You Could Be Using The Wrong Water for Your Evaporative Cooler

You’re using the wrong water for your evaporative cooler if:water-splash-300

  • You always use hard water
  • You don’t know what hard water means
  • You don’t take advantage of water softener

Let us explain.

Owners with an evaporative cooler reap the benefits of an energy efficient air cooling device.

  • An evaporative cooler works by drawing hot, dry air through wet pads.
  • This causes an evaporation process that cools the air.
  • The cool air is then blown into the inside of a home using a fan.

The science behind an evaporative cooler is primitive and has been used for hundred
s of years.

  • When hot air is pulled through something wet, the hot air causes the water to evaporate. Evaporation pulls heat from the air, causing it to cool.

Although the process of using evaporation to cool the air has been used for hundreds of years, modern technology has improved its process by adding mechanical parts to the process inside of an evaporative cooler.

  • An evaporative cooler uses a water pump to continually pump water into the pads, this ensures the pads are always moistened and the evaporation process can continually occur.
  • It also uses a fan to blow the cool air inside the home.

With the mechanical parts combined with the science behind evaporation, an evaporative cooler can be an extremely effective air cooling device.

Since the most important aspect of the evaporation process is water, knowing the right type of water to use in the cooler is an essential part of being a good owner.

Evaporative Cooler Hard Water Damage

Although essential to the evaporation process utilized in an evaporative cooler, water is also highly destructive.

There is no mistaking the power of water, it can cause erosion, mold, and extensive damage to many products, and the evaporative cooler is no different.

The most common cause of damage within an evaporative cooler is the use of hard water in the cooler.

The dangers of hard water are plenty: water-hole-300

  • Hard water is water that has a high concentration of minerals and deposits.
  • These deposits and minerals, if not filtered properly, can cause numerous problems for the mechanical parts of an evaporative cooler.
  • The water pump, if gummed up with calcium buildup will stop working efficiently and can cause the cooler to stop working.
  • Owners may find spots on filters that look similar to mold. Although it is possible to get mold in an evaporative filter, these spots can also be scale of calcium buildup left behind by hard water.
  • Mold on the filter pads form most commonly when the unit has been turned off in the heat. This causes the water to remain stagnant and heat up, becoming an excellent breeding ground for mold spores.
  • Mineral deposits from water will build up on filters and pads because when the water is evaporated the deposits remain.
  • Calcium buildup will cause a dramatic reduction of the efficiency of the cooler.

Filtered Water

To avoid the danger of hard water, filtered water can be used instead.

Filtered water has been cleaned of excess calcium and mineral deposits that hard water typically has.

By using filtered water instead of hard water, owners can dramatically decrease the likelihood of calcium deposits and mineral scale.

Although, even with filtered water owners should expect to regularly check filters and pads, and to descale, clean or replace as necessary as filtered water does still have deposits that can cause damage to the mechanical parts of the evaporative cooler.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is water that has undergone a very precise process to remove deposits.

  • Distilled water is boiled into a steam, the steam is collected and cooled down into water.
  • This process removes almost all salt, calcium, and other minerals that are found naturally in water.
  • Distilled water is treated so that there are virtually no deposits in it at all.
  • This process ensures a very clean water source.

Distilled water is more frequently recommended for use, rather than consumption. The use of distilled water in an evaporative cooler is ideal because of its lack of deposits.

Water Softener

A water softener can be added to water used in an evaporative cooler.

  • Water softener dissolves the unwanted minerals from the water.
  • A water softener, when added to hard water, can help reduce the amount of deposits left behind on the pads and filters.

Clean, healthy filters

Troubleshooting Hard Water Damage 

  • If your evaporative cooler is working less efficiently due to hard water damage, cleaning the filters can be the most effective way to eradicate the problem.
  • Calcium buildup and mineral deposits can be dissolved by soaking the pads and filters in vinegar.
  • Make sure to clean the pads prior to reinstalling, to avoid the vinegar smell.
  • Check and descale the filters frequently
  • Check the water pump for buildup, descale if necessary.
  • Use a water softener if hard water is the only option available for the evaporative cooler.
  • Use filtered or distilled water if possible instead of hard water.

Evaporative Cooler Filter Health You Should Know About

ec110s-hr-7-back-filter-250If you live in an arid climate, an evaporative cooler can be an effective tool in lower indoor temperatures during the hot summer months.

Although highly useful and relatively low cost, an evaporative cooler does require maintenance in order to keep it functioning properly.

Understanding the important parts of an evaporative cooler can help you keep it in optimal shape, keep it running efficiently, and extend its life.

One of the most important parts of an evaporative cooler is its filters.

The filters:

  • Keep the unit running
  • Prevent damage
  • Help prevent contamination in the air and water circulating through the cooler

Evaporative Cooler Maintenance

Keeping your evaporative cooler in optimum shape can be a matter of routine monthly inspections. However, depending on the climate and the environment it may be necessary to perform maintenance regularly.

The most common maintenance necessity in evaporative coolers has to do with the filters.

The filter’s job is actually what its name says, it filters:

  • Debris
  • Dust
  • Hard water
  • Pollen
  • Any other contaminant that would interfere with the proper function of the evaporative cooler

Without proper maintenance on the filters, the evaporative cooler would be less effective, and could eventually become useless.

Types of Evaporative Cooler Filters

ec220w-hr-7-filter-300There are multiple types of evaporative cooler filters.

The basic breakdown would be water filters and air filters.

Water Filters are used to filter the water getting circulated into the pads.

  • The evaporative cooler works by passing dry air through wet pads.
  • Although water is a vital part of the cooling process, water can be a very damaging agent.
  • Water itself is corrosive, however the type of water used can be very damaging.
  • A water filter is used to filter the hard water deposits and contaminants from getting into the mechanic parts of the evaporative cooler.
  • Without the filter, the cooler would more frequently need to be descaled of mineral deposits left behind from the water.

Air filters are used to filter dust, debris, and pollen from the air.

  • Because evaporative coolers pull fresh air into the home, it is important to filter out unwanted air particles from the air prior to pushing it into the home.
  • Air filters are necessary for comfort, but it also protects the mechanical parts of the cooler as well. Air filters that are too dirty will allow contaminates into the evaporative cooler, causing it to reduce its efficiency.

Honeycomb Filter Pad

Many evaporative coolers use a honeycomb filter pad to work properly. The honeycomb pad is usually made of fiber, cellulose, or a metal media.

  • The honeycomb pad is moistened and used in the evaporation process and also to filter out dust, debris, and pollen.
  • Typically, the thicker the filter pads, the more cooling power the evaporative cooler has.
  • The more water is used to soak it- the more evaporation occurs.
  • It’s the process of evaporation that cools the air before it gets blown inside the home.

The filter pads are an essential part of the cooler. Honeycomb filter pads usually have a long lifespan, but should be frequently checked to ensure they are in good shape.

ec45s-hr-6--filter-250NOTE: Some evaporative coolers do not come with honeycomb filter pads. The EC45S comes with a synthetic rigid cooling pad that holds more moisture.

Maintaining Filters

The filter is an important part of the evaporative cooler, and imperative to keeping it running efficiently.

  • A dirty, clogged filter will cause a myriad of problems for an evaporative cooler.
  • If the water begins to get contaminated with gunk, it can gum up the water pump, causing it to stop working.
  • If the filters get too clogged, it will stop working properly, and will allow unwanted particles into unit.
  • Dirty filters can cause unwanted smells, mold build up, and can eventually stop the unit from blowing cold air.

To ensure the filters are in a good working condition, it is recommended that owners check the filters on monthly basis.

In addition to monthly maintenance, a cooler that stops working as effectively can be troubleshot by first checking the filters.

If a filter is dirty, depending on the type of filter, it can be cleaned by soaking it in a soapy water or using an air compressor to blow out the debris. Metal filters can be scrubbed clean after soaking. Filters should be air dried prior to reinstalling them.

Sometimes, filters may need to be replaced.

Replacing Evaporative Cooler Filter

You may find that a filter has passed its lifespan and needs replacement.

If a filter needs replacement, it is imperative that gets replaced in order to keep the evaporative cooler functioning properly. To replace a filter, it is necessary to gather the correct information regarding the unit.

The brand and model will usually help guide you in the right direction, but it may be necessary to measure the filter housing to ensure the new filter will fit appropriately.

Replacing evaporative cooler filters is usually an easy task, but the outcome is a better running, properly functioning cooler.

Your Evaporative Cooler May be Useless Where You Live

EC110s-DSC_9728---300x200As the temperature increases in the summer months, the need for cooler air does too. To fight discomfort from the heat, homeowners use an assortment of appliances including fans, air conditioners and evaporative coolers. Fans work to an extent, but do not actually cool the air. Air conditioners and evaporative coolers both work by cooler the surrounding air, but many homeowners would prefer to use of an evaporative coolers because it costs significantly less to run than a standard air conditioner does. However, where you live might render an evaporative cooler useless.

Where Can I Use My Evaporative Cooler?

An evaporative cooler works by drawing dry, hot air through wet pads.

  • The evaporation process that occurs cools the surrounding air.
  • The evaporative cooler then uses a fan to blow the cool air out.

The science behind the evaporative cooler has been used for hundreds of years, but it has limitations:

  • The climate cannot have high humidity levels for the cooler to be efficient.
  • If you reside in an area with a typically humid climate, an evaporative cooler will not function properly.
  • Residents living in a typically hot dry climate will find much better use of an evaporative cooler.

Evaporative Cooler Ideal Climate

desert-blue-sky-300For an evaporative cooler to work properly, humidity levels need to stay below fifty percent. For optimum performance, it should be used in climates below thirty percent humidity level. Evaporative coolers work best in hot dry climates because the evaporation process cannot work if the outside air has too much moisture. Arid regions will have the most success when using an evaporative cooler because dry air is needed to pass through the wet pads of an evaporative cooler in order to cool the air. Mixed regions will still find an evaporative cooler useful at times. Cold regions will not benefit from the use of an evaporative cooler if the temperatures do not reach high enough. Tropical and humid regions will not benefit from the use of an evaporate cooler. Many areas of North America contain average humidity levels that are too high for an evaporative cooler to function properly.

Some of the areas in the United States rank as follows for evaporative cooler use:

  1. South Western areas in California, Western Texas, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico all have a typically hot dry climate that would be conducive to using an evaporative cooler.
  2. States like Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon all have a semi-arid climate that an evaporative cooler would work well in, providing the temperatures reach above eighty degrees.
  3. Northern states from North Dakota to Main have cooler summer climates. Although, not humid, the temperatures should reach above eighty degrees for an evaporative cooler to have results.
  4. States like Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware, Kentucky, and West Virginia all have humid climates that would cause an evaporative cooler to work less efficiently.
  5. Most southern states like Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina all have a humid sub tropical climate that would render an evaporative cooler useless.

Damage Caused by Humid Environments

In addition to an evaporative cooler not functioning when used in improper climates, humid environments can actually cause significant damage to an evaporative cooler. Although, regardless of location, an evaporative cooler does require frequent maintenance, in humid environments the damage to an evaporative cooler can be much more significant.

  • Humid environments can cause the cooler to rust and erode prematurely.
  • Corrosion can cause the cooler to stop working as well, or can cause it to stop working all together.
  • High humidity levels can cause the filters to grow mold faster, and can break down the mechanical parts of the cooler.

Using an evaporative cooler outside of the recommended areas can be useless and expensive, since the cooler will require much more maintenance than if it were to be used in a recommended environment.

Using an Evaporative Cooler

EC45s-DSC_9782---300x200The use of an evaporative cooler can be very beneficial. They are designed to use an evaporation process to cool the air. This works by bringing fresh air into the cooler, passing the dry hot air through wet pads, and pushing cooler air into the home. When doing so, an evaporative cooler also adds moisture to the air. This is favorable in a dry hot climate because moisture in the air will make it more comfortable. However, if the air is too humid already, adding more moisture to the air is counterintuitive. Areas with high humidity levels have too much moisture in the air, which will cause an evaporative cooler to not work properly because the evaporation process will be hindered and the air will not get cooler —  the evaporative cooler will simply blow warm air into the home. It is important that an evaporative cooler be used properly, and in a climate that will benefit from its use.