How Often to Change Filters in Swamp Coolers

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A swamp cooler releases cool air through a series of vents into your home.

A swamp cooler, also known as an evaporative cooler, is an alternative air conditioning system that cools outdoor air by passing it over pads containing water. The water evaporates, resulting in cool air being forced out of the device and into your home or business. Swamp coolers work best when it is hot outside and are often found in desert areas and areas with low humidity. Swamp coolers contain filters that need changing to keep the devices working properly.


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Filter Changing Timeline

Change your swamp cooler's filters, if present, once a month if you use the air conditioning system on a continuous basis. When replacing the filters, also replace the swamp cooler's water pads. Filters and water pads are available directly from your swamp cooler's manufacturer, hardware and home improvement stores and air conditioning supply stores, as well as online. Disconnect your swamp cooler's electrical cord before opening the device and removing the filters and pads. Not all swamp coolers contain filters but all such devices do contain water pads that need changing monthly.


End of Season Care

Drain and clean your swamp cooler after the summer season is over to remove any sediment and mineral buildup, then replace the device's pads and filters. Check the cooler's reservoir, pump and water lines and replace any needed parts. Consult your swamp cooler's manual on parts replacement if you plan on performing the maintenance work yourself, or contact a commercial swamp cooler repair service to replace any needed parts.


Filter and Pad Cleaning

Certain paper and synthetic filters and water pads can be cleaned with a weak acid or a soap solution of dishwashing soap and warm water. After cleaning the filters or pads, let them dry thoroughly before reinstalling them in your swamp cooler.



When removing and reinstalling filters and pads, look closely at how the filter or pad is in place inside of your swamp cooler. The filters and pads are held in place with one or more retainers surrounded by an outer frame. Wipe the retainers and frames clean with a damp cloth or rag to remove any mineral or sediment deposits. Make sure you install the retainer and frames back in place correctly so no gaps are present around the filter or pad.


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