How to Tighten a Belt on a Swamp Cooler

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Swamp coolers depend on a good supply of outside air being drawn through a clean, thoroughly wet filter in order to properly cool the house. There are a number of factors that can interfere with the transfer of air from the outside into the swamp cooler. A common problem is the fan belt that runs from the fan motor to the fan blade axle. This belt can become loose if it becomes worn and stretches out over time or if the motor slips in its sliding mount. The tightening of the belt is a straightforward and simple operation.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Crescent wrench
  • Pry bar

Remove the filter pad holder from the side of the cooler unit nearest the fan motor by prying up from the bottom of the filter pad holder with a flat head screwdriver.

Loosen the motor in the sliding motor mount by turning the bolt counterclockwise with a crescent wrench.

Check that the belt is securely around the pulley on the motor and on the fan axle.

Use a pry bar to force the motor back up into the slide mount until the belt is tight against the fan motor pulley and the fan housing pulley.

Hold the motor in place on the slide mount and tighten the mounting bolt. The belt should be tight enough to turn the fan blades, but not so tight that it squeaks or squeals when the fan motor is engaged. The belt is too tight if it makes noise.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the belt comes off the pulleys, it is worn out and will need to be replaced.
  • Oil the fan motor, drain the water from the reservoir, clean the pan of mineral buildup and debris and then refill the reservoir with fresh water. Taking the time to perform this basic maintenance will improve the efficiency of the cooler.
  • The wall switch in the house should be turned off and taped over so it cannot be turned on while the belt is being tightened.

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