How To Clean Swamp Cooler Pads

Posted on: 24 August 2016

If you have a swamp cooler not cooling, clean the pads. A swamp cooler is commonly used in dry climates with low humidity. Over time, swamp cooler pads accumulate dirt and mineral deposits, which need cleaning so the cooler can circulate the air properly. Cleaning swamp cooler pads doesn't require advanced HVAC skills. Here are tips to clean swamp cooler pads.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need: 

  • work gloves
  • garden hose or pressure washer
  • plastic scraper (optional)
  • screwdriver
  • spray bottle
  • vinegar
  • hard water scale remover
  • bucket

Switch the cooler off, and disconnect the power cord. If it is hardwired, shut it off from the breaker.

Clean with Vinegar

Detach the frame that covers the pads. Some models may have a mesh screen instead of a frame. Remove the screws on the screen with a screwdriver. Set the frame or screen and hardware in a safe place.

If the pads have mild build up, attempt to clean them with vinegar in a spray bottle. Let the vinegar stand several minutes. Keep the pads wet.

If the build up is heavy, place the pads in a bucket of vinegar, and let them set until they stop bubbling. Take the pads out of the bucket, and scrape remaining dirt using the scraper or screwdriver. Rinse with a garden hose or pressure washer, and let them dry.

Apply a Hard Water Scaler for Swamp Coolers

If vinegar doesn't, work try a hard water scaler. Fill a bottle with a hard water scaler, and set the nozzle on mist. Spray the pads, and let the scaler stand for several minutes.

Don't let the pads dry. Use the garden hose to rinse the scaler. Repeat on the other side of the pad.

Clean the Water Pan

Turn the pump on, but leave the fan off. Pour vinegar in the pan, and allow it to circulate around an hour in the water. This will help remove deposits that may build up on the pads.

Turn the pump off. Remove the cooler's access panel, and connect the hose to the overflow pipe under the water pan. Detach the overflow pipe, and drain the water outside, avoiding concrete or vegetation. Acidic water may destroy vegetation or concrete surfaces.

Clean remaining dirt in the pan by hand. Disconnect the hose, and reinstall the overflow pipe. Reinstall the pads, turn the pump back on, and let it run several minutes to moisten the pads.

Restore power. You should now be enjoying cooler air with clean pads. Pads that are excessively dirty  and can't be cleaned will need replacing. If your unit still fails to cool, or you don't trust your skill to replace pads, contact a company like Kassel Appliance & AC Repair.


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