Preventing Calcium Build-ups in Your Swamp Cooler

Preparing your swamp cooler for use each year is critical to ensure top performance. A bit of maintenance in the spring will keep you running smoothly throughout the year, so start the year with a deep cleaning. Start out by removing the panels and scrubbing them with a scrubbing brush and vinegar solution. The mixture is typically 1-part white vinegar to 4-parts water. You can adjust up or down a bit, depending on your tolerance for vinegar.

Clear out the reservoir and remove all debris, build-up, and residue. Thoroughly dry the unit, then touch up any spots that may need to be painted with an appropriate paint for swamp cooler use. Replace the pads if required. Then fill the cooler and turn it on. Don’t fill from a water source that uses a water softener. The extra minerals will cause build-up much faster.

Regular Maintenance that is Needed

Depending on your climate, you may run your cooler continuously throughout the warmer months. If you find that you use it regularly for several months straight, it will need at least three major cleanings. Before using it in the spring, the next is in mid-season, last is in the fall once you are done using it for the year.

During the hot season, the water tank should be drained, scrubbed, and refilled at least once a month. The musty smell people associate with swamp coolers shouldn’t show up with proper cleanings.

Check the cooling pads at least once a month. If they are showing any signs of mildew or mold, they need to be replaced. Some units have specific pads they require, but most allow you to buy a roll of them and cut them out to fit. If you go this route, save the old pads to use as a template to cut out the new ones.

If your pads aren’t moldy, clean them instead of replacing them. Remove the pads, vacuum out any loose debris, and then spray them out with clean water. Get both sides and keep going until the water runs clear. The more often you clean them, the easier it will be to clean them next time.

Effects of Calcium Build-up

Hard water will eventually cause build-up and reduce the effectiveness of your cooler. The build-up can clog distribution lines, which in turn deliver less water to the cooling pads. When this water distribution becomes impacted, the overall cooling process fails. Hot air blows straight through the dry cooling pads and heats your space instead of cooling it. The best way to avoid this is through proper cleaning and maintenance.

If the hard water and calcium build up enough to fully block the water distribution lines, it is possible to replace both the distribution and spider lines for little cost. When using your swamp cooler, ensure that you properly clean it at least quarterly, but preferably every month.

Calcium can also build up directly on the pads. When you check the distribution lines, and they are clear, but the swamp cooler is acting more like a heater, check the pads. Calcium build-up is going to cause the pads to be unable to hold water, therefore blowing nice hot air into the space you are cooling. An easy way to determine if there is significant calcium build-up is if the pads are a lot heavier than when they were installed. If there isn’t much water draining out and they feel full, they need to be replaced.

Products that are Safe to Use in Your Swamp Cooler

Let’s take a look at some safe cleaning products to keep your swamp cooler running at top efficiency. Most swamp cooler cleaner products are of the type that you pour the recommended amount of cleaner directly into the cooler pan. It is important not to run it on normal when cleaning it out. Run your swamp cooler on the pump setting for approximately 20 minutes. Once done, check the pan for all the minerals and scale. Once done, clean out the pan, flush the water, then refill the swamp cooler. A product like De-Scale will do an excellent job for this process.

Inline water filters are also very helpful. They can keep your swamp cooler running clean all summer long with minimal effort. The filter connects to the water line and keeps minerals out of the cooler. The filter basically prevents build-up by removing any of the agents that cause build-up.

Other items that can help keep the cooler running well and calcium-free are a zinc anode rod, drop-in tablets, or a purge pump. A purge pump is going to keep the cooler working and clean. It schedules automatic cleaning every six to eight hours and keeps the water clean.

Tablets work as time-release cleansers. They work much the same as de-scaler, but you just drop them in, and they clean the system without any further work on your part. Combining them with a purge pump will keep your cooling pads working for far longer as well.

A zinc anode rod will prevent corrosion and keep your cooler from smelling musty. The rod works by attracting all of the corrosive minerals and having them corrode the rod instead of the tank. These rods also help keep bacteria, algae, mold, and other fungi from growing in the tank, which in turn helps keep the musty and fishy odors away.

Get Professional Maintenance for Your Swamp Cooler

The team at Premier Industries Inc. is here to help keep your cooler working in tip-top condition while making sure you don’t encounter any odors or inadequate cooling. Let our team help you find the best cleaning options and swamp cooler installation for your needs today.

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