RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL

Swamp Cooler Maintenance & Start Up

Professional Swamp Cooler Maintenance Expert

Swamp coolers are relatively simple to operate and have fewer electronic components compared to air conditioners. However, they still require maintenance and need to be prepped for summer and shutdown in winter to prevent frozen pipes and potential water damage from water left in the cooler lines. Choose TLC for your seasonal cooler inspection and maintenance to make sure your cooler runs properly and cools your home. It’s important to make sure you start-up your cooler correctly, and shut it down correctly in fall to prevent problems with your heating & cooling systems. Many problems we see are due to the lack of proper maintenance. Avoid the hassle and call TLC to shutdown your cooler.  You get to stay warm and comfortable while we do all the work.

Swamp Cooler Start-Up

TLC has been maintaining swamp coolers in Albuquerque & Rio Rancho for over 30 years so you can feel confident in choosing TLC to professionally start up and inspect your cooler for summer. Our experts are experienced in starting up all types of coolers and shutting down your furnace.

TLC Spring Cooler Inspection
& Startup in Albuquerque

Here is our 20 point swamp cooler startup inspection checklist. Remember, proper maintenance for your cooler will help you maximize the cooling capacity and extend the life of the evaporative cooler. TLC’s inspection and start-up will get your swamp cooler ready to keep you comfortable this summer.

We recommend you schedule your cooler startup early as temperatures start to warm up. You can schedule as far out as you would like but don’t wait to call us until the temperatures are hot! It’s better to plan ahead and get it scheduled now so by the time comes when you need your cooler you can use it rather than suffer in a hot home.

Schedule Maintenance
20 Point Swamp Cooler Startup Checklist
Clean and vacuum out cooler
Clean pump and distribution tube
Including removing scale buildup
Water distribution tubes cleaned and working properly
Water trays on each panel cleaned and transferring water evenly
Overflow drain inspected for leaks
Float replaced and adjusted properly
Oil motor and pulley bearings
All pulleys tightened and aligned
Belt inspected and adjusted, replace if necessary
Motor inspected
Pump inspected
Hook up water and adjust float
Check to ensure controls are working properly at all speeds
Check for leaks at all connection points
Remove cooler damper
Shut down furnace or heating system completely
Turn off gas supply to furnace
Install damper on furnace
Inspect airflow in the home, ensure proper airflow from all vents

Things you should consider before doing your own startup

Some homeowners choose to get their coolers ready on their own because there are not that many mechanical components. However, there are some reasons you may want to consider a professional like TLC to get your cooler ready for summer to get the best cooling capacity for your cooler.

Remove hard water build-up

Before starting up your cooler each spring you need to thoroughly remove scale and buildup in the cooler. This includes the water distribution tubes that wet the pads.  If these tubes aren’t inspected and cleared of mineral build-up your pads won’t get wet and you’ll just be blowing warm air through your home. It is recommended that standard swamp cooler pads be replaced each season due to hard water buildup. Mastercool/Aerocool pads should be replaced approximately every 4 years depending on how much hard water buildup they have. Our techs will clean the swamp cooler pads when the start up. If they are older than 4 years or have heavy hard water buildup they will recommend replacing the pads to increase cooling capacity.

Example: This homeowner did not clear out the distribution tube in his mastercool unit and the pads were not getting wet. Our TLC HVAC tech took a reading from the vent before we removed the build-up and afterward. The temperature before was 78° and after clearing the hard water blockage and saturating the pads the temperature coming out of the vents dropped to 68°.

Safety

If your swamp cooler is on your roof this may be difficult for you to access. We always recommend calling TLC if you don’t feel comfortable getting up and down a ladder on your roof. Its always better to call a professional like us instead of risking your safety if you don’t feel comfortable on your roof. You may also need to make multiple trips up and down if you have to replace parts or have to troubleshoot the cooler.

Replacing Parts

When starting up your cooler you need to inspect your motor, fan belt, float, pump, and distribution tubes. If any of these are broken you’ll likely need to make a trip to the hardware store. Sometimes multiple trips if you’re not sure what exactly is causing the problem. Usually, when you have to replace parts this can turn your simple startup into an all-day project. When you choose TLC our experts have all the replacement parts for all brands of coolers on their trucks. They can quickly replace any parts that may be needed to get your cooler running. Possibly saving you a lot of time and hassles.

Your Time Is Valuable

Consider that it may take you several hours to get your cooler or coolers if you have multiple units started. If you run into problems or need to replace parts that could mean multiple trips to the home improvement store.

Call TLC Plumbing to schedule your swamp cooler inspection and tune up at (505) 761-9644

TLC Swamp Cooler Winterization Services

Winterizing your swamp cooler properly is essential to your home each year. If water lines aren’t drained properly they can freeze and break in winter, which may cause property damage to your home. Plus if your cooler isn’t sealed in the winter you can expose parts to weather elements that may cause them to rust or break, causing you unnecessary replacement costs the following spring. Turn to TLC’s professionals to properly shut down your swamp cooler and perform a complete furnace inspection.

Schedule Service
Questions? Ask Our Pros
Swamp Cooler Winterization Service
Disconnect water line and purge water lines
Drain water from the cooler
Install cooler damper
Install cooler/turbine covers if applicable
Complete Furnace Inspection

Things you should consider before shutting down your cooler on your own

Some homeowners choose to shutdown their coolers on their own because there are not that many mechanical components.  However, there are some reasons you may want to consider a professional like TLC to winterize your cooler to protect your home and your cooler during the colder months.

Need to drain the water completely

You need to turn off the water to your swamp cooler, drain the tube, and drain the water in your cooler. If you don’t drain the water in the line, it can freeze and cause the pipe to break. This causes a risk of water damage.

Need to install damper

Make sure you slide the damper into place to create a barrier between the inside of your home and the outside air. If this part is not put in place, you will experience heat loss and higher gas bills.

Remove the fan belt

You can take the belt off to release the tension, which will help prolong the life of the belt. While these aren’t expensive to replace they are hassle if they go out in the middle of summer, especially if the swamp cooler is located on your roof.

Cover your cooler

While not necessary, you can choose to cover your swamp cooler. You can find a cover at any of your local home improvement stores. Be sure to tie down your cover with straps so that it will stay on (especially when the wind comes in the spring).

Call TLC Plumbing to start up your swamp cooler (505) 761-9644

Swamp Cooler FAQs

Common swamp cooler questions answered by our HVAC Pros

HOW MANY WINDOWS SHOULD BE OPEN WITH A SWAMP COOLER?

The amount of windows you need open for your cooler depends on the size and layout of your home. You should have some windows open in your home to get adequate airflow through your home. The cooler works by pushing cooler air into the home and needs to push the hot air out through those windows.

We recommend opening windows in the areas of your home you would like to cool. Typically we find that people don’t have enough windows. You know you don’t have enough windows open if you have a lot of static pressure. When you open a window or door in your home does it feel like it sticks? Or if you turn on your cooler and doors slam in your home then you don’t have enough windows open in your home. View our video below to learn how to balance the number of windows to maximize your cooling effectiveness.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE TO REPLACE SWAMP COOLER PADS?

You should replace your pads every year if you have a standard swamp cooler. There are a few different types of pads for standard coolers. You can learn more about the best swamp cooler pads in our blog.

If you have a mastercool or aerocool evaporative cooler you should replace those pads every 3-5 years depending on how hard your water is.

HOW WELL SHOULD A SWAMP COOLER COOL YOUR HOME?

A standard swamp cooler will typically cool your home 10° – 15° lower than the outside temperature. This can vary based on how humid it is outside. If the humidity rises then the cooling effectiveness goes down. Here is the average humidity for Albuquerque by month. These are just averages.

Mastercool and Breezair coolers can cool better than standard coolers. They usually get cooler temperatures.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO REPLACE PARTS IN A SWAMP COOLER?

Our experts recommend replacing the pads, float and pump each year for standard evaporative coolers. Pads for standard coolers should be replaced before the beginning of each season to provide the best cooling ability.  The float and pump should be replaced if corroded or rusted from the metal and water exposure. Your fan belt should also be checked for cracks. 

How to get the most cooling out of your swamp cooler:

When it comes to your swamp cooler you want to make sure you’re staying cool and comfortable all summer long. There are some easy things you can do to improve airflow and performance from your swamp cooler. Here are some tips to help improve your swamp cooler’s performance.

Make sure you have enough windows or doors open to get enough relief air through your home – Your swamp cooler’s cooling effectiveness relies on humidity levels outside. If these levels rise too high your cooler will have a harder time lowering the indoor temperature in your home. Times like these are when many homeowners feel their swamp cooler may be broken. Here are some ways for you to check if you have enough airflow circulating.

  • You need to have some windows open while running your cooler to push air through the home.
  • We find that most homeowners don’t have adequate relief air circulating in their homes.
  • Make sure you have windows open in the hottest parts of your house to bring cooler air into these areas.

The video below describes how to check the airflow in your home and make adjustments to maximize efficiency.

Check to make sure your pads are getting wet – If you feel like your swamp cooler is not cooling effectively or feel hot air blowing from the vents, you should check your cooler to make sure your pads are getting wet. Swamp coolers that are on the ground are easy to check the pads. Hard water buildup can make it difficult for your pads to get wet. If you see that your pads aren’t getting wet or you don’t see water flowing freely from the distribution tube its time to call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable clearing the lines. Sometimes the water lines can’t be cleared and have to be replaced. It may also be necessary to replace your cooler pads. if your cooler is on your roof and you don’t feel comfortable getting up there to check your pads please call TLC or another professional to evaluate the problem.

Get a swamp cooler thermostat  – Do you want to get better control of your home’s temperature this summer? Consider updating your swamp cooler to a digital thermostat. A swamp cooler digital thermostat can give you better control of your cooling in your home. Plus they help conserve energy by only running your cooler when your home reaches a certain temperature. TLC can install one of these thermostats for you.

If you need your swamp cooler inspected call us today at (505) 761-9644!

Regular Maintenance to Avoid Swamp Cooler Repairs

By maintaining your swamp cooler at the beginning and end of each season can also help you avoid unnecessary repairs and problems. TLC’s professionals are experienced in getting your swamp cooler ready for summer and shutting it down in winter and inspecting your furnace or heating system. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing on the roof TLC is always available for you. Turn to TLC for any of your swamp cooler services from repairs to upgrades TLC has all your cooling solutions.

Swamp Cooler Maintenance by TLC

When it’s time to get your swamp cooler serviced, TLC Plumbing is the company you can count on when it’s time to winterize your cooler.

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