Close to the top of an owner’s list of questions, there’s a common query: when is the appliance going to need refilling? If a portable evaporative cooler includes a water level gauge, then keep monitoring that fill level. But what if this feature is conspicuously absent? The tank is going to run dry, and the water-soaked media is going to shrink and wither unless it’s refilled.

Assessing Dry Running Costs

A portable evaporative cooler keeps everyone and everything cool until suddenly it doesn’t. In other words, there’s no avoiding an empty tank, not unless you take action first. Water index marks, a level gauge, for want of a better label, should reside somewhere close to the tank. If this gauge indicates low water level conditions, follow the refill procedure, as shown in the operator manual. If the gauge feature isn’t included, don’t just wait for the equipment to lose its high-functioning edge. Remember, when the water-soaked pads or special media constantly shrink and expand, they’ll accumulate damage quickly. Furthermore, the system joints really don’t respond well to a system that runs dry. Again, just to reiterate the point, always refill the tank before it dries up.

Noticing the Refill Cues

Don’t let the water pump run dry. It’ll age quickly and fail if it’s operated without its watery medium. Is the air noticeably warmer? What about the water-soaked media? Are the pads dry and desiccated and on the verge of withering? Either there’s a seal leak or the appliance reservoir is about to hit empty. Fill the tank to gain peak performing power again. Perhaps the pads are still wet but they’re dotted with dirt and little bits of debris. Like a car’s fuel tank, dirt sits at the bottom of a portable evaporative cooler’s tank, so you’ll know the reservoir is in trouble if its pump is kicking out this bottom layer of sediment. Finally, tanks do empty faster when coolers are strained. If it’s being used in a relatively cool area, the tank will last a few hours. Used in a baking hot area, though, the evaporative effect accelerates.

Fill the reservoir regularly, especially when the cooling equipment is stationed within a super-hot area. Constantly monitor the water gauge, well, if it’s provided. Otherwise, do respond quickly to the drying up cues covered above. Remember, the appliance pump, its media, and its seals are all designed to run wet. Left to run dry due to a poorly maintained refilling policy, the normally reliable wet-run components will accumulate damage. At the very least, turn off the pump if a dry-run event is suspected.