Evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers, use only a quarter of the electricity an air conditioner would use to cool a space of the same size. Used in warm climates that have low humidity, they draw warm air into the unit and use water pads to cool the air by as much as 20 degrees. The cooled air is then blown into the house. Swamp coolers also filter the air, sucking in odors, smoke and other pollutants. On the flip side, though, if a cooler isn't maintained properly, harmful bacteria and fungus can accumulate and spores can be spread throughout the house. Here's what you need to do to keep your cooler cooling:
- Have it cleaned and serviced annually.
- Replace water pads at the beginning of each cooling season. And check them every month the unit is in use. If they become dirty, replace them. The cleaner the pads, the safer and more energy-efficient the cooler.
- Empty the drip pan when the cooler isn't being used. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria.