Plumbing 101 | DIY | Swamp Cooler Pump Replacement
Installing a new swamp cooler pump is an easy do it yourself project. If your cooler’s pump is not turning on when you run the swamp cooler on the pump or the cool settings then the pump could be bad. The pump can often get clogged with debris or calcium buildup. When that happens it will start pumping slower because something could be blocking the outlet tube or the spider. But if a swamp cooler pump is not turning on at all and you have power to the outlet chances are that the pump is burnt out and will need to be replaced.
Removing the old pump:
1. Open the side panels of the cooler so that you can easily get to the pump. Sometimes opening a few panels can make it easier to get to it from different angles and allow more light for the project.Open the side panels so you can easily get to the pump. Sometimes opening a few panels can make it easier to get to it from different angles and allow more light for the project.
2. Make sure that the power is turned off to your unit.
Some electric plugs are behind a protective cover inside of the swamp cooler. You may have to remove the protective cover before you can access the plug. Then you can unplug the power from the old pump.
3. Unplug the discharge hose at the end of the pump. Sometimes the hose has a hose clamp holding it in place and other times it is just pushed tightly over a barbed type fitting.
4. Remove the old pump from the holding bracket. This is often just slipped in from the side and can be easily removed. If the bracket is screwed into the pump then you will need to loosen it before removing the pump.
Installing the new pump:
1. Slip the new pump into the holding bracket inside of the cooler. If your swamp cooler has a screw on bracket you will have to screw it onto the new pump first then onto the side of the cooler.First slip the new pump into the holding bracket. If you had a screw on bracket you will have to screw this onto the new pump first then onto the side of the cooler.
2. Install the discharge hose onto the new pump. This just gets pushed on over the barbed outlet on the pump. If a hose clamp was used on the old pump then you can put it back on as well.
3. Plug the pump into the power unit inside of the swamp cooler. If the plug was inside of a cover plate then reinstall the cover plate as well.
4. Check that the pump is working correctly before putting the outside cooler panels back on. First make sure that there is plenty of water in the base of the cooler before you turn the pump on. You do not want to run the pump dry because this can burn it out. Turn the cooler on the pump setting and watch for the water to start flowing out of the distribution tubing. There should be a good steady flow of water to moisten the cooler pads. There should be a good steady flow. If it all looks good go ahead and put the panels back into place.
A great video to watch
How to Replace the Swamp Cooler Motor
The motor of a swamp cooler works in a very humid environment and although the motors are built to be resistant they will need replacement sooner or later. Replacing a swamp cooler motor is an easy to moderate do it yourself project. Expect the project to take about an hour to complete not counting on the time it takes to pick up parts. Most of the time removing the old motor is the hardest part of the project. Most new evaporative cooler motors have a cord already installed so no real wiring is required.
How to remove the old motor:
1. Remove the side of the cooler so you can easily get to the motor. You might even want to take off multiple side panels for extra light or maybe some extra hands to help with the removal or installation.
2. Unplug the electrical wire coming from the back of the old motor. You may have to remove a cover plate from the electrical box where the electrical wires are all kept in the swamp cooler before you can get to the plug.
If your unit is not plugged in and is hard wired in instead, you will want to shut off the breaker before removing the wires at the motor.
3 Loosen the bolt that is used to adjust the v-belt tension. Loosen this until you can slip the belt off. If the belt is showing any signs of wear such as cracks then you might want to replace it at this time. The easiest way to get the right size belt is to bring the old belt with you to the hardware or home improvement store and match it up.
4. Remove the motor pulley. Use an Allen key to remove the set screw that holds the motor pulley on the motor. Most motors do not come with a new motor pulley. You can buy a new motor pulley but they do not usually go bad so it is pretty much safe to use the old one.
5. Loosen the bolts that hold the motor in place on the cooler. There are often two brackets that hold the motor in place and the bolts will have to be loosened and removed before the motor can be pulled off. Once the brackets are off then take the motor down.
Installing the new motor:
1. Set the new motor onto the motor arm, the same where place the old motor sat inside of the cooler. Now the brackets can be tightened to hold the motor in place. Make sure these are tight to keep the motor from moving. The motor can be heavy so sometimes a second hand can really help as you get it into place.
2. Fit the motor pulley onto the motor. Make sure that the motor pulley is aligned with the blower pulley otherwise this could put extra stress on the motor and burn it out early. Tighten the motor pulley onto the motor with the set screw. There should be a flat spot on the motor arm that you must align before tightening the set screw.
3. Slip the belt back on to the motor pulley. Tighten the tension bolt. About ¾ to 1” is the perfect slack you should have in the belt when you push on it. Again, a second hand will allow someone to hold the motor and put tension on the belt while someone else tightens the tension bolt.
4. Plug the motor into the cooler outlet. Make sure if you have a safety cover that you put it back on. Test the motor by turning the cooler the to different settings before putting the panels back on.
A great video to watch
Parts Of A Swamp Cooler
Swamp coolers are effective when they are working properly. Knowing about the various parts of a swamp cooler can make it easier to maintain and repair your cooler. Here is a rundown of the anatomy of a swamp cooler. Some swamp cooler parts may need to be replaced often while others may last the life of the swamp cooler.
Swamp cooler motors usually range from 1/3 to 1 horsepower. Typically a swamp cooler only requires 115 volts, that is the main reason they use so little electricity. Swamp cooler motors are usually good until they are not. If you are changing the motor in an evaporative cooler make sure you take a look at the current motor to see what size it is and how many speeds it has.
Swamp Cooler Bearings
Bearings come in high rise and low rise bearing assemblies. Also, they usually come in 3/4″ and 1” bore. The shaft spins on the bearings so if the bearings in the cooler are going bad it tends to make a horrible squeaking sound. Sometimes this sound can be remedied by lubricating the bearings. If that doesn’t work the swamp cooler bearings will need to be replaced. If you have any doubt about which kind you have make sure and bring the old bearing in when buying the replacement.
A swamp cooler has two pulleys; the motor pulley and the blower pulley. The motor pulley sits on the motor shaft and is fastened with a screw. Motor pulleys come in different sizes for different sized motors. The pulley should be the size and type indicated by the manufacturer of your cooler. Using a different sized pulley could put unnecessary stress on the motor and can affect how the cooler runs.
It is a good idea to check the motor pulley condition (look for dents) and alignment periodically.
The pulleys rarely go bad but can be removed by loosening the Allen screws that holds them in place. When replacing the pulley with an adjustable one be sure to set the adjustment to the motor specific size.
The other pulley found in a swamp cooler is the blower pulley. The blower pulley is positioned on the blower shaft. As with the motor pulley, the size of the blower pulley is important to ensure that the swamp cooler works the way it is supposed to. When replacing a blower pulley match the pulley to the unit so that the blower moves enough air to cool effectively.
The V-belt is a long lasting belt which has minimal slippage and is easy on the bearing so it was a good choice to have them put on swamp coolers. The v-belt is positioned between the motor pulley and the blower pulley. The pulley alignment is important because the v-belt should be aligned straight to work effectively. When checking the v-belt check the pulley positioning and adjust as necessary. Another thing to check for is the v-belt tension. Check the manufacturer recommendations for the v-belt tension for your swamp cooler.
V-belts come in a variety of sizes so if you are replacing one take care to match it up. If the belt is beginning to crack it may be a good idea to replace it before it breaks.
The swamp cooler pump brings the water from the pan to the distribution tubing and from there onto the pads. The pads need to be saturated to allow the cooler to cool the air so, if the pads are not getting wet enough it’s possible that the pump may need to be replaced. Upsizing the pump can also help circulate more water so if the pump does not keep the cooler pads wet enough upsize it.
Note: Hard water can clog up a swamp cooler pump pretty quickly but there are some maintenance products that can help prevent or clean out buildup.
Drain and Overflow
The swamp cooler drain is a pipe that sits in the cooler pan. The drain tube can be removed to drain the water out of the swamp cooler pan. The swamp cooler drain also acts as an overflow to allow excess water to drain out if the float is filling it too high. Excess water will go up and over the drain tube and spill onto the ground so you know there is a problem.
The swamp cooler float sits in the cooler pan and regulates the height of the water. The cooler float valve floats up as the water level rises at it turns the water flow off when it reaches the set level. The water level should be high enough for the pump to be able to draw it up but ideally not so high that it will go out through the overflow tube. Adjusting the water to the right height is usually just a matter of bending the float rod and waiting to see where the water shuts off.
A float valve that doesn’t turn the water off correctly is a common problem but it is one part of a swamp cooler that is easy to replace. You can replace a float valve in just a few minutes for just a few dollars.
Swamp cooler pads come in many flavors including foamed polyester, slit expanded paper, and wood strips. The most common and cheapest cooler pads are the ones made from woods strips and they seem to work great but if the strips get loose they can clog up the pump so and extra screen around the pump might be a good idea. Cooler pads also come in a variety of sizes so take measurements of the inside of the cooler panels when buying new pads.
Swamp cooler pads need to be changed each year either when you winterize or de-winterize the cooler.
The swamp cooler distribution tubing, commonly called the spider, distributes the water from the pump to the cooler pads. The tubing can sometimes get clogged and may have to be cleaned out or even changed if you stop getting enough water out of them. It is a good idea to check the distribution tubing regularly especially if the air doesn’t seem cool enough.
Swamp Cooler Electrical Box
The swamp cooler electrical box is where the main power supply comes into the swamp cooler. The power for the motor, the pump, and maybe even the purge pump comes from the electrical box.