In the high and dry Colorado climate, many homeowners choose to use an evaporative cooler rather than install a new central air system.
An evaporative cooler, sometimes colloquially known as a “swamp cooler,” reduces your home’s temperature by drawing air through specialized pads. As the air passes through the damp pads, its temperature decreases. Then, the system distributes this air into your home.
While evaporative coolers can work well in our climate, you may find yourself struggling to cool your home as the temperatures climb. In this blog, we provide five tips to help you maximize your unit’s performance.
1. Choose the Right Time of Day
Your evaporative cooler relies on significant temperature differences between your cooling pads, water, and the outdoor air to create a cooling effect. Run your unit during the warmest time of day to get the best results.
Additionally, pay attention to the humidity. Your cooler will not work effectively if the humidity reaches higher than 50%. So on rainy days, use your ceiling fans instead.
2. Clean and Replace Cooling Pads As Needed
Your unit’s cooling pads must work correctly for the unit to produce any cool air. For this reason, it’s important to keep the pads clean and intact. You should replace your cooler pads at least once a year at the end of summer.
When you clean your unit, rinse off any debris that may be blocking airflow through the pads as well.
3. Keep Your Unit Clean
Because evaporative coolers use water to run, they can become dirty quickly. If you notice a change in your unit’s performance, it may be time to clean. Take the pads out and look at the unit’s frame. Scrub with a wire brush to clear away any scale or debris.
Clean your unit at least twice a year, once before you turn it on for the first time and once at the end of the season. Additionally, have your unit serviced by a professional at least once a year to reduce the risk of electrical issues.
4. Maintain the Correct Water Level
For ideal performance, your cooling pads must be damp, not wet or dry. Check your water level every few weeks during the summer. In most coolers, your tank should continuously hold around three inches of water.
To determine your unit’s optimum water level, consult your user manual, any markings inside the tank, or a heating and cooling technician.
5. Run the Unit Smarter Instead of Harder
Older evaporative coolers have two switches: one for the pump and one for the fan. If you have two switches, don’t turn on the fan until you’ve run the pump for a few minutes. This step gives your unit time to saturate the cooling pads.
To reduce the amount of time you need to spend checking on your unit, consider installing a thermostat. An evaporative cooler thermostat automatically detects when your home reaches the correct temperature and turns off the unit. This automatic switch prevents your cooler from blowing warm air as the conditions change inside or outside your home.
Use these tips to help your unit work more effectively and more efficiently throughout the summer months.
If none of these tips seem to increase the amount of cool air produced by your evaporative cooler, schedule a professional inspection. Your unit may have an electrical or pump system malfunction. Or, it may be time to upgrade to a unit better suited to your home’s needs, whether that means a higher capacity evaporative cooler or a central air system.
To consult with professionals who understand the capacity of evaporative coolers and how to improve them, work with Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning.
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