Evaporative Cooler Maintenance

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A Breeze For Do-It-Yourselfers

Save money on energy and repair costs, and increase cooling efficiency with this easy Spring cleaning project!

Service Tips for Optimum Cooler Performance

Cooler maintenance is not a difficult task, and can be completed with a minimum of mechanical knowledge and a little assistance. Use this guide and ask for help at your local home improvement center or hardware store where evaporative coolers are sold.

1) Shut off power and water. Essick Air Products, manufacturers of Champion, Ultra Cool, and Tradewinds coolers, cautions that safety is important, so disconnect the power to the cooler and turn off the water supply before attempting any preventative maintenance.

2) Replace pads: Remove side panels and install new evaporative media pads at least twice during the season. Cooler pads become clogged with dust, pollen, mildew and minerals from evaporated water. Dirty media pads reduce cooling efficiency and overwork the motor. Clean debris out of the louvered side panels and water troughs. Call your cooler manufacturer for pad size, or write down the cooler make and model and visit your improvement center for assistance.

3) Clean water reservoir: Remove the cooler overflow/drain tube in the reservoir pan and rinse out standing water, dissolved salts, silt, old pad fibers, etc., with a solution of water and vinegar. If necessary, use a sturdy nylon brush or plastic scraper to loosen deposits. Do not scratch through the protective coating of a metal cooler. A wire brush or metal scraper should only be used on rust spots, and then reseal the pan with spray cooler coating. If you have an easy-care polypropylene cooler, there’s no need to patch and reseal, just rinse out debris.

4) Check water pump: Clean the pump screen of debris and make sure the water pump impeller turns freely. If the pump shaft is stuck, water will not be distributed to pad surfaces, so replace it. Call the cooler manufacturer or visit a retailer for an inexpensive replacement.

5) Check V-belt and oil bearings: Check to see that your V-belt is not cracked or frayed. If so, replace it. Allow about 1-1/2-inch play in belt tension to reduce strain on the motor and blower bearings. To set belt tension, loosen the bolts at the motor cradle, move the motor, then retighten the bolts. Oil the blower wheel bearings on both sides using a 20-weight non-detergent oil. Lift the oil caps and oil slowly until it fills the stem. Don’t overfill! Cooler oil is available in small zoom spout plastic containers to make this easy. Most motors are permanently lubricated but look for oil caps on both ends of the motor, just to be sure.

6) Rotate motor and blower wheel: Turn the blower wheel by hand a few revolutions to spread a thin coat of oil on dry bearing surfaces. If the motor or blower wheel doesn’t turn freely, you may have to replace the motor or call for service.

7) Open dampers: If you have manual slide-in dampers, they are usually located where the cooler is attached to the ductwork and/or at the furnace air handler, or both! Remove any slide-in dampers. If you cannot locate a damper, your cooler probably has a barometric damper that opens automatically. If no air enters the home when the cooler is turned on, call for service, or ask for assistance.

8) Fill cooler, adjust float: Turn on water supply and make sure the float shuts the water off about 1/2-inch below the top of the overflow/drain tube. If the float valve is not working, replace it by purchasing an inexpensive repair kit. If the overflow tube leaks around the gasket, tighten the nut or replace the tube gaskets. If water runs over the tube, adjust the float arm. Check to make sure the cooler is level and there are no leaks.

9) Turn on cooler: Replace side panels, turn cooler on and examine water distribution to make sure water fills the troughs and flows down all pads evenly. If water flow is restricted, remove the panel(s) and clear the blockage by snaking a flexible wire into the tube-end orifice.

10) Control corrosion: The best way to minimize corrosion is to install an inexpensive “bleed-off kit” that continually flushes minerals out of the cooler as it operates. Or add a mineralizing agent neutralizer, or replace the water manually two times a month by draining and refilling the reservoir.

Essick Air Products manufactures both the Tradewinds polypropylene line of UL Approved polypropylene evaporative coolers, as well as the Champion and Essick line of metal coolers that are marketed throughout the Western US. For additional information on evaporative cooler maintenance, refer to Essick Air’s Web site at www.essickair.com or call 1-800-643-8341.

About Essick Air Products

Essick Air Products/Champion Cooler Corporation was founded in 1943 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and today is one of the largest and leading evaporative cooler manufacturers in the country. The company has been owned by Walton Enterprises since 1978 and operates manufacturing facilities in Arkansas and Texas. Essick is the only company that manufactures both metal and polypropylene coolers due to varying customer needs and interest.

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