Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sick Swampy er... I need Catchment!

Yesterday I was sitting in front of the Swamp cooler and surfing the net when I heard a noise and crystals started shooting out of the cooler's discharge. Good thing I wear glasses while I'm on the computer. Anyway one of the Stalactites that had been growing inside it because of the crappy water down here evidently broke loose and the fan started chopping it up in small crystals and spitting them out at me. After that I heard a weird noise coming from inside the cooler so my project for today was taking it down and cleaning it up. Turns out that in all of this the O-Ring belt that drives the pump got broken which is bad news because I hear the particular cooler is no longer made and you can't get parts from the manufacture anymore. More than likely the same O-Ring can be found from other places where it would likely be used for other applications, but I don't have a clue where that might be?
You think the outside looks bad you should have seen the inside. Some of it you will, but I'd forgotten to take pictures until I'd already started cleaning it up.
Part of the inside.
Shows the broken belt
You can see the broken O-Ring here and fortunately it was still in one piece. Just Me suggested using super glue to reconnect it so I tried it and it seems to be doing ok. Not sure for how long though??? In the mean time I'll be trying to track down a new one. If I can find them I'll probably buy several.
The insides
Note the scale buildup around the float shaft. This was supposed to slide up and down and move a lever showing how much water was in the pan. It was totally cemented in half full position so the only way I knew when it needed more water was when it started blowing hot air.
The inside was full of Stalactites and this just shows a few. I believe this is probably from dissolved calcite because of there being so much down here.
Glued together belt back on.

All of the crap I could get out of it. I really need catchment because rain water down here is about the only thing that would combat this problem. Of course which well the water comes from has a lot to do with it to.

All in all the little Swamp cooler is really amazing and who ever designed it was plenty smart! Its super efficient as far as power consumption goes and the design for pumping water from the sump and delivering it to the pad is very ingenious! Manufactures of residential, commercial and industrial evaporative coolers (Swamp Coolers) could learn a lot from looking at one of these.


  1. Wow, that is some impressive calcium build-up! Have you tried using water softeners that go in washing machines to counter act the calcium build-up? We lived in a little town here that the water was so hard there was an entire aisle at the grocery store devoted to softening the water in washing machines. I used vinegar in the dishwasher to cut the build up of calcium.

    Also on that belt could you pin it like they do treadle sewing machine belts until you get a new one if the super glue gives out?

  2. Rain catchment has moved to the top of your list. That's pretty serious build-up there. I hope you can locate an O-ring.


    don't know if this would work...but check it out.

    take care, David


  4. and we need to get some of that scrap tin paneling you have from Julianne...up in the air for some rain grabbing...?

    glad to help when I'm down there again..sometime in Aug. I'll bring Jackie to help.



  5. Funny Tffnguy

    I miss swamp coolers. We always had swamp coolers in El Paso and I would go up there every spring with my dad and help him clean the sand out of the cooler and change out the pads. Easiest things in the world to take care of and the darn things are not filled with copper.
    Down here in South Texas every white trash meth addict is trying steal all the copper they can and evan steal entire A/C units.
    Now people are starting to build cages around their A/C units.

  6. That looks pretty serious. being in the business before, you know better about preventative maint, and the importance of checkin on things once in a while I bet.

  7. Judy, I doubt that it could be pinned. The o-ring is probably only about 3/32nds thick. I don't think adding more stuff to the water would do much good and anything that has an odor would not be good because you would smell it coming out in the air.

    I can get better water, but it will be a good bit higher. or from Free to 8 cents a gallon. It could be filtered, but the filters would stop up way too fast for that to be done.

    Denese, no I have other stuff I need to do before I get catchment. Just wishful thinking for now.

    I'll check out the link Bigfoot. As far as using that siding for catchment though I already have plans for it and catchment isn't in the equation.

    CC it was the same in Plano with copper theft. some of the water down here is HELL on Swamp coolers.

  8. Nick, I knew what would happen, but didn't expect it to happen so quick. I figured I could make it to fall. I will have to clean it every fall or spring anyway and I'll have to find a supplier for parts.

  9. Just Me was exactly right to super glue the 'o' ring belt. I located o ring belts at the local hardware store in various lengths and diameters. I guess this would men a trip to Alpine. Simply square cut and super glue them together for the correct length.

  10. It appears that they have what I need on the link Bigfoot posted so I should be good to go. Matter of fact that is a great site to know about. Maybe the other one will hold up until I get a replacement? I may snoop around next time I go to Alpine though.

  11. tffn - Glad Bigfoot's link was able to help.

    I've never heard of swamp coolers before you and JW mentioned them in your blogs LOL but they seem to be life savers. How much power do they consume? Reckon, given the amount of calcite build-up you may be wiser buying the water you need in for the Swamp Cooler in future.

  12. would it be possible to distill the water before using it in your swampy?

  13. In my years in the machine tool trade we super glued O-rings together all the time. But they were for making a seal but never had one come apart. I believe when your in Odessa you should stop by M&M Sales on Kermit Hwy, close to POJO's as they sell O-rings of all sizes.

  14. just heard, Jack sullivans house blew apart in the last storm. wife is ok but roof gone and house gone. People on thier way to help

  15. Dani, I figured evaporative coolers (Swamp Coolers) would be popular down there, but it takes real low humidity for them to do the best job. They will work to an extent with humidity as high as about 40%, but the higher the humidity the cooling effect drops off a bunch. Since the humidity would normally be around 6% here they work very well doing about as good as their refrigerated counter parts and do it by using about 1/8th the electricity. On a low budget solar system it is about the only way to go. They do consume a lot of water though and that is a trade off between using electricity or using water. This one only uses 100 watts @ 115 volts on high where a refrigerated unit that would do about the same job would use about 800 watts.

    Catchment is the best way to go especially in an area where the water has a lot of minerals in it because the water evaporates leaving behind the mineral scale. It keeps building up until you have a condition like shown in this thread. Now rain water is basically free of minerals so you don't have a build up problem with it.

    Some might consider this a waste of water, but no water is lost it returns as rain somewhere else. On the other hand to stay even reasonably cool it would take running a generator or being on grid if you didn't have a very large solar system. That equates to adding to the carbon footprint.

    Seth, the swamp cooler uses between 8 and 12 gallons of water a day (depending on the humidity) and length of time running it so it would take mega solar distillery to keep up with it. You would also have all of that scale build up in the still to deal with so it would have to be cleaned often to.

  16. Frann, thanks. I'll check it out if I don't order something online first.

    Nick, I don't know Jack Sullivan unless it is just by face. Where does he live? Hate to hear that in any case.

  17. Jack and his wife are staying in a motel. They did have insurance and work on a new house will begin soon. They live on Salt Grass Draw on top of a hill and a big micro-burst blew things for 3/4 of a mile. The interior walls all fell when the roof blew off. She ran into the bathroom and is OK.

  18. If I can help other than $ let me know.

  19. Neil, thanks for stopping by and the invite to the Starlight. Sorry I couldn't make it.

  20. met neil face to face last night, great guy

  21. Got the cooler cleaned up pretty good and the belt is holding together fine so far. Problem now is that it keeps jumping over the top of the driven pulley and squalling when it gets on the shaft. I just took it off and used the cooler as a fan yesterday evening and last night. I tried WD40 and candle waxing on it and the pulleys thinking that would keep it from riding up in the pulley and jumping off on the shaft. That didn't work for long. Finally a while ago I took the o-ring/belt off and cleaned it good with Windex and then dish washing soap and then lubricated it with dish washing soap along with the pulleys. At least doing that I can get a couple of hours full use out of it before repeating that process. Hopefully a new o-ring will stop the problem?

  22. Good to hear you got the swampy going again. Frann has converted me to PB Spray from WD40. That stuff is awesome.

  23. Denese, I don't have anything against PB and if it was as easy to find as WD40 then I'd buy a can of it. Some say PB is better, but WD works fine for me usually.

    BTW also met Paul at the legion when he was there for ice. Another great guy.


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