An evaporative air conditioner is an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative to traditional air conditioning systems. Operating on the same principles that make humans sweat, evaporative air conditioners draw warm air through a series of water-soaked pads, cooling it before blowing it out into the room. There are relatively few moving parts, making this type of system easy to maintain.
Without frequent maintenance, though, your air conditioner can get clogged and even stop working altogether. Perform the following maintenance routine every two months during the cooling season, and be sure to follow the steps for properly shutting down the unit when winter arrives.
Should you experience a water leak or other emergency, contact a professional right away. Otherwise, the bulk of the maintenance can be performed by the average homeowner.
Exterior Cleaning Begin by thoroughly wiping down the outside of your evaporative cooler. Use a soft, damp rag with plain water or a very mild dish soap solution. Avoid harsh or abrasive cleansers, which could damage the unit.
Visual Inspection Disconnect the power to your air conditioner, and then carefully open it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make a quick visual inspection of the entire system, taking care to check the water level and to look for any spots where water does not seem to be flowing freely.
Cooling Pad Removal and Replacement Gently lift out the cooling pads and inspect them for cracking, mould, or other signs of damage. If they look acceptable, wash them in a mild soap solution, taking care to rinse them thoroughly. If they are showing signs of wear, they need to be replaced. In this case, remove the entire frame and retainer. Wash and dry it, and then insert the new pads before carefully reinstalling it. Use caution to ensure that the frame and retainer are properly installed with no gaps.
Float Valve Check Manually manipulate the float valve to check for mineral deposits or debris. If it sticks at all rather than moving easily, thoroughly clean it with a mild soapy solution. If you see scaling, consider adding water treatment tablets. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions to determine what type of tablets to use in your system.
Belt and Motor Care Push on the air conditioner’s belt to ensure that it is nicely tight. It should give just slightly under pressure from your fingers. Inspect it carefully for cracking or other signs of wear, and replace it if necessary. Lightly oil all moving parts of the motor to ensure that they turn freely.
Waterway and Filter Cleaning Pour warm, soapy water through the system according to the manufacturer’s directions and then release it via the drain plug. Scrub any spots that show dirt or debris with a soft rag. Then flush the system completely with cool, fresh water. Remove the filters and wash them in a mild soap solution, then replace them tightly.
Water Level Set After you flush the system, fill the water tank to its designated mark. If necessary, adjust the float arm. Ensure that the cooling pads are dampened before turning the system back on.
Seasonal Shut Down At the end of the summer, take a bit of time to inspect and shut down the system so that it is ready for the following year. Unplug the electricity and clean the waterway, filters, and pads as described above. Use a soft rag to thoroughly dry all of the components, and then let the system air out for a day or two.
Some people remove the evaporative cooler and pack it away during the winter, while others simply cover it. Refer to your owner’s manual for suggestions on proper winter storage. An evaporative air conditioner is an excellent and relatively uncomplicated eco-friendly alternative to a traditional air conditioner system.
However, it is important to perform regular maintenance to maximize its cooling potential. Of course, should you experience a water leak or other emergency, it is important to call a specialist right away. For the most part, though, the average homeowner should have little trouble maintaining an evaporative air conditioner.
Jim’s Heating & Cooling is a trusted provider of air conditioning and heating in the greater Adelaide region. We offer a wide range of heating and cooling solutions, along with special discounts and financing offers. Call us now or request a quote to get started!