Preventative maintenance is an important part of keeping your swamp cooler running efficiently throughout the year. You should be performing an inspection of your pads periodically – and some may need to be changed more often than others.
There are not a lot of cooling pads on the market, so you’ll want to understand all of your options. Further, there are only two main types of pads: fiber and rigid. This means that every pad will fall into one of the two categories, and they may be built with different materials.
Fiber pads will generally need to be changed every 6 to 12 months while rigid ones can last for 5 to 8 years.
Why Do Swamp Cooler Pads Matter?
The swamp coolers are designed to use moisture to cool the air. Warm outside air is cooled in part because of the evaporative cooler pads. The pads remain wet so that they can cool the air – and offer moisture at the same time.
If the pads aren’t working properly, because they are not wet enough or they are breaking down, it can lead to problems with your air quality. You’ll find that swamp coolers are more effective when there is a high-quality cooler pad in place.
Regardless of the type of evaporative cooler you have, pads will need to be used. Fiber and rigid pads both offer benefits, though it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each as well.
We have identified the best four cooler pads on the market for you to consider inside of your swamp cooler.
Kuul Pads have set the standard for evaporative cooling media and fall into the category of rigid pads. They’re made in the USA by Port-A-Cool, LLC. These pads are durable and long-lasting, as long as the various suggestions are followed.
Port-A-Cool, LLC recommends that the water’s pH be maintained between 6 and 8. If the limits are exceeded, the resin content of the pad can be depleted, leading to a breakdown of structural integrity – and you’d find that you’d need to replace the pads with greater frequency.
Although the pads can last for a year, it is also recommended that the pads are removed and brushed every four to six weeks with a soft, bristled brush. Then, the system should be flushed so that debris is removed.
Further, Kuul Pads operate best when the sunk tank is enclosed, and water filters are cleaned weekly.
Aspen pads are designed for standard swamp coolers and are identified in the fiber category. They offer a good cooling capacity and deliver a pleasant wood odor. There are two sizes offered: 1 and 2-inch thick. The thicker ones are capable of absorbing more water.
Aspen pads are made of natural material, and feature aspen fibers that are woven together. They are identified as being able to hold water better than synthetic materials, which is important because you don’t want the pads to dry out.
Since the pads are made of fiber, it’s important to understand some of the downsides. First off, the pads will deteriorate throughout the year. You’ll need to replace them every year – and if they start to flake off too significantly, they’ll have to be replaced sooner. Additionally, when they start to deteriorate, it can lead to clogs in the pump and distribution tubes. This means that if you don’t replace the pads quickly enough, it can lead to expensive repairs.
Blue Synthetic Pads
Blue synthetic pads are commonly sold in home improvement stores. They’re the alternative to aspen pads because they’re not going to deteriorate. They’re completely odorless, and they can be easily sized to any evaporative cooler on the market.
Synthetic pads are capable of providing adequate cooling capacity, but not quite as well as fiber or rigid pads.
There are some downsides to these pads, too. They’re not going to be as good at absorbing water, so it’s possible that they’ll dry out, preventing you from getting the desired humidity level out of your system. These pads will need to be changed out every year. Additionally, because they’re not capable of absorbing as much water, it can cause rust inside of the cooler components.
Mastercool Swamp Pads
These cooler pads are designed for Mastercool and aerocool coolers. The filters are made out of paper in the shape of honeycombs. There are two sizes: 8” and 12”. The pads often end up with hard water mineral buildup over time, which is why they should be cleaned annually and replaced every three to five years.
Often, it’s recommended to install a water softener to the system so that the life of the pads is extended – and so that there’s no hard water buildup inside of the cooler.
While the pads offer excellent cooling capacity and won’t deteriorate, there are some cons. Beyond the hard water reducing the cooling, there is often an electrical smell when they’re first installed. This has to do with the paper material.
The Mastercool swamp pads are referred to as green paper pads, but they’re no longer being manufactured. As such, they may be nearly impossible to find on the market.
Choosing the Pads Right for You
It all comes down to this – the swamp cooler pad that you use in your evaporative cooler will have an impact on cooling and air quality. Some require more maintenance than others. You have to decide whether you want to sacrifice quality for a lower maintenance pad.
At Premier Industries, Inc., we find that the investment in Kuul pads is sensible. They last a long time and require some maintenance to keep them in the best possible condition. However, we know plenty of residential and commercial customers that use fiber and synthetic fiber pads.
Try the options. Once you have explored all of the different pads, it will be easier for you to develop a personal preference.
Should you have questions or need help with installing a new evaporative cooler, we’re here to help. Contact us at Premier to talk with any of our cooling professionals today.