vents to the attic?

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In re open windows: another option if it's "dangerous" to open windows where you live is to open the fireplace damper if you have one.

More or less. If it's too humid the swamper will be ineffective. Also, according to your personal heat tolerance, you may find A/C preferable if it gets very hot as a swamper usually only lowers the temp 12-15 degrees.
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That's the way the druggie thieves and illegal aliens get in.

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[snip]

I've never found a coating that stops rust through. Usually they crack, let some water through and then rust at that point.

Practically a newcomer. Coolers are a luxury item :)
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SQLit wrote:

Can those master cool pads be cleaned?
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Sort of.. Really depends on how bad they are. If you can see calicum when they are wet ,,,, bad sign.
The box stores and Pauls Hardware as well as 6 points sell a "cooler cleaner" by the quart. Sumphic acid.. and that is spell wrong. I used to pour the whole bottle in the cooler before I cleaned it out. I know the directions say like half. Run the cooler for at least an hour. Drain and clean. I use the shop vac. If the particles on the pad come off; great. If not then you need to decide if your buying a new pad this year or next. My last 7" pad was just short of a $100 bucks. I tried the cheapy replacement one ONCE. Get the good stuff and take care of it.
If your pad is white/chalky when dry not dark paper color forget and buy a pad now. I went to help a friend once with the understanding that we were going to fix it right. I took one look at the pad and pulled the top and threw it away. He freeked. When the new pad was in he remarked "wow there is a lot of air coming out of that now. "
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SQLit wrote:

Great info SQLit. Thanks!
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They're pretty common in my end of AZ. If you're just getting around to turning it on, you live in the cooler (no pun intended) of AZ.

As others have said, that is the purge pump running.
Wes in Tucson
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LOL. We like it warm in our house.
Thanks.
wrote:

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if you have sliding windows and you want to leave them open a few inches, get some 1x2 or or similar wood and cut it to length and lay it in the window tracks so that the window cannot be opened more.
Mark
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Ahhhh. Time of year again to duel with the swampers. I got two. Next time up there, pull a pad. Look through any of the others and see how much sky you can see. This is just a big opening where dust can blow in during the winter and when the cooler is off during the summer. Plus, when you service it, you knock stuff loose. Two things you can do: First, cover your cooler in winter. Second, some have a slider piece of sheet metal you can insert to cut off the air duct plenum.
Steve
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Turn on the pump for a few minutes before turning on the blower. This will cut down some of the loose stuff. Tom
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wrote:

You are not the first I've heard problems like this, and previously interested in duct cleaning, I've learned this:
I was told that when you first clean out pads, you take out the old ones that were restricting air flow. As the old ones get older, the air flow decreases allowing for 'stuff' to become settled out. When you put in a new pad, now the air flow is full power, and will blow out the 'stuff' that has previously settled.
I've heard DIY ways to prepare for this, one I thought the funniest: If you have one duct into the house, tape on an old set of panty-hose. Start the system up, bang on the unit and the exposed duct work, and then remove the pantyhose when all the loose material has left the duct.
hth, imho,
tom @ www.NoCostAds.com
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