After cleaning up the swamp cooler, lubricating, changing pads, removing
last year's calcium, etc. for a new season how do you clean the dust and
dirt out of the blower that shows up when the cooler is started up the
first several times? I use an old A/C filter I hold against the inside-the-
house grill to collect most of the dirt. The front grill doesn't come off,
that I can figure out, to allow vacuuming it inside. I'm not sure where the
dirt comes from - the new pads or it collects during the winter.
How do you handle this annoyance?
Also softening hard well water. I usually use one of those white blocks in
the water pan. This year I may try an in-line water filter/softener. Ever
try one of these?
I probably used the wrong word. "Water Supply Line Scale Eliminator" "For
I suspect I'll stick to the white block. They last all summer - this
'filter' says to change every three months. Too expensive!
I tried the blower before I put the sides (and pads) on the cooler this
year. Same dust and dirt. So it accumulates during the winter. My vacuum
not strong enough to suck up the dirt through the blower blades with the
cooler sides off.
In my early days of using a swamp cooler (40s-50s) we had no
recirculator. So we just ran a hose down to water the yard. There was
little scale left on the louvers each season and those coolers lasted
When recirculators came into use the coolers would rot out much
faster. But even so they were still relatively cheap to repair or
My last experience with a cooler was with what we called a piggy-back.
It was a cooler built on top of an AC unit so that when the humidity
was low you could get the same house temperature with 20% of the
electric bill. But you didn't have to suffer when the humidity was
high. (With today's better efficiency AC units and insulated houses
the electric savings may not be as great.)
The dust smell when turning on the cooler for the first time each
season in my house was from the dust that had settled in the ducts
over the winter. Though the gas furnace use the same duct system, the
blower was much slower. So when the big cooler fired up it blew out
the ducts. You could actually see the stuff come out of the registers.
It only lasted for a few minutes though. Those were great days.. ;)
I have worked on a number of swamp coolers but they're not common here
in high humidity Alabamastan unless they're installed in a business or
restaurant kitchen. As with all units which have a squirrel cage blower,
the only way to really get it clean is to remove the blower, most will
slide out, and get after it with a brush and water hose. I've had to
pull a lot of them out of HVAC air handlers and clean the blades because
the dirt build up will make the blower much less efficient at moving
air. It is a pain in the buttocks to clean them. ^_^
NYS has few swampers. The one I've seen was the one I
helped take apart, and haul away. The squirrel cage
blowers can be lot of work to clean. One I did in
middle of winter, trying to wash it all out with a
garden hose, standing in snow. No fun. Summer time,
I'd probably have used a pressure washer.
I guess yearly maintenance is a good idea. I had one in a desert apartment.
I did some maintenance on it one time, otherwise it served me well for 5
years. I'm not even sure I turned off the water in the winter. I didn't see
any maintenance being done in the army barracks I was at.
I live in the desert too. I've several times seen 115 here, rarely even
higher. 110+ is normal in summer. We have a monsoon season that begins in
mid-summer and lasts until fall. High humidity and thunder storms, rarely
(thank God!) hurricanes or tropical storms. Yet I continue to use my
cooler all summer. The humidity doesn't bother me as much as the expense
of A/Cing. My A/C rarely gets used. Lucky I've not married or I'd no
longer be and would be paying alimony instead of A/C electric and repair
I've replaced many cooler motors - at around $60 if I remember, vastly
less than a month's A/C electricity. At 79, hiring someone's labor to
replace it costs more than the motor. I keep a spare on hand, just like a
spare water pump, blower belt, and entry water valve and float.
You pretty much have to replace the pads every year, some do so more
often. And while one is at it, might as well lube the blower and scrape
out the crud.
To each his own.
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