Winterizing Your Portable Evaporative Cooler
When summer ends, don't make the mistake of just turning off your portable evaporative cooler and sticking it in a corner somewhere. If you want it to keep working at peak efficiency next summer, you need to take preventative steps to winterize your portable evaporative cooler and avoid possible damage during winter.
Clean the Water Tank
First, clean the water tank. Remove the tank, empty it, and then wipe away any residue that's built up inside using warm water and a soft cloth or sponge.
Clean the Water Pump
If you live in an area with hard water, it's also a good idea to clean the water pump and the pipes. Hard water is caused when dissolved minerals get mixed into the water supply. They're harmless if you drink them, but over time they can bind to the water pump and piping and clog them up. To keep everything running smoothly, pour a mixture of water and calcium lime solution, such as CLR, into the water tank. Fill the tank until the water pump is completely submerged, a one or two capfuls of CLR, and let it soak for 10-20 minutes.
While you're waiting, remove the air filters and cooling pads from your portable evaporative cooler by pressing down on the two tabs in the back and pulling off the rear cover to reach the filters and cooling pads. If you own a Luma EC220W evaporative cooler, you'll need to unscrew the back panel with a Philips head screwdriver to remove the cooling pads (the EC220W is not equipped with air filters).
Once 10-20 minutes have passed, turn on the cooler and run the calcium lime solution through your machine. Make sure the cooling pads have been removed first. Never run CLR or any calcium lime solution through your cooling pads or it will dissolve the glue holding them together. It may also soak into the pads and get blown out through the fan when you turn it on again, which will not only create an unpleasant calcium lime mist, but also cause your fan to burn out.
Run the cleaning mixture through your evaporative cooler for no more than 30 seconds. Once you've finished, empty and rinse the water tank and fill it with clean water. Run the clean water through the cooler for 2-3 minutes to clear out any remaining calcium lime residue. Then empty the tank again and dry it thoroughly.
Clean the Cooling Pads
To clean the cooling pads, fill a pan or bucket with a water and add some lemon juice. You only need enough to cover the pads, so shallow containers work best. Submerge the cooling pads for 30-60 seconds to kill off any mold trapped inside. Any mold left inside can grow can ruin your cooling pads over the winter.
Once you've finished soaking the pads, rinse them off with running water and make sure any dust or dirt particles have been removed. You can substitute vinegar for lemon juice, but the pads may end up smelling like vinegar if you don't rinse them thoroughly afterwards.
Once the pads are clean, set them aside and to dry. They need to be dried completely before you store them. Storing wet pads not only encourages mold, it can breaks down the cellulose in the pads themselves. To prevent them from absorbing any moisture, Luma recommends storing them in a separate box beside your portable evaporative cooler.
Storing Your Portable Evaporative Cooler
Once you've cleaned and dried the parts, your portable evaporative cooler is ready for storage. Put the filter and water tank back inside the cooler and place the cooler somewhere indoors, either in a storage room or tool shed, anyplace warm enough to prevent residual water in the cooler from freezing and causing damage it. If you can, store it in its original packaging or cover it up with a tarp or blanket. Don't store it in direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may discolor the plastic housing. The cooling pads should be stored in a separate box alongside the cooler, to make sure they don't get lost or misplaced.
Winterizing your portable evaporative cooler increases its durability and its lifespan. It ensures that your cooler can be unpacked and plugged in without any problems as soon as temperatures start to rise again, so you can stay cool all summer long.