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9/23/2020 3:47:02 PM
Posted: 5/22/2010 10:41:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/4/2010 6:43:58 PM EDT by disco_jon75]
I recently purchased a home in Alamogordo.  I had the home professionally inspected.  The front greenhouse swamp cooler is shot.  My main house swamp cooler checked good.  Unfortunately, I didn't need it since Feb and now, can only figure out how to get the fan to run, not the actual water portion.  I have no idea how my home ventilation system works and I can't find the phone # for the previous owners.  Anyone smart on swamp coolers/HVACs/etc?
Link Posted: 5/22/2010 10:50:26 PM EDT
Follow the water line from the swamp cooler. Usually it will run to an exterior spigot or through the roof next to your hot water heater. Cool off!
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 12:32:21 AM EDT
OK!  I found a valve next to my hot water heater.  Turned it.  Water flowed to somewhere.  This afternoon when I looked on the roof, I saw a thin copper tube disconnected.  I'm wondering if the inspector or previous homeowner disconnected it for some reason because of the winter weather.
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 1:07:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2010 1:09:05 AM EDT by FrankSymptoms]
Every fall the line is disconnected and drained, so that it won't freeze and burst. Reconnect the line then turn on the water.

Also, there is likely to be a drain in your cooler. This is most likely to be a piece of plastic pipe that fits into a hole in the bottom. This is designed to keep the cooler from accidentally overflowing and spilling into your house. To get to it you must remove one of the panels on the side of the cooler, the panels that hold the cooling pads. BTW if the pads have a lot of white crap sticking to them, it is best to replace the pads... this is calcium and its presence may reduce the efficiency of the cooler.

When winterizing your cooler, you remove this pipe and let all the water from the pan drain onto the roof. In the spring/summer, you put the pipe back into its hole.

ETA Did you find out where the water was flowing to? My brother found out the hard way, on his first summer in NM... came home to an inch of water on the floor!
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 5:24:12 AM EDT
http://www.air-n-water.com/Swamp-Cooler-Maintenance.htm



A decent how to do with a video describing how a swamp cooler works.



These arent all that complicated, just take your time to figure out what each thing does and how they go together. Be sure to throw a beer in the cooler so when you are done you can go sit in your underwear directly under the cooler vent while sipping your favorite brew.





Link Posted: 5/23/2010 6:20:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2010 6:21:41 AM EDT by aztec223]
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
Every fall the line is disconnected and drained, so that it won't freeze and burst. Reconnect the line then turn on the water.

Also, there is likely to be a drain in your cooler. This is most likely to be a piece of plastic pipe that fits into a hole in the bottom. This is designed to keep the cooler from accidentally overflowing and spilling into your house. To get to it you must remove one of the panels on the side of the cooler, the panels that hold the cooling pads. BTW if the pads have a lot of white crap sticking to them, it is best to replace the pads... this is calcium and its presence may reduce the efficiency of the cooler.

When winterizing your cooler, you remove this pipe and let all the water from the pan drain onto the roof. In the spring/summer, you put the pipe back into its hole.

ETA Did you find out where the water was flowing to? My brother found out the hard way, on his first summer in NM... came home to an inch of water on the floor!


Also, if water is running off the roof when you get all of this done, then adjust (bend) the float on the inlet tube/valve so that it turns the water off below the top of the drain tube.

Link Posted: 5/23/2010 7:48:32 PM EDT
Great advice folks.  There was a line on the roof that was disconnected.  I reconnected it.  Then I found the plastic tube inside the swamp cooler and inserted it, allowing it to raise the level in the swamp cooler rather than just drain out.  Also, more importantly, there was a piece of sheet metal inserted in the duct to prevent it from circulating air through the house.  A similar piece of sheet metal was on the gas furnace, so that you can select one or the other.
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 7:51:30 PM EDT
If you decide to replace the pads, do yourself a favor and spend the extra time and money on the birch pad. The synthetic stuff just doesnt hold the moisture as well and wont really help cool.
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 7:55:44 PM EDT
I thought they were aspen?
Aren't they typically less expensive anyways?
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 8:28:54 PM EDT
Maybe it is Aspen? 2 years ago, the last time I needed to do my own swamp cooler, I had a hell of a time finding the real stuff instead of the synthetic. Cost was higher at that time as well.
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 8:54:26 PM EDT
I just did 7 of them at work today.  Not hard to do but damn I hate doing it. I'm glad I put in ref. Air at home
Link Posted: 5/23/2010 9:27:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/23/2010 9:28:12 PM EDT by disco_jon75]
Does anyone on here live in or pass through Alamogordo?  I've got another swamp cooler on my front porch greenhouse that I was told is in need of a rebuild or refurbishment.  If someone could take a look at it, I'd compensate them for their time (in cash or ammo...)
Link Posted: 5/24/2010 9:46:11 AM EDT
I'm also a former swamp cooler owner.  Had it replaced with refrigerated air a couple of years ago.  Not necessarily an option for everyone, as it's really damned expensive.  I did learn a few things about swamp coolers & am happy to share my knowledge.

I second the recommendation for aspen pads.  I never tried the synthetic pads.

You might need to replace your water pump.  The one that came with my house was shot.  I replaced it with one that lasted the next 2 summers, after which I got refrigerated A/C.

Fortunately, replacement pumps are cheap, around $20-$30, and will probably last a few years.

It's worthwhile to go ahead and replace the pump, blower belt, and any tubing that is cracked or looks like it is about to crack.  Also grab some PTFE tape to make sure the water supply lines have nice, tight, leak-free joints.  I re-taped the joints every year as a preventative measure, since I was up on the roof anyway.  We're talking less than $100 of parts total.
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 9:19:58 PM EDT
Well crap.. it worked for a few days then appears to have conked out.  In any case, its still getting water and air is still blowing, the house is just 89 degrees...  Thoughts?
Link Posted: 5/26/2010 9:29:15 PM EDT
Is the water spreading out over the pad? Or just soaking a portion of it?  I'm no expert but I know a small bit
Link Posted: 5/27/2010 12:28:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well crap.. it worked for a few days then appears to have conked out.  In any case, its still getting water and air is still blowing, the house is just 89 degrees...  Thoughts?


My  brother had a similar problem. It turned out to be the 'water distributor (don't know the real name of it)" at the top of the swamp cooler.

This is the device that is 'downstream' of the water level controller. It distributes water to each of the pads. It may have broken, or may have clogged due to hard water.

It's an easy fix; the part is $10-$15 at HoDo (Home Depot) and has only a few fasteners to loosen/tighten. And, if it is broken, it'll sound like water is flowing but no water will be getting to the pads.
Link Posted: 5/27/2010 12:31:27 PM EDT
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well crap.. it worked for a few days then appears to have conked out.  In any case, its still getting water and air is still blowing, the house is just 89 degrees...  Thoughts?


My  brother had a similar problem. It turned out to be the 'water distributor (don't know the real name of it)" at the top of the swamp cooler.

This is the device that is 'downstream' of the water level controller. It distributes water to each of the pads. It may have broken, or may have clogged due to hard water.

It's an easy fix; the part is $10-$15 at HoDo (Home Depot) and has only a few fasteners to loosen/tighten. And, if it is broken, it'll sound like water is flowing but no water will be getting to the pads.


The spider, it can be rotorootered with a piece of flexible wire or a cleaner also avail at HoDo or lowes

Link Posted: 5/27/2010 2:01:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By kinakoba:
Is the water spreading out over the pad? Or just soaking a portion of it?  I'm no expert but I know a small bit


The swamp coolers that I know of all tend to soak the pad evenly. This is because the 'spider' distributes water to the top of the pad holder panel; the water goes into a trough that runs the width of the panel and has slots in the bottom of the trough that let the water soak into the pad.

Hmmm, now that I think of it, it IS possible for these slots to get clogged with dirt, calcium (from hard water), etc. and reduce the cooling efficiency of the unit. Clean the slots with a wire or screwdriver.
Link Posted: 5/27/2010 2:02:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By aztec223:
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well crap.. it worked for a few days then appears to have conked out.  In any case, its still getting water and air is still blowing, the house is just 89 degrees...  Thoughts?


My  brother had a similar problem. It turned out to be the 'water distributor (don't know the real name of it)" at the top of the swamp cooler.

This is the device that is 'downstream' of the water level controller. It distributes water to each of the pads. It may have broken, or may have clogged due to hard water.

It's an easy fix; the part is $10-$15 at HoDo (Home Depot) and has only a few fasteners to loosen/tighten. And, if it is broken, it'll sound like water is flowing but no water will be getting to the pads.


The spider, it can be rotorootered with a piece of flexible wire or a cleaner also avail at HoDo or lowes



My brother tried this. He finally decided that it was easier to buy a new one.
Link Posted: 5/27/2010 8:03:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well crap.. it worked for a few days then appears to have conked out.  In any case, its still getting water and air is still blowing, the house is just 89 degrees...  Thoughts?


My  brother had a similar problem. It turned out to be the 'water distributor (don't know the real name of it)" at the top of the swamp cooler.

This is the device that is 'downstream' of the water level controller. It distributes water to each of the pads. It may have broken, or may have clogged due to hard water.

It's an easy fix; the part is $10-$15 at HoDo (Home Depot) and has only a few fasteners to loosen/tighten. And, if it is broken, it'll sound like water is flowing but no water will be getting to the pads.


Ok.  I opened it up, located the water distributor and the holse that feeds it.  Popped it off and no water.  Backtracked it to the pump.  The pump sits in a sump where the water drains down into.  Surprise surprise, it had vibrated out of the sump.  Stuck it back in and ot worked like a champ.
Link Posted: 5/30/2010 2:04:07 AM EDT
The pump sits in a sump where the water drains down into. Surprise surprise, it had vibrated out of the sump. Stuck it back in and ot worked like a champ.


Be kind of careful when operating that pump! It puts out a pretty good head of water.

I 'washed' my kitchen ceiling with one once.
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 7:58:56 PM EDT
Well, another day in the life... I noticed the house was getting warm.  I went up, and the swamp cooler pump was working, motor was turning, but nothing was spinning.  The pulley on the turbine has corroded through.  I undid the pin holding it in place and it looks like its going to be a bitch to get off.  Its stuck.  :(  thoughts?
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 8:24:59 PM EDT
hit it with some penetration oil and let it soak in small mallet drive it on further then try to pull off. worst case hacksaw baby.
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 8:29:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/3/2010 8:31:15 PM EDT by aztec223]
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well, another day in the life... I noticed the house was getting warm.  I went up, and the swamp cooler pump was working, motor was turning, but nothing was spinning.  The pulley on the turbine has corroded through.  I undid the pin holding it in place and it looks like its going to be a bitch to get off.  Its stuck.  :(  thoughts?


If the pulley is stuck on the squirrel cage shaft, the only easy way to get it off is with a puller and a center if the shaft is hollow. Easy way is to unbolt the pillow block bearings from both ends of the shaft, remove the non pulley end, push or drive the shaft through the squirrel cage and replace the parts with new as needed.
Link Posted: 6/4/2010 6:43:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/4/2010 6:51:08 PM EDT by disco_jon75]
Originally Posted By aztec223:
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well, another day in the life... I noticed the house was getting warm.  I went up, and the swamp cooler pump was working, motor was turning, but nothing was spinning.  The pulley on the turbine has corroded through.  I undid the pin holding it in place and it looks like its going to be a bitch to get off.  Its stuck.  :(  thoughts?


If the pulley is stuck on the squirrel cage shaft, the only easy way to get it off is with a puller and a center if the shaft is hollow. Easy way is to unbolt the pillow block bearings from both ends of the shaft, remove the non pulley end, push or drive the shaft through the squirrel cage and replace the parts with new as needed.


The shaft was solid.  Puller worked like a charm.  Thank's for the advice.  I got the puller free through Autozone's free item loan.  You put down a deposit then get the deposit when you return it a few hours later.  I've posted pics and home temperature at the completion of OPERATION: SWAMP BEAST


Eye protection/ Aviator Shades: CHECK. Awesome shirt: CHECK. Socks pulled up as high as I can get them: CHECK. Bag of Wrenches: Check. The day is mine!









My buddy Rick deploying the Tactical Pulley Puller, courtesy of AutoZone!


Starting Temperature upon completion of Operation SWAMP BEAST!  Note:  The house is so well insulated that it never got above 85 degrees in the house today, in spite of reaching 100 degree temperatures outside.  The house was at 70 degrees when the swamp beast failed yesterday evening.
Link Posted: 6/4/2010 7:53:36 PM EDT
well done
Link Posted: 6/4/2010 8:09:08 PM EDT
Stand your team down! You are ordered to take a brief R&R under the cool air your team has deservedly earned. Mission accomplished, well done, HOOAH!
Link Posted: 6/5/2010 9:52:06 AM EDT
Ughhh, so this morning I noticed that the house had gotten warm again.  Well, i go up to the roof and no water.  It seems that when I half opened the valve yesterday, it worked itself closed during the night.  Well, the valve to the swamp cooler is open full bore now!  Ahhh sweet cooling temperature!
Link Posted: 6/5/2010 1:22:35 PM EDT
Originally Posted By disco_jon75:
Well, another day in the life... I noticed the house was getting warm.  I went up, and the swamp cooler pump was working, motor was turning, but nothing was spinning.  The pulley on the turbine has corroded through.  I undid the pin holding it in place and it looks like its going to be a bitch to get off.  Its stuck.  :(  thoughts?


Do you realize that by doing this simple operation, you (a) not only saved yourself at least $100, (b) got the job done in less than a week*, and (c) have proven yourself superior to at least 75% of all other American men?

*This is because of the New Mexican handyman's motto: Manana!
Link Posted: 6/5/2010 2:31:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/5/2010 2:34:24 PM EDT by aztec223]
Having reviewed the after action photos in more detail, I would suggest a follow up op, go to Ho Do or lowe ho, get yourself a couple of cans of spray on cooler submarine sealer, wire brush, but gently so as to not poke through the rusty surfaces, knock all the old paint and loose rust off, then give it a decent coat of the spray. This will not save what appears to be an older unit, but may extend the life for 1-2 more years. Do not do this until the "Beast" flares again, and only on the bottom and side surfaces where it will not interfere with air or water flow. Coat your new pulley but not in the groove, did you lube the pillow block bearings? If not one or two squirts with an oil can or a zoom spout oiler (HoDo also) will suffice, the fan motor may also have one hole in each end to allow lube to the motor bearings, easy here as you can short the motor with too much. I agree with Frank saved yourself some dough, a replacement unit Approx. $300-400, as for me I am taking the advice he provided, I'll do mine Manana.
Link Posted: 6/5/2010 7:05:26 PM EDT
That's a Mastercool unit.  They are the best swamp coolers out there.  The media is expensive but is rated for 5 years, but the water there in Alamo-hordo will clog them up sooner.  A drain pump (flushes out tank and refills after 8 hours of use) will make it run better.  An in-line water filter ($10 at HoDo) on your water supply line helps out too.

My folks have lived in 'Hordo for almost 30 years.  They've had the same swamp cooler for about 15 of those.  My dad puts an inline water filter on it every year, uses the drain pump and has managed to only replace the media once every five years.

The best time to buy a replacement media is at the end of summer.  Home Desperate and Lowe's mark them down, around a c-note.

Like Aztec said, oil the cage pads and the motor (you'll find a small yellow plug on each end top of motor.
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