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Swamp Cooler Issue

LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey all,

I recently borrowed a portable swamp cooler from my dad, as my apartment doesn't have A/C and it's hotter than death in the afternoons. The only problem with it so far is that it seems to be doing little aside from acting as a glorified fan.

I took off the back and figured out that the absorbent pad that's supposed to be picking up water from the reservoir (via a motor that spins two rods that move the pad through the water and up) is not as absorbent as it should be, and stays relatively dry. I'm wondering if they sell pads like this at home stores so that I can cut a length and attach it to the rods. I would need a way to attach a sheet of it to the rods, however. Right now it looks like the pad is wrapped around two rods with a seem that keeps it together. Maybe staples or something would work?

For reference, the model swamp cooler is this one, and I can take photos of what I'm talking about if needed.

Thanks for the help!

LavaKnight on

Posts

  • TyrantCowTyrantCow Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    you put water in it?

    it needs water.

  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Yes. It's not staying dry due to a lack of water, it's staying dry due to some other issue (which I believe to be a old and possibly bad absorbent pad).

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    The Swamp Cooler needs water in it in order to function and there can often times be airflow issues. If you batten down the windows and close the doors before turning it on, it's not going to work well.

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  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Just to clarify, I did add water from the beginning, and have made sure to keep it full. The bottom of the pad is sitting in the water reservoir, and should be soaking up water, but is coming up relatively dry.

  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Living in Florida, I always found these things to be a bad idea. But then, in a place lacking 100% humidity all the time and where mold is not a concern, I can imagine them being pretty useful.

    Which makes me wonder, is it over 50% humidity in your area? If so, the water wont evaporate quickly or effectively.

    Until you get it working, a damp dish towel (soak, wring, put in fridge if possible, wear) on the nape of your neck will make you feel a lot cooler and won't get you wet if you wring it. Making a airflow path through your apartment (if you have windows on multiple sides of your house) will keep the place cooler as well.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    That would be the other thing. Swamp Coolers work best in places where the natural humidity is very, very low. If the ambient humidity is already pretty high, then you're not going to have much of the required evaporation action you need going on.

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  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I'm in Nevada, so no, we're not very humid here.

    I'm chalking the "not so coolness" up to one of two things. Either the unit itself just isn't very good (possible, for a portable unit), or the absorbent pad, which I mentioned, isn't very efficient. Does anyone have any experience with absorbent padding? I know my dad's swamp cooler uses some foam-meshy stuff, but I can't imagine that it would work for a smaller unit like this. The pad is basically a vertical conveyor belt that's supposed to pick water up and let a fan pull it through.

    I might just end up going to Home Depot to see it they carry any sort of absorbent fabric that may suit my needs.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Sounds like there's every reason for that thing working just fine. Is there a model number you can google, or company information you can use to contact them?

    Origin ID: Null_Cypher
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  • tech_huntertech_hunter Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I don't have any experience with these really but looking on line it looks like you might be referring to the Water cooling pad, which from the product information states that it never needs to be replaced.

    So I don't know why it wouldn't be working or seeming to not be getting wet. Maybe its moving thorough the water too fast and not able to soak up the water, there any settings you can fiddle with? You should ask your dad if it ever worked for him maybe its just broken.

    Sig to mucho Grande!
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Most of the time the pad doesn't get moved through the water, the water gets pumped up and drips down the pad, usually from little nozzles up above.

    Check the water trap/bucket inside and make sure that the water intake for the pump is not clogged.

    Also, a good swamp cooler can only give you about a 20 degree swing in the best of conditions, and a portable will probably only be able to cool half a single room.

  • PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User
    edited July 2009
    I have a portable swamp cooler built for cars that I use sometimes.

    four important things:

    pad should be wet, not soaking wet but just damp
    air intake should be dry air, which means it won't work unless you have lots of ventilation or pipe air in from outside
    all airflow should go through the pad, so make sure it fits in there properly
    air outlet should be directed at balls

    I've used it near reno and it was enough to keep me sleeping till 3 in the afternoon in a closed tent in the sun in the desert, under a fucking quilt but I had to put it about 2 feet away and blowing straight on my face. Most little swamp coolers won't actually cool a room, they'll just put out a cold stream of air so you have to get right up on them, especially with an in-room unit like that it will increase the humidity in the room until it stops working. I've never had good luck with cheap swamp coolers though, maybe it just sucks?

    try ice water too

  • EWomEWom Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    you could always do a white trash swamp cooler.

    Cooler full of dry ice, water, and regular ice, box fan blowing behind it. But it pretty much just blows cold air in a narrow area, and doesn't actually cool down the room, but my uncle used to always do this, and have it pointed right at him. Which of course fucked over the rest of his family,
    "Why do we need AC? I feel just fine" as their dying of heatstroke :p

    Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.
  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    EWom wrote: »
    you could always do a white trash swamp cooler.

    Cooler full of dry ice, water, and regular ice, box fan blowing behind it. But it pretty much just blows cold air in a narrow area, and doesn't actually cool down the room, but my uncle used to always do this, and have it pointed right at him. Which of course fucked over the rest of his family,
    "Why do we need AC? I feel just fine" as their dying of heatstroke :p

    Yeah, it works, until you start an electrical fire with the condensation.

    Seriously, I'd drop the gimmicky tools and go with the tried and true ones. Air circulation, cool and damp washcloths, hot drinks, spicy food.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I know this is probably a dumb question, but does it have a switch somewhere that toggles between fan and swamp cooler? I know for mine the off position is when the dial is straight up and down, fan only is to the left, and swamp cooler is to the right.

    And like everyone else has said, make sure you've got plenty of water in the reservoir (sounds like you do), put it in front of a window, and point it at the other open window in the room. Yes, you should only have 2 windows open.

  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Yeah, I've pressed the "cool" button in order to get the swamp cooler portion running. As far as I can tell from opening it up, all that does is turn on the motor which turns the rods which move the Cooler Pad through the water. Again, no pump is involved, the pad moves like a conveyor belt through the water.

    I'm mostly interested in it cooling myself and my small room in my tiny apartment, so airflow is not too big of a deal. I'm not really expecting it to bring my whole place down to 50 degrees or anything.

    Also, the pad is relatively dry unless I actually spray it, but it doesn't last long whilst sprayed.

    Thanks for the tips everyone. I might go in search of a new pad later today to troubleshoot. I know it says they never need to be replaced, but dammed if I trust marketing, and it couldn't really hurt, as it's not working as well as I'd like it to be right now.

  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Lava, airflow is a big deal. That's how it works. If you saturate the air in your room, it won't pick up the water from the cooler and soon you'll just have a hot, damp room. The airflow ensures that fresh water is constantly evaporating into the air, and leaving before it can warm.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Well, I'll try opening two windows a crack.

    Here's a photo for reference. As you can see, my window is more of a fire escape than anything, with a beautiful view of brick. I have the unit close to the wall (I know, airflow...) because my desk is just in behind where I took the photo. That is, I'd like it to be blowing on me.

    http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/9295/img3771.jpg

    And this is the view inside the unit, from above. You can see the vertical pad and the reservoir beneath it.

    http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/3453/img3772.jpg

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    [strike]Looks to me like that pad is supposed to rotate, i.e. turn the pad on a track so that it's constantly moving through the water. Does it rotate when you turn it on? [/strike] Just read your other post, have to read more carefully.

    I think that you might have extremely better luck just going to your local home depot, and buying a portable air conditioner. They aren't cheap, $300+ for a decent one, but if you plan to stay there for a awhile, there's pretty much no other option, as Nevada in the summer pretty much requires you to have some sort of AC solution.

  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Alternatively (and maybe I'm under-solving here since I've never been to NV save for a weekend in Vegas), but wouldn't a couple oscillating fans do the job for a small apartment?

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Once you're cracking over a 100 degrees, beyond real air conditioning, there just isn't a whole lot you can do, fans or not. Although at least from the pictures, that apartment looks to have masonry block walls, which should significantly help with keeping heat out for most of the day. The problem of course is at night they then radiate out all that heat they soaked up during the day. He could probably keep the temp down 10 or 15 degrees by covering large windows either with large drapes, tinting, or both. Not running a lot of high heat appliances, specifically computers usually. And limiting coming and going into the apt.

  • tech_huntertech_hunter Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Actually a little window ac unit runs for uner 100 at home depot here is one Although recently I was in home depot and they had ones on sale for $89

    Sig to mucho Grande!
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