Intro: How to Fix Your Swamp Cooler ("Overclock" It 50%)
Swamp coolers work ok until it reaches 94 degrees. At that point, they stop cooling as well, because the pump can not get enough water on the pads to keep them wet. So by increasing the amount of water going to the pads by 50% the unit cools the house down faster, and the pads don't dry out.
Step 1: Replace the Blue Pads With Good Old Aspen
The blue sponge pads do not really absorb the water very well and do not cool well at all. So pitch them and replace them with the low tech, sustainable aspen pads. the aspen wood actually absorbes water in additon to creating a curtain of water which makes the swamper cool better. It does get messy at the end of the year but it is worth it. These pads are also cheaper.
Step 2: Materials
you will need the following: (I purchased everything at Home Depot, but any decent hardware store should stock it) A pump, a supply tube, a distribution array ("spider") a pump basket, a basket filter bag, a grounded 3 prong splitter (not pictured) 7" and 14" zip ties... (10 of each should do) a pair of dykes, a utility knife, a radio or cell phone to have someone turn on and off the pump for you and about 2 gallons of water- to drink while you are cooking on top of the roof because you didn't get started until 1:00 pm in the afternoon.
Step 3: Shut Down the Power and Lock Out the Power
ok. Go to the power switch and turn off the swamper. Then take some duct tape and tape it off. Then put a little sign that says not to turn on the power. (if someone turns on the fan motor while you are in there you will get hurt.) Also, you can unplug the fan motor up in the swamper for extra safety.
OK.. notice that there are 8 tubes on the distribution assembly, 2 on each side. We are going to add 1 tube to each side taking the total tubes to 12, our 50% overclock.
Step 4: Arrange the Secondary Distribution Array
Now take the spider and put 4 of the 8 tubes in it so that they form a cross. Then Put it up under the existing one and loosly zip tie it into place ( you are going to cut it down in a minute). Next you need to cut the distribution tubes to length such that they will empty out into the trough. (I had to offset the center of the second spider slightly so each tube is a different length) Measure the distance you need then pull the tube out of the spider and cut it down. then re- insert it. Repeat this on all 4 sides.
Step 5: Remove Spider, Glue It Up , Install It Again
Cut the zip tie that is holding the spider in place and pull the spider out (keeping track of the orientation) then use the glue that comes with the spider to quickly glue each piece in. Then you will need to glue the plugs in for the other 4 holes that you aren't using. Make sure the tubes are pointing down, because you don't get 2 chances at gluing since it welds the plastic.
Now re-install the spider. I used two zip ties to hold it to the original one. I went around it in an x pattern. You may have better, and cleaner ways to do this but the reality is that the roof was about 105 degrees so zip ties seemed great at the time
Step 6: Install the Pump and Supply Line and the Power Connection
Now put the basket filter on the basket, the basket in the water and the pump in the basket. Take the supply line and run it up to the spider alongside the original supply line. (the tubing I purchased tended to kink so I tried to zip tie it every so often to the original to keep smooth curves.) Cut the tubing to length and fit it onto the spider.
Unplug the pump power from the connection and pull that connection out of its mounting slot. I got a grounding splitter to plug both pumps into the power source. (they are now both controlled by the main switch.) I zip tied it to the mounting area making sure that the cords are attched with zip ties and the whole thing is out of the way of the fan, fan belt and the water. You dont want something migrating into one of those areas.
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.
Step 8: Improvements and Such
I would be interested in ideas to improve the cooling ability of this project.
My business parnter said that the second pump should only come on when it is over 95 degrees outside (to save electricity) and that I should install a second switch for the second pump.. But I don't want to do the wiring.
so, possibly a wireless switch in the swamper with the other switch downstairs. It would be really cool if you could just get the second pump to kick in when necessary, but that is beyond my techability.
Other ideas might involve adding a unit for spraying the inside or outside of the pads with a sprinkler head. to get better distribution of the water on the pads.
Anyway, hope it works for you .