Swamp coolers are a fantastic option for those looking to stay cool in the warmer months without having to pay the costs associated with operating a central AC system. Swamp coolers are especially great for Colorado residents, for two main reasons:

  1. Our climate is very dry. Drier climates are better suited for swamp coolers (also called ‘evaporative coolers’) because the humidity that is added to the processed air feels comparatively cooler than the air outside.
  2. Swamp coolers can be decommissioned during the winter months, saving on water bills. Winterizing a swamp cooler is actually a very simple, straightforward process—something that can be completed in less than an hour, in most cases.

The main reason why swamp coolers need to be winterized is the same reason why sprinkler systems require the same maintenance: when water freezes, it expands. And, whatever is containing freezing water is going to expand, too. This can lead to bursting pipes and rupturing reservoirs, all components that are a part of the hydraulic system integral to evaporative coolers.

When Temps Drop, Protect Your Cooler

Winterizing your swamp cooler is the single most important action you can take every year to protect the pipes, valves, and other equipment contained within it. So, how exactly does one go about preparing their swamp cooler for winter? Here are four easy steps to take:

  1. When it’s time to winterize, swamp cooler operation should be shut down. If there is a master control for your cooler, turn it to the ‘off’ position.
  2. Position a receptacle like a bucket or other container beneath your swamp cooler to collect the water that will be removed from it. If your cooler is located on the roof, it should be ok to let the drained water run down along the roof to the gutters for easy dispersal.
  3. Locate the drain valve on your swamp cooler, and turn it to the ‘open’ position. Water will begin flowing. Allow the water to flow until no more water is coming out of the drain spigot.
  4. When the water has finished draining from your swamp cooler, reset the drain valve to the ‘closed’ position, Then, replace any panels or hardware that required removal to access the drain valve.

winterize swamp cooler 2After these four steps have been completed, congratulations! Your swamp cooler is ready for winter. Remember that when a swamp cooler is winterized, it cannot be used. Attempting to operate a winterized swamp cooler can be potentially damaging to the motors and pumps that are contained within it, so be sure not to turn on your swamp cooler until it has been restored to operating condition in the warmer months.

Typically, it’s advisable to wait until at least two weeks of non-freezing temperatures have passed before deciding to reactivate your swamp cooler. Because Colorado temperatures can be highly volatile, the best time to reactivate a swamp cooler in our state is in the early May to early June timeframe.

A sudden, deep freeze in early spring can be detrimental to a non-winterized swamp cooler, so keep this in mind when determining when to flip the switch to bring your swamp cooler back to life.

Other Swamp Cooler Considerations

Most swamp coolers have air intake vents that should be covered when the unit is not in use. This is done to prevent dust, insects, or moisture from getting inside.

If possible, cover your winterized swamp cooler with a waterproof material like a tarp or other suitable barrier. Many swamp cooler manufacturers sell custom-sized protective covers for their products—inquire with the manufacturer of your swamp cooler to see if one is available for the model you have.

Lastly, because swamp coolers rely on a water source for operation, be mindful of any leaks that may appear over time. While they may seem innocuous at first, swamp cooler leaks can become quite costly and potentially damaging to the area below them. If you believe your swamp cooler may be in need of service or replacement, be sure to contact the evaporative cooling experts at Front Range HVAC for an appraisal of your swamp cooler situation.

In many cases, a leaky swamp cooler can be repaired at a reasonable cost. In more extreme cases, we can work with you to determine a fitting replacement that can be expertly installed at a day and time of your choosing. We’ll even help you select the best cooler for the size of your home or business.

Have questions about swamp coolers? Great! We have answers. Call us today at (303) 942-1372.