Adventures in Swamp Cooler Land

I’m a little late this year getting the swamp cooler, aka evaporative cooler, ready for the season.

Those of you reading this from more humid realms may not be familiar with this device.  Out West, especially in the desert, it’s necessary to add some humidity to the cooling air.  Hence, an evaporative cooler which mixes water with the air it blows into the house.  You can get more information here.  Our water in the desert has a high mineral content which leads to corrosive failure of metal parts so annual maintenance of a swamp cooler is imperative.

When I inspected ours several weeks ago, I realized one of the louvers was rotting out.  One of the supporting legs had also rotted through.  I did some research to decide whether to replace the unit (several hundred dollars plus installation) or fix it myself.  Being an old retired coot with lots of free time on a pretty fixed income, as well as years of experience with swamp coolers, I chose the latter course, of course.

So today, having all my ducks in a row, knowing the correct type and size leg kit, the part number for the louver from the manufacturer’s web-site,  I journeyed to the local dealer—-a hardware/building supply/miscellaneous goods outfit called Sutherland’s.  I bought the correct leg kit, a little disappointed I had to buy a full set of four instead of just the parts I needed to fix one leg.  As long as I was there I bought some cleaner as well.  While the lovely señorita and I waited for the computer to approve my purchase, i inquired about ordering a louver, they being an authorized dealer for my brand of swamp cooler.  She found the manager and when he was done assisting another customer, we headed into his office and he began to take down the make/model/id#/etc of my cooler.  He was pleased and surprised that I even had the number of the louver.  Suddenly a light bulb went on over his head (metaphorically speaking, of course) and he recalled a cooler they had cannibalized a year ago.  Mirabile dictu, there were not one but THREE louvers of the right size and configuration sitting on one of those “not sure what to do with these” shelves all hardware stores have..  And about half the price of a newly ordered one, less freight!!!

Needless to say, my swamp cooler is restored to usable condition.

But, as with any home project, there was a slight emergency.  The little valve that supplies the water to the unit had frozen from corrosion (our water is very high in mineral content) and broke, forcing me to turn off the water supply at the street,  As I pulled out of the driveway to visit my favorite Ace Hardware a 1/4 mile away to get a new valve, wouldn’t you know the iPod would chose to play the title song of the Beatles’ second movie: HELP.