loading

Step 7: Turn on the pumps for a test

Now call down and have somone turn on the pumps only and you can verify that you are getting the water comming out of the pump and that the spider is filling the troughs and there are no leaks. Also check that the pads are aligned correctly and you are getting good distribution of the water. Let the pads soak for about 5 minutes and then let it rip.
<p>I live in Utah and I am looking at installing a cooler in my garage shop. I am looking at the traditional types like the one pictured in the mod instructions and also the MasterCool units which seem to be more expensive and designed different. Does anyone know if the MasterCool units are any good and if they can still be moded like the one in the instructions? I have not been able to find good information on the differences.</p>
<p>There are two types of coolers sold.</p><p>1. Centrifugal fan.</p><p>2. Axial fan.</p><p>Centrifugal systems: Champion, Phoenix Mfg, Master Cool.</p><p>Axial fan systems: Bon Air, Master Cool. </p><p>Let's talk about the Axial fan system's first. The Bon Air ( Durango ) is manufactured in Australia from domestic and imported parts. The Bon Air uses a Axial fan motor, a single circulation pump, a 3 piece rigid media pad (celdek). and a analog controller. I have installed more than 40 of these units in the past four years and only one unit had a detective pump. The master cool unit, although similar in construction, is manufactured almost entirely in China and is assembled in the united States. This cooler has proved less than satisfactory, I have replaced over a dozen of the units digital control modules over the past two years at a cost to my customers of approximately $100.00 per each cooler, it seems that the control modules fail about six months after the coolers warranty expires.</p><p>The Champion unit uses Aspen pad's. Some models of the Phoenix use Aspen pad's and some models use rigid media. The master cool units ( aero, trophy, ll, etc.) uses rigid media. Replacement rigid media pads range in price from $75-125, depending on the particular cooler.</p>
<p>vatosupreme is correct about the MasterCool units. They are way more expensive. I got ripped off on a used one. </p><p> They used to be made by AdobeAir and are discontinued. I needed parts for mine and the parts were either not available or more expensive than just replacing the unit with a traditional type. I needed new pads too. The total would have been more than $350.00. </p><p> The traditional type are very easy to service and some maintenance folk don't know how to work on them. I can't remember exactly but the pads for mine were in the $150 to $200 range. </p><p> The difference in cooling wasn't worth the cost for me personally. </p>
<p>I have had both, (here in Utah) The Master cool works a little bit better, but they are expensive and you have to replace the cardboard insert things every couple years and they are also expensive. I modded the master cool to spray more water also, but I did it a little differently, but same basic idea.</p>
We installed a swamp cooler about a year ago and it was working fine up until recently. There is no actual leakage but it seems as though the fan is pulling the water out of the air in the cooler and throwing it down to the register and onto the wall of the house. We changed the pads, to no avail. Everything else is working ok with the swamp cooler. We can't figure out why it's doing this. Has anyone heard of this happening?
<p>Here is a list of possible issues with your cooler: </p><p>1. The pads are worn out and need to be replaced.</p><p>2. The pump is putting too much water into the troughs.</p><p>3. The blower fan is running faster than it was designed to.</p><p>4. The float could be defective or improperly adjusted and too much water is in the cooler pan.</p><p>In order to determine what change has happened since the unit was new and operating normally, you need to be a detective.</p><p>1. If the pads are worn out or were installed incorrectly, the flow of water could be drawn directly into the coolers blower rather than being drawn out of the pads first.</p><p>2. If the pump was recently replaced, a larger pump may have been installed than the pump that was replaced. If your cooler was originally equipped with a 5000 series pump, then another 5000 series pump should be used. If a larger size pump is used in a cooler then what it designed for, there will be too much water put into the water troughs and water droplets can be drawn into the house. A restrictor can be installed on the pump water supply hose to reduce the amount of water that is delivered to the water troughs.</p><p>3. If the blower pulley has been changed or the motor pulley has been changed or misadjusted, the blower may be turning faster than it was designed to. An increase in air pressure can draw water droplets from the pads and or liquid water directly from the coolers pan. Also if any baffles have been removed from inside of the cooler, splash water can be drawn into the blower.</p><p>4. If the float has malfunctioned, too much water may be in the cooler pan and water may be leaking from the pan directly into the coolers ducting under vacuum pressure.</p>
<p>Simple solution: I have always double padded my swamp coolers - aspen pad on the bottom, blue on the inside, installed both a more powerful pump and motor than came with the cooler (as these parts wore out), kept the pan clean by draining the water and refilling it several times during the summer months and been very happy with the results - the coolers have always worked very well here in the CA high desert. The newer Mastercool is a bigger problem - there's way too much humidity in the air and another problem to figure out.</p>
<p>Mostly true. Most evaporative coolers in dry/arid climes can get expect a 25&deg; F cooling given sufficient water supply to the pads, relative humidity, condition of the pads and scale build up. It was 98&deg; here yesterday with a relative humidity of 17% and the temp indoors was 73&deg; F. A common problem with spiders is that they become clogged or air enters the system if the connections aren't tight. The pic at the top of this post shows a typical spider/octopus. To the poster's point, it is go idea to slightly oversize the pump somewhat to ensure sufficient water flow gets to the pads. Newer evaporative coolers (and more expensive can achieve ~ 29&deg; F differential under optimal conditions. They draw the air through a larger water bed thus increasing the evaporative rate. </p>
<p>i was looking for an easier way to keep water on the pads during the hottest part of the days . I normally go out by noon or 1 pm and add extra water from the cool hose . I thought the cooler water could equal cooler air . . ive been told that is not so . Now i will learn how to incease the volume of water to pads to prevent the 'drying' out of the pads during our triple digit days. thanks for your article .</p>
<p>I hope you have success, let me know how it works.</p>
<p>&quot;Swamp coolers work ok until it reaches 94 degrees&quot;----simply not true: its 106 today here in Acton, Ca, and my cooler is putting out 70 degree air-always has and always will if maintained properly. Also, it's a myth that they don't work in humidity: they do, as long as you don't live on the equator.</p>
<p> At somewhere between 94 and 97 degrees, most coolers can't keep the pads wet enough to provide cooling. As a result, they stop working well. It is a problem for thousands and thousands of swamp coolers. It is a well documented fact supported here by the many successful <br>implementations of this idea, as well as other ideas aimed at keeping <br>the pads wet at high temperatures.</p><p>Some coolers and owners are able to do a better job of keeping the pads wet, but most lose effectiveness over time. The loss of performance may simply be due to incorrect pads, scaling of pads, undersized pump, or lack of maintenance. However, many of these units also suffer from design flaws and manufacturing defects such as: poorly placed or aligned output tubes, undersized pumps, water distribution channels that don't allow for good water flow, etc. It is for these problems that I wrote this instructable.</p><p>In addition, it is a verifiable fact that the effectiveness of a swamp cooler decreases as the relative humidity increases, not a myth. It is just one of those pesky laws of physics that we haven't been able to overturn yet. </p><p>At a 106 degree outside to get 70 degree air, you will need to be less then 5% humidity. On the day of your post, you had a low of 7% humidity in Acton, so it seems probable that you would be blowing approximately 72-74 degree air with an outside temp of 106. If, for example, you were at 35% humidity on that day, you would only be blowing 88 degree air.</p><p>This is why you don't see swamp coolers in the southeast US very often. It becomes more economic to just use a normal air conditioner when the humidity is up over 25% during the heat of the day.</p><p>Hopefully this explanation will be helpful to people. You can google how swamp coolers work for some good articles on the subject.</p><br>
<p>Would it not be better to simply install a pump that will move more water?</p>
<p>Also, On this one, I put the biggest one they had at home depot. It was the 110,000 one and It couldn't really keep up. If you could get a bigger one, you probably will still want to increase the number of distribution tubes.</p>
<p>You can do that. The other part of the trick is to get better distribution of the water at the top of the pads with more output hoses. Two pumps allows you to add the thermostat on #2, that is addressed in the comments early on.</p>
<p>My swamp cooler is spraying water into the house. WHY??</p>
<p>Another possibility is if the water tubes on the top are not dripping into the rail on the top of the cooler pad. If they miss they can point inwards and the water can get sucked into the house. This happened on my friends pretty bad and all it was, was one of the tubes spraying water away from the pads.</p>
<p>The water level in your swamp cooler is too high. Adjust the float to lower the water level.</p>
<p>Excellent write up! I wish I would have thought about this as it seems my old (I just moved) swamp cooler was the damn same as yours. I was always grabbing the hose and spraying that pads to get a boost of cool. </p>
<p>Please pass on this information. My mailman recommended I add a floating (it does) IVORY soap bar to my swamp cooler. I did, then I disconnected the second drain pump (worked every 8 or 12 hrs), and let the system run on its own. NO drain at all from then on.<br><br>The Aspen pads were clean of crust at the end of the season; the usual heavy calcium scale on the pads and the pan was absent (only the accumulated dust on the bottom); and cleaning the unit for winter was a charm. The soap, however, was an ugly looking thing, swollen out of proportion, with black, gray, and rust colored spots, and would disintegrate after letting it dry outside the pan. All the damaging chemicals or minerals in water are acid, the soap is alkaline. They attract each other neatly, and the water, pads, and unit remain clean from all those chemicals and minerals.<br><br>Now, these pads were already 3 years old (!) before the Ivory soap, and I maintained these before without scale by adding a gallon of white vinegar to the tank at the start of the season, and a half a gallon again every two months. The drain pump would empty all the calcium filthy water every 8 or 12 hours, and start all over again. But with the addition of the Ivory soap (alkaline, and there are several other brands) I stopped adding vinegar to the tank. Besides, these pads were ready to be discarded after the first 3 months of use, but the vinegar cleaned them out and the entire unit off the calcium deposits after a 4 hour run, then continued using the same pads for the following 3 years. Until Ivory soap.<br><br>I had to discard the pads after another year because they developed a black fungus-like deposit on the outside, sunny side of the pads. Rotten wood? Fungus? Just replaced them; they paid for themselves many many times over. And YES, both the vinegar or the Ivory soap will keep the air smelling CLEAN. Both kill the fungi that grows in the internal 'swamp' that releases the sewer pipe smell gas into the house. </p>
<p>Aspen pads are way way WAY better than anything else</p>
Pure GENIUS my friend. After I swapped the expensive blue pads with Aspens, installed the new water dispensers, and replaced the puny bare minimum water pump with a max capacity one the cooler's been running like a champ. Thanks for all the great advice.
<p>can something b added to swamp cooler water to make it over corroded with salt ,I think my manger may have added something to the water an now its not working properly,plus its full of salt inside out everywhere</p>
<p>That &quot;salt&quot; is probably Hard water build up. Salt will actually cut down on this left over residue. Suggestions on how to fix this, is to buy a more expensive pump that filters the water before it hits the pads. Look at pumps over $40, and read the description about them. It will usually say if it filters the water or not.<br><br>...Or do what Chad said (Below).</p>
<p>Another great addition to your swamp cooler basin is a Zinc anode ( about $8.50 at home depot ). If you arent familiar, it is a zinc pole about 8 inches long that rests in a plastic bed with a grounding wire. This zinc anode keeps your water nice and clear by attracting all of the hard water deposits and storing them in the plastic container. The zinc anodes last for 1-2 seasons and are self sacrificing... once they are gone simply replace. Not only will it filter the hard water but it will keep your tank from smelling like a mossy swamp.</p>
<p>Just made a couple gallon jugs of ice and am going to put inside the box and see what happens.</p>
<p>How did it work?</p>
<p>I would assume well with temporary results. Evaporation works best when the water is room temp or hotter. Chilling the water will make it more difficult for the water to evaporate. Great if you are standing in front of the unit but not affective long term. </p>
I live in Palm springs and rebuilt a unit on the house that hadn't been used in 15 years and was installed back when the house and as built in the early 60's. I tried the blue pads but could never get the house cool at all. Then went to Home Depot and bought the new waffle wax coated see through pads 6.39 each only 3 needed and already cut to size I only use two water spouts per side for a total of 6 spouts. Now the unit which is actually ducted into the a/c system is like a freezer. I put a thermostat at the vent and it was blowing at 71 degrees when it was 100 outside. I figure the system is so effective now with the new non messy style pads (that do not become mush at the end of the season. The swamp cooler keeps the house cool 25 degrees from the outside. Only one humid days will I use the a/c. I also keep the dial anti algee bacteria bars in the water all year and never drain the system. The water is bacteria free as I put anew cake in every 6 months. No need to over clock just use the right pads and make sure you use the right size pump and motor. I only use a 1/2 hp motor and my daily use of cost is about 1.30 verses 6.00 with the a/c. The key is to crack each window and door just enough to cause a string draw. I think you have a little over kill going. Use the new waffle pads and you will see s massive and cleaner difference). Right now the sun went down its 95 degrees outside and the cooler is keeping the house at 68 degrees. Nones for overkill just make sure the drain holes are cleaned out and the pads soak completely within 40 seconds
do you know what the brand of these cooler pads are. I went to lowes but they only had aspens, those blue ones, and these others that reminded me of a honey comb that were made of what looked like cardboard.
<p>I was told my the people who set up my cooler for the year that I didn't need new pads. I always replace my aspen pads. They told me you don't have to if they're still good/clean. True or false?</p>
<p>is there any alternatives materials that i can use instead of evaporating cooling pads?</p>
<p>any one have any experience with coconut fiber mat for transfer media?</p>
<p>I haven't read all the comments, so if this has been stated, I apologize..</p><p>I love this. I'm going to try it out myself. However, you could 'save energy' and frustration and wiring, etc, and could've saved some money on parts without using an additional pump. Just run the original line to the new four / &quot;cross&quot; spider and then run a short bypass line from an empty, unused port up to the original spider.</p><p>Voila. All that would be needed is about 3-6 inches of additional tubing and some zip-ties.</p>
<p>I found that when I added extra outlet tubes, the flow did not increase very much. That is why I added the second pump, so I could get more flow. But try it with one and update us with your results with the single.</p>
<p>Thank you for posting this instructable! We're from Florida, now living in Utah and had no clue what we needed to do with the swamp cooler. Good grief! I was so grossed out by the fishy odor! Now we know and I foresee a couple of days up on the roof doing some of these mods!!!</p>
Living in the southwest US, what I do is use the aspen pads but single layered and then use the largest tubing the spider and pump will accept, but the caveat is you need to remove the smaller connector sections of the spider inlet and pump outlet or you might as well stick with the smaller tubing the manufacturer of the unit put in. <br> <br>This alone helped improve the cooling on a mobile home in Moab UT even though that summer was hotter than the year before ... even long time residents said it was much hotter (120 in the shade)!
What a great article! I live in Utah, USA, and it's already been over 100 degrees F on several days this summer. So I started surfing for ways to lower the indoor temperature. After looking at the troughs above my pads, I noticed that they were only filling about halfway. So I assumed I could install another pump and go for a 100% increase in water supply. (The holes in the troughs get progressively larger as the water level rises, too.) Plus, I pulled out the high-tech paper pads and replaced them with aspen pads. (Upon inspecting the paper pads, they were only about 66% wet during a 90 degrees F day and on low cool at the time!) After installing an additional pump and an 8-way spider, the result is a decrease of 7 degrees F. (From 82 to 75.) At 4:00 PM, I inspected the pads and they were totally wet. Mission accomplished! Thanks for taking the time to devise and share an affordable and effective way to increase cooler efficacy.
i have a couple of mastercools oon the roof of my house, they are over sized for the area they are cooling but do a very nice job when needed. my issue is that one of them has stoped turning on. i have taken a look and the cooler in question shares a thermostat connection w/ the ac and there have been contact installed on the cooler. the contact are getting signal from the thermostat as they are engaging but the cooler sits quiet. i am a bot new at these although my dad was always tinkering with our as i grew up. anyone have suggestions on what the next step is??
Sometimes the relays go bad. <br>So you could check that. Check to see if the motor is receiving current.
I live in Palm Springs and I have noticed the blue sponge pads work much better than any straw ones. They tend to keep moist longer while after about 2 months the others will just drip down into the reservoir.
<span style="font-size: 12.0pt;"> <p>Hi all,<br /> I live in Melbourne Australia where we have extremely hot and dry summers and as a result I have done a heap of modification and testing of evaporative coolers or Swamp coolers as you call them. My greatest success came from the use of celdex which is the media commonly found in rooftop home /commercial coolers.<br /> It is a specially treated corrugated cardboard which remains rigid, is highly water absorbent, has much greater surface area than aspen and it doesn&rsquo;t rot and smell like a swamp. The design and angle of the corrugations/ channels forces the air to foil or roll up and down through the material rather than a straight horizontal flow though creating a much cooler and less restricted and more directed airflow.<br /> &nbsp;I recommend being careful about airflow restriction as the motor/fan relies on flow for cooling and not all portable coolers have a thermal cut-out. I would not recommend multiple layers of aspen for that reason. Celdex is easy to cut to fit and is somewhat self cleaning in operation. <br /> Filtration of the water going through the pump and spider is recommended because evaps filter a lot of dust from the air which ends up in the water reservoir and blocking spreader/spider holes. Flywire or fairly fine mesh around the pump does ok. <br /> Bigger or more pumps will help to a point but the main key is the surface area of the media. I get superb performance from my coolers after mods but the only downfall is they use at least twice as much water. But this goes to prove that I am getting at least twice the performance from them as the more you evaporate the more you are cooling. A friend was seriously fooled into thinking they were a refrigerated air conditioners! I think they need float valves connected to the garden hose as I got sick of trying to keeping them topped up. I also experimented with a solar powered evap cooler made by fitting a small cooler with an auto thermo fan and 12 volt bilge pump from a boat running from 80 watt solar panel. One final note is to the importance of both ventilating the moist air from the opposite side of the room from the cooler and providing the back of the cooler with fresh dry air from outside. This helps keep internal humidity down so your sweat can also evaporate. Hope this is a help for all to stay as cool as I and use little or no power to do so.</p> </span>
This is exactly what I tell My wife: &quot;you have to open the windows for it to work dear&quot;!! I just installed the Low Profile &quot;DURANGO&quot; cooler from BONAIRE.<br>http://www.bonaire.com.au/evaporativecooling/range.aspx <br>I live here in Las Vegas Nevada, And this is the first time I've ever seen this type of media. The celdex is very efficient, wets completely, and allows for good air-flow even when salts are built-up. There was the added boon of cutting a 23x23&quot; hole in the wall to install it, as I chose not to mount it in the windo!!!! RRRRRRR!!<br>
Hi, I also live in Melbourne, and we also have a &quot;Swamp cooler&quot; Ours is a fairly recent model, with some handy features. The first, is if the cooler is left for 72 hours, it automatically drains the water, so it's never stagnant. The second is a float valve, so we never have to worry about the water levels. I believe it has paper pads, as we have never had to replace them.
Your friend is overlooking the savings you will achieve at lower temperatures by being able to run the cooler at a lower fan setting. Excellent 'Ible, as I wonder: Hmmm, May-be I can Boost mine!!
My previous house had a swamp cooler, and I was always looking for ways to improve performance. My best idea was to merely shade the unit. I used a piece of plywood larger than the surface area of the unit and placed it on standoffs on top of the unit. On my current house which we had built, I had the coolers installed on the ground (one at each end of the house) to allow for easier maintenance. They also were in the shade more.
You can build a very cheap primitive one of these. A medium large fan with a tub of water placed behind it. The tub is placed on something so that it's top is almost level with the top of the fan. Drape a wetted towel over the edge of the tub... one side of the towel is soaking in the water. The towel will wick the water over the edge of the tub as long as there is sufficient water in the tub.. have a tub also below the towel to collect the dripping water. The fan will draw air over the wet towel, cooling the air.
Tinker234: A swamp cooler is a saturated mat of water that has air blown through it by a fan, a pump keeps the mat wet. In this case the mat is woven Aspen. The purpose is to be a cheaper and easier to maintain way to cool your house. I've read they work particularly well in arid climates. <br> <br>Very nice instructable.

About This Instructable

449,487views

48favorites

License:

More by vatosupreme:Super Spooky Evil LED Eyes of Doom Using atTiny85 and Arduino IDE How to Make a Cardboard Canoe for your Kids in the Pool Fire & Ice: or How to Unfreeze Your Water Meter (& How to Keep It From Freezing in the Future) 
Add instructable to: