Preparing Your Swamp Cooler for Cold Weather

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated October 27, 2021)

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More popular in regions where the air is hot and the humidity low, an evaporative cooler—also called a swamp cooler—is a machine that cools the air by means of evaporating water. Unlike an air conditioner that uses refrigeration to cool or condition the air, a swamp cooler creates a humid air situation, and the evaporation of the air cools the air, much as what happens to our bodies when we perspire to cool our skin.

Just as with an air conditioner, however, a swamp cooler must be prepared for, and possibly stored away during, protracted cold weather. To prevent rust, mineral buildup, and encourage cooling panel health, follow these steps for preparing your swamp cooler for cold weather:

  1. Disconnect the cooler from the power source turn the power switch to the off position.
  2. Locate and turn off the water source, disconnect the water line, and allow it to completely drain.
  3. Remove the cooler pads and inspect them for damage. If the cooler pads are gray, have a lot of buildup, smells bad, or have missing pad, then you need to replace them. You can buy swamp cooler pads at your local home improvement store. If your pads are in good shape, then you can use them for another season, although you may need to scrape away excess rust and buildup at the top of the pad where water enters the cooler.
  4. Remove the drain plug at the bottom of the cooler and allow the water to completely drain away.
  5. Remove, clean, and store away the filter, pump, drain plug, and overflow plug.
  6. Inspect the motor mounts, frame bolts, and fan belt for wear, while tightening or replacing them as necessary. Clean and paint exterior rust spots.
  7. Use a tarp or heavy plastic to wrap your cooler, and secure with bungee cords or a rope.

It is important to cover your swamp cooler when it is not in use. Not only will the cover assist in protecting the machine, it can also slow down the loss of heat from your home and reduce outside noise that could channel back into your home through ductwork. If your swamp cooler is located on your roof, be sure that you follow ladder safety measures when preparing your cooler for winter.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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What is eight more than 7?

2017-11-26 15:54:18

Leonard

After owning and servicing evap coolers for more than 50 years it occurs to me that covering during winter may be counter-productive.I have taken care of (summer set-up and winterize) a new cooler for three years now and have not covered it and see no rust or additional calcification in the spring. I have come to expect rusting and paint peeling in those that I have covered.
Since the most intense weather it will receive is in the summer it doesn't really serve much protection but will contain moisture so rust can continue uninterrupted. The insulating aspect is minimal if a damper is used to shut vent entry.
I have been coating the entire cooler with a water displacement layer (WD40 or the like) and will continue this practice.
Please respond with your thoughts.

Thanks,
Leonard