If you want to extend the lifespan and durability of your portable evaporative cooler don’t just switch it off at the end of the season. Take some time to clean it your portable evaporative cooler and winterize it so it will be ready to go again in the spring.
Clean the Water Tank
If you’ve been using your cooler regularly all summer, odds are there’s some gunk built up inside. Remove the water tank and clean it out the residue using some mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge.
Clean the Water Pump
It’s very common to get mineral deposits around the water pump, especially if you live in an area with hard water. If left untreated, they can clog up the pump or restrict water flow. The best way to get rid of them is to use a calcium lime solution, like CLR. Fill the water tank until the pump is covered and add a small amount of CLR (a few capfuls should be enough) and let it soak for 10-20 minutes.
While you’re waiting, remove the cooling pads and filters. If you own a Luma EC220W evaporative cooler, you’ll have to unscrew the back panel with a Philips head screwdriver to remove them. Never run CLR through your portable evaporative cooler without removing the cooling pads first. The solution will dissolve the glue that keeps them together or soak into the pad and get blown out into your home the next time you turn it on.
Once the pump is finished soaking, turn on the cooler and run the solution through your machine for 30 seconds. This will clear out any mineral deposits in the piping, but running it for more than 30 seconds may cause damage. Then empty the water tank, fill it with clean water and run with it through the machine for 2-3 minutes to wash away any CLR left inside. Empty the tank again, wipe it down, and leave it out to dry.
Clean the Pads and Filters
The air filters on your portable evaporative cooler are delicate, so to clear away any dust and dirt they may have collected, rinse them under running water.
After a long summer, your pads are probably clogged with dirt, debris, and possibly even some mold particles. To clean them out, fill a bucket or shallow pan with a mixture of water and lemon juice, enough to cover the pads. You can substitute vinegar for lemon juice, but there’s a risk the pads may end up smelling like vinegar when you use them again.
Submerge the pads in the water for 30-60 seconds. Then take them out and rinse them under running water and leave them out to dry. Make sure they’re completely dry before you store them or you risk attracting mold and possible rot.
Storing your Cooler
Once everything is dry, put the water tank back in the portable evaporative cooler, close everything up, and store it away. We recommend storing your cooling pads in a separate box, to make sure they stay absolutely dry during winter. Store your cooler inside, someplace warm enough so any water still inside won’t freeze and damage the inner workings. Store it in the original box or cover it with a tarp.
Properly winterizing your portable evaporative cooler is the best way to make sure it’s ready to go again when you’re ready to use it again in the spring. If you own one, make it a part of your yearly maintenance routine.
Got any questions or tips for winterizing portable evaporative coolers? Leave them in the comments!