Is My Rusty Swamp Cooler a Problem?

Swamp Cooler Rust 1044x392

You may have noticed rust and corrosion on your standard metal swamp cooler. Swamp cooler rust is a common problem for New Mexico homeowners. It’s largely due to our state-wide hard water problem, but the swamp cooler industry has undergone some changes that make it worse.

Why are swamp coolers rusting through so quickly?

Hard water has always been a problem in New Mexico, so rust has always been a problem for swamp coolers. Lately, swamp coolers are rusting through much faster than in the past. Why is that?

We won’t get too in-depth here, but the short version is that the manufacturing quality of metal swamp coolers has declined ever since 2019. The pandemic didn’t help either. Simply put, the quality of the metal and the lining used in metal swamp coolers decreased. Instead of swamp coolers lasting 10-12 years before rust overcame them, they’re making it about 3-5 years. Exceptions always exist (like in homes with water softeners), but this is the general rule.

That’s no fun for homeowners. There are still great swamp cooler options available, so don’t panic! Seeley International has designed some fantastic swamp cooler options that use polymer cabinets that don’t rust.

Get a free estimate on a Seeley swamp coolerWhy is rust on my swamp cooler a problem?

This is a fair question. If your swamp cooler is running fine while it’s rusty, what difference does it make? It’s not like it’s the centerpiece in your kitchen.

The problem with rust on a swamp cooler is that it can cause serious leaks. Rust literally eats holes in the metal cabinet of your cooler. When that happens, water leaks out.

We’re going out on a limb here and guessing that your swamp cooler is either on your roof or perched next to an outside wall. That means a leaky swamp cooler can cause water damage to your home. One of our customers found that their leaking swamp cooler made their stucco wall spongy. Another found that an incredible amount of damage had been done to their roof.

That’s the long version. The short version is that even if it still provides cool air, a rusty swamp cooler does more harm to your home than good. So, what are your options?

Can I use coating to fix the holes in my rusty swamp cooler?

There is a spray-on coating available on the market today that claims to stop swamp cooler leaks. TLC’s professional HVAC technicians strongly urge against using it because it’s only a temporary fix (if it works at all). It might plug the hole for a while, but the rust will win out.

What is the best solution for a rusty swamp cooler?

Unfortunately, if the swamp cooler has holes caused by rust, your best option is to replace it. Because of the potential for major damage to your home, our HVAC technicians can’t even start a rusted-through swamp cooler. Thankfully, there are still good swamp cooler options available today. We’ve outlined some “good, better, and best” options below:

Best swamp cooler brand comparison chart

What about refrigerated air?

Converting from a swamp cooler to refrigerated air is always an option! There are a lot of benefits to refrigerated air, including:

  • Full temperature control
  • No risk of water leaks due to rust
  • The ability to close windows and doors
  • Increased comfort
  • Increased home value

The main downside to refrigerated air is the cost. Not only are installation costs higher but so is the monthly cost of running it. For many families, the comfort far outweighs the cost, and thankfully, many energy-efficient options are available today to help manage energy expenses. Refrigerated air might be just what your family needs.


Refrigerated Air Guide Download

No sweat. 

Whether you choose to replace your rusty swamp cooler with refrigerated air or another swamp cooler, TLC is here to help! Our expert technicians will walk you through the process to help you make the decision that works best for your family.

Schedule a free estimate today, or give us a call at 505-761-9644.