Bow Down to Me For I Have Fixed My Swamp Cooler

Actually, there was nothing wrong with the thing. But it’s getting awfully hot down here and, luckily, the swamp cooler is on the ground, making getting it up and running very easy. The worst part was that I spent 2 hours running around town looking for new 22"x25" pads to fit the cooler and wound up having to buy larger ones and cutting them down. But it’s up and running and it’s already feeling cooler in here. I’m just glad none of the pipe broke over the winter or I could have had a much harder time of it.

Yup… you’re supposed to drain that hummer in the winter if it gets below freezing there. Our house in Pueblo CO had two of them - one was on the roof of the house, which was a gingerbread Victorian with steep roof lines. Swamp cooler maintenance was not my favorite job.

Do they still sell the pads made of aspen chips, or can you only get the synthetic sponge thingies these days?

I’ve heard the term, but can someDoper asplain what these are?

A swamp cooler is also known as an evaporative cooler. They only work in low humidity, which is why you don’t see them in many places.

Picture a three foot metal cube. The sides are full of openings, and the insides of the sides are lined with porous pads. The inside top has an octopus-like plastic tube contraption that saturates water onto the pads from the top. There is a big blower mounted on the inside. Out of the bottom (or the fourth side, depending on type) goes the air, which has been sucked through the damp pads, causing evaporation. The evaporative effect cools the air.

They work great in low humidity, and you run them with your windows open for best effect.

I wish I had swamp, but I only have AC. Swamp coolers work marvelously, except during monsoon season. The best thing would be one 'a them hybrids- runs AC when it’s too humid for swamp.

When I did have swamp, though, we didn’t keep all the windows open, just one cracked a bit. If you don’t, you get the spooky whistling effect and a lot of pressure in the house.

Aspen (excelsior) pads are still the most common type used, but hubby and I made the switch to the blue ones about 4 years ago. They don’t mildew, and are usually good for two seasons. We buy the roll type and cut to fit. Awesome.

I also wanted to say that the newer type pads don’t have stuff coming off of them that can clog the spider or the pump, causing burnout. It sucks to get up on the roof in August to change the pump or clean out the spider.

:smack: The spider. That’s what I meant by the octopus-like contraption. In my defense, it’s been 9 years since I lived out there. :slight_smile:

It sure does, but it inevitably happens every single year, no matter what. If it’s not either of those problems, then the float gets cracked and waterlogged, so you have to replace it. Or, if you’re as unlucky as I seem to be, you get a clog in June, lose the pump in July, need to replace the float and valve (which were fine in July) in August, and finally, spectacularly, have to find a new motor at the beginning of September, when all the stores have stopped stocking swamp cooler parts.

Ah, summer. I suppose if asterion is already sitting smug in his nice, cool house in Las Cruces, it’s just about time for me to get up on the roof here in Albuquerque.

Well, I thought I had it fixed, but the float must’ve broke over the winter and it floated out on me when the water level got high enough. So I need to get a new float, a new cover thingy, and figure out how to get the new one installed when everything is encrusted and I can’t pull out the pin that I guess held the float in place. Otherwise, I’m stuck with having to go outside and turn the water on and off every time I want to use the swamp cooler and I’d rather not. Not to mention that I’m cheap and plan on only turning on the cooler on the weekends when I’m actually home for most of the day.

Anyone got an Essickair cooler and replaced the float?

One of my chores was maintaining the swamp cooler. This was back in the mid-'70s to mid-'80s when the excelsior pads were really excelsior (straw), not synthetic. Little bits would come off and get into the spider, so I had to pull the eight tips off and clean them out. Salt (or some mineral that was in the water) would cake up after a while, so I had to pull the pads and clean them once in a while. We lost a couple of pumps, so dad made a cover out of a sheet of aluminum to keep the water from falling on it. Worked like a charm. My winter job was to drain the cooler, then disconnect the water feed line in the garage and drain it too.

Our house only had one outlet, in the front of the hallway. (Some houses had ducts to each room.) There were two doors to the bathroom; one in the hall and one in dad’s room. Dad would leave the bathroom window open a few inches. He’d ‘point’ his bedroom door toward his bed and leave his bathroom door open a crack. Air would circulate over his bed, into the bathroom and out the bathroom window. I left my bedroom door open and opened my window for the same effect. We didn’t use the other bedroom, so it just got hot.

I still remember the sweet smell of the wet excelsior, and reading 100% humidity on dad’s all-in-one weather station.

You know, I read the OP’s title, and now I’m picturing a crossover between Swamp Thing and this

Ahh, the memories. Back when I was young and broke, me and a buddy would prowl the alleys, looking for discarded swamp coolers. We’d gather them up, get a good pump from one with a burned out motor, a good squirrel cage from one with a rotted frame, etc. Finally we’d have enough parts to assemble a working unit, hit it with a can of spray paint and sell it for enough money to go to the lake and get good and drunk.

My first introduction to these things was when I moved into a rental house here in Denver. It was mounted to a window in one of the bedrooms and ‘disused’ is really the only word I can find to describe it. Never having even heard of these before, and having only a rudimentary understanding of the physics involved I set about tinkering with it to get it to work. The main problem? Yup. Clogged spider. Managed to get that cleaned out, patched a hole in the bottom, replaced the pads and presto! The girls’ bedroom was too chilly for habitation in no time at all. It was damn loud too. Finally the motor burned out a week later.

So as I was standing in the landlord’s manor awaiting audience I noiced the nice cool freshness and silence and made some remark about central AC. He said, “Naw, I got a swamper, too. I keep it in the basement.”

Folks, Lemme tell you. Get the damned thing OFF your rooftops! I installed the replacement in the basement window and opened the bedroom windows upstairs. All the hot air in the house ran out the windows creating a draw and helped the blower to deliver the cool air upstairs. 1,500 sq ft house went from sweltering to cool in just over 10 minutes. And it was quiet.

Duke of Rat, either I’m an idiot, much harder to get drunk than you are, the lake was quite a ways away, or you deserved a lot more than you got. The difference between 95 and 75 (the best I’ve seen a swamp cooler do) is worth a whole lot more than a tank of gas and a case of beer. Cheers to you and asterion, in any event. The people who can make, fix, or repair things are much less numerous than those who can sell, market, or advertise things. I’d much rather have you as a neighbor. And I’ve got tequila.

Nah, a morning scouting for donors, and afternoon finding out what was salvagable, put one together and paint it. Advertise it on the free local radio ads. We’d get $75~100 for them, we got $125 for a really nice one. This was 25 years or so ago, you could have a pretty good time back then on that $$. We laughed about it, called ourselves Sheer Profit Enterprises (not to our customers, just between ourselves). A lot less work than collecting beer cans :slight_smile:

Here is a link for our friends who live in the muggy parts of the world on how a swamp cooler works.

Oh, and Kilvert’s Pagan, I just thought you were asplaining so’s folks could understand. If you had said “spider” they would have just been :confused: :confused: :confused:

:smiley: