A state-of-the-art evaporative cooler is keeping the backyard chickens cool while the summer heat rages. The days march on, the chucks are cool, but the appliance is overheating. What on Earth has gone wrong? Let’s get the side covers off and do the required detective work. Is that circulation pump hot to the touch? Careful, don’t touch it until the appliance has cooled a little.

Ensure an Interference-Free Input Path

Corralled in their enclosure, the livestock scenario we’ve illustrated wasn’t chosen at random. There’s dirt in here, feathers are flying, and there’s an accumulation of air-choking nastiness. The first tip, therefore, is to add ventilation to the chicken coop. The heat load reduces when additional ventilation is appended, so the evaporative cooler can properly carry out its duties. As for the benefits of a clear path, one facilitated by a fan funnelling enclosure, the unobstructed pathway prevents feathers and any other airborne materials from compromising the fan.

Check Second-Stage Couplings

Dependent on what model is in use, there could be several mechanical energy couplings at work. Modern portable units use a direct-drive mechanism. However, some models still use belt-driven designs. Like a loose fan belt slipping on an old car, a poorly tensioned drive belt will slip. When this flexible drive coupling doesn’t mesh properly with the water pump, frictional energy is produced. The thermal energy diffuses throughout the appliance frame, which means the entire unit is likely to overheat. Remove the side panels, find that belt, and adjust it until the tension returns. Alternatively, replace that belt if it’s showing signs of wear.

A Study in Clean Water Mechanics

Filled with water from some dubious faucet, the evaporative appliance begins to flounder. It generates a quiet but nasty grinding sound, feels hot to the touch, and equipment failure seems imminent. The water is dirty, perhaps even filled with sharp-edged quartz sand. It’s cutting into the hoses and clogging the pipes. That water pump is struggling to keep up, but the gritty suspension is causing damage. Pull the plug, empty the reservoir, and flush the system.

Pure water is best, although a superior portable evaporative cooler may include a water filtration system to deal with the issue. Still, filters do clog, so the best solution here is to find a clean water supply. Otherwise, tighten the drive belts, clear the airways, and keep that energy-efficient cooler in good working order. Incidentally, at least when there’s livestock nearby, plenty of feather-free and fur-less air is best. Increase enclosure ventilation and really keep the fur and feathers out of the appliance’s workings.