How To Turn On a Swamp Cooler [Detailed Guide]

How To Turn On a Swamp Cooler

A swamp cooler is also known as an evaporative cooler or a desert cooler. Swamp coolers come in handy during summer when the days are really hot. You probably already know what this appliance is and what it does. But, do you know how to turn on a swamp cooler?

Well, the reason we put this article together is to let you in on what turning on a swamp cooler entails and how you can do it yourself.

Let’s get right into it!

How Do Swamp Coolers Work?

Have you ever tried putting a wet finger in the air or even walking out of the swimming pool on a hot day? The principle that keeps you cool in both scenarios is the same one responsible for swamp cooling.

The way evaporative coolers work was described by Benjamin Franklin as evaporative cooling in the 18th century. The evaporation of liquid involves giving off some water molecules in the air. These molecules interact with the heat from hotter air and cool the air down. The remaining liquid is cooled in the process because the hotter molecules move faster and evaporate first.

The swamp cooler works on this principle. So, it is safe to call it a blower. It has an electric fan beneath it that takes in air and then gives out much cooler air. However, it is much simpler than the air conditioner which uses refrigerants to cool the room.

One reason that a good number of people prefer evaporative coolers to portable air conditioners is that evaporative coolers cool air using much less energy when compared to refrigeration systems. In fact, in hot climates, swamp coolers reduce the total amount of equipment and energy spent on air-conditioning units.

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Evaporative coolers do not work everywhere.

For instance, using the evaporative cooler in very humid environments like the swamp won’t make it effective.

Wondering how swamp coolers earned their name? Well, typically, when a swamp cooler has been cleaned for a while and has gathered moisture and dirt, it gives off a swampy smell.

All that being said, if you live in an arid environment and just purchased a swamp cooler, then you can follow the steps in the next section.

Hessaire MC18M Portable Evaporative Cooler – Gray, 1300 CFM, Cools 500 Square Feet





How to Turn on A Swamp Cooler – Steps to Follow and Maintenance tips.

When you get an evaporative cooler, you don’t just turn in on immediately it arrives. There are certain measures you’ll need to take to ensure that your swamp cooler works perfectly when you turn it on.

  1. Remove the sides of the swamp cooler

The clip that holds both side panels in place should be released. When you remove them, it is advisable to label each of them appropriately. Doing this will make it easy to replace the sides correctly later.

By the way, removing the sides is to enable you to work on the inside of the swamp cooler without restraint.

  1. Clean your cooler properly

To clean the inside of the cooler, you need a vacuum cleaner or a suitable disinfecting (cleaning) solution. Some people have their swamp coolers wrapped up throughout the winter, so they only have to wipe the dust off the insides.

Please note that if the cooler was left in the open, you would be carrying out a more intense cleaning procedure.

To clean the swamp cooler more efficiently, use a  suitable descaling agent to clean the unit. The water pads should be replaced when they’re worn out and stiff. If they don’t get worn out, replace them yearly.

  1. Check the rotating belt
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The rotating belt is responsible for turning the swamp cooler’s motor. You should check it for cracks so that the motor doesn’t stop working when it’s in use.

If you notice cracks on the rotating belt, replace the belt.

Also, check the user guide or manual that comes with the swamp cooler to ensure your rotating belt has adequate tension.

  1. Clean the water pan

You only need mild soapy water to clean your water pan.

Once that’s out of the way, check for leakages. You can tell if it is leaking if you notice some rust.

You also want to check the water line and drain plug for leakages.

While you’re at it, you may need to change the waterline and tighten the drain plug properly if there are actual leakages.

Finally, refill your water pan before placing it back.


  1. Ensure the motor and water pump are working perfectly

This step is carried out before returning the sides of the swamp cooler.

To do this, plug your cooler into the AC outlet and turn on the water pump to ensure that the water is flowing properly.

Also, check to see if the fan wheel is spinning fast enough and the motor is running well. If everything is fine, then you can assemble the parts of your swamp cooler.

  1. Remove any debris

It is good maintenance practice to remove any surrounding dirt because they may get trapped in the swamp cooler when it starts working and may damage it with time.

To avoid this, clean the surrounding area properly.

  1. Turn on your swamp cooler
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Having done all the checks and maintenance routines, you can now plug your swamp cooler to a suitable power source and turn on your AC outlet to enjoy the summer.

Remember to disconnect the water line and get rid of the water in the pan to avoid freezing in the winter. Also, keep your swamp cooler covered when you’ve finished with it for the summer.

Eric Garvey of HandyMan Matters has some first-hand tips on how to get your evaporative cooler ready for summer. Check it out!

A Quick Recap on How to Turn on Your Swamp Cooler

Hot summer days are reasons why you need a suitable cooler to ensure that your rooms are cool and that your home is conducive to live in.

However, because it appears that it’s a lot easier to turn on an air-conditioning unit than it is to turn on a swamp cooler, a good number of people turn their backs on the cheaper and more energy-efficient option – swamp coolers.

Having read this article, we hope you now see that turning on your evaporative cooler isn’t a difficult process.

It mostly involves cleaning every part of the cooler and making sure they all work fine before turning on the unit.

Note that these steps shouldn’t be carried out only when you want to use the cooler for the first time. It is important to do routine checks from time to time to preserve the efficiency of the unit.

You can also check out these detailed articles on swamp coolers to learn more: