How to Clean Your Evaporative Cooler
To keep your evaporative cooler running in peak condition, make sure you clean it regularly. This is particularly important if you live in an area with hard water. The higher concentration of minerals in your water can leave additional calcium build up both in and around your air cooler. Below are some basics for properly cleaning and maintaining your cooler - both in and out of season!
*First and foremost, as with any electronic appliance, be sure to unplug you the unit before you begin cleaning it.*
Cleaning the exterior of your evaporative cooler is fairly simple. Just use a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior completely. You can also use a solution of warm water and a small amount of mild soap. Avoid using any type of harsh cleaner, paint thinner or benzene on the unit, as this can damage the air cooler. If you do use soap, be sure to wipe it clean of any residue. Allow the unit to dry completely before using it again.
Cooling Pad Cleaning & Maintenance
Over time, the cooling pad on your evaporative cooler can begin to get clogged up by mineral deposits and other build up from your water. Again, this is particularly true for those with hard water. To clean the cooling pad, simply remove it from the unit - there is a knob at the top of the pad that will unlock it - and rinse the pad completely with clean water. You can also use a soft cloth to wipe down the cooling pad. For a more thorough cleaning, add a couple teaspoons of plain white vinegar to your water, and wash the cooling pad with that solution. You can dunk the pad completely in the diluted vinegar solution as well, although there's no need to soak it for longer than 30 seconds. If you do use vinegar, be sure to rinse the unit completely to remove any vinegar residue from the pad before returning it to the unit. To avoid a house smelling like vinegar, you might want to also run the unit for a few minutes outside, or at least pointed outside, once you're done cleaning it.
Water Tank Cleaning
You should be changing the water in your water tank regularly, but it's also worthwhile to clean out the tank on occasion. Similar to the exterior and the evaporative cooling pad, you will need a clean soft cloth and some water. In some units, like the EC110S, the water tank can be removed completely from the unit for easier cleaning. Otherwise, just wipe out the inside of the tank as best as possible. Just like with the cooling pad, you can also use a solution of diluted vinegar to remove any hard water stains that might be inside the unit. As before, be sure the tank is completely dry and free of leftover vinegar residue before using the unit again.
Water Pump Cleaning & Internal Maintenance
Not only can hard water leave stains and build up on your evaporative cooler's water tank and cooling pads, but it can also affect the performance of your water pump. On some units, the low water sensor, or float, is attached to the pump, and can also be affected by hard water residue. To really clean the pump, as well as some of the internal tubing of your evaporative cooler, you can use a diluted vinegar solution, however you might end up with some leftover vinegar smell afterwards. You can also use a more powerful cleaning solution, such as CLR. Found at any local hardware stores, CLR is designed to quickly and safely remove calcium and lime deposits, as well as surface rust.
Simply fill the water tank with CLR - unlike vinegar, there's no need to dilute it - and let the inside of the tank as well as the water pump soak for 10 to 20 minutes. If you are using the EC110S evaporative cooler, be sure to push the tank in completely to ensure the water pump is lowered into the tank full of CLR. Next, remove the cooling pad from the unit if you haven't already done so. Then, run the unit with the tank full of CLR for 30 seconds. This will allow the CLR to run quickly through the pump and tubing to remove any leftover mineral deposits. Again, only run the unit for 30 seconds - this will ensure that CLR does not find its way into the fan or fan motor.
Finally, rinse out the tank and fill it with clean water, then run it again without the pad for a few minutes. This is to ensure any leftover CLR has been removed. You are then free to replace the cooling pad and run the unit as normal.
It may sound like a lot of cleaning and maintenance, however its actually quite simple. Additionally, the most thorough cleaning will only need to be done a couple times a year. Typically, at the beginning and end of a season is the best time to thoroughly clean the unit from top to bottom. That said, if you notice the unit is not operating as well as previously, then a good cleaning may be just what you need!