Outside of a laboratory clean room, there’s no such thing as clean air. Always present, there are tiny bits of dirt and particulate matter suspended in our surroundings. No matter where we go, airborne pollutants follow. Far from being purely manmade, many of these floating specks are naturally produced. No worries, they’re too widely dispersed to cause trouble. That’s great, except cooler pads have a habit of snagging everything they collect.

Evaporative Cooler Pads Snag Airborne Debris

Dirt and grime, pet dander and pollen, all of these airborne motes get sucked into fan blades. Sad to say, they simply can’t escape the large motorized vanes. On a normal fan, that wouldn’t be much of an issue. After passing through the fan, the debris would be on its merry way. That’s not what happens with an evaporative cooler. After the air and its accompanying pollutants zip through the fan, they’re snared by the wetted cooler pads. Like a fly caught on sticky flypaper, the dirt and detritus sink into the water-saturated cooling media. That’s a problem. No sweat, a maintenance technician will take soon take care of this unpleasant situation.

Tips on Controlling Cooling Media Dirt

If there’s an intake filter covering the fan grill, check it to see if it’s got any holes. Loose or torn, the material sheet won’t stop airborne debris if it’s not fully covering the fan cage. However, intake filters can attenuate appliance performance, so not every evaporative cooler will include such a feature. Moving forward, the maintenance work targets the cooling media. Thinking back to the naturally occurring pollutants, those tiny specks can take root. Exposed to the sun and the pad water, they could even spread. To stop algae and other trapped pollutants from growing, don’t expose the pads to direct sunlight. As a second layer of defence, let the pads fully dry out at the end of each day. As the unit leaves service, pull the pads and dry them. Mildewy growths can’t spread on dry pads.

Last in our pad protection guide, clean and flush the cooling media. Remove the pads, power OFF the appliance, and wash them down with a moderately pressurized water hose. Of some importance, cooling pads in evaporative coolers are durable, but they won’t last forever. If the material, be it cellulose or some other sponge-like substance, is beginning to crumble, replace the pads. Also, do know that hard water issues shorten their lifespan. To stop the dirt and hard water double-punch, install an inline water filter. Incidentally, just like any other filtration cartridge, that fitting will require maintenance.