A swamp, or evaporative, cooler is an energy-efficient cooling system suitable for hot, dry climates. A fan pulls air in and through fiber pads while water trickles over them, adding humidity and cooling the interior of the home. Unlike a standard air conditioning unit, the swamp cooler requires a small amount of energy -- equivalent to the usage of a simple box fan. Cleaning the pads and water reservoir every spring improves the performance of the cooler.
Unplug the swamp cooler. Turn the water off.
Take the back panel off the swamp cooler. Remove the old fiber pads and set aside.
Drain the water in the swamp cooler by opening the drain plug or siphoning with a hose.
Brush the inside of the swamp cooler with a stiff-bristled brush or whisk broom. Use a wet/dry shop vacuum to remove the dust and dirt quickly.
Pour the white vinegar into the water reservoir and allow to soak for an hour. Drain into a bucket. Scrub the bottom of the reservoir and rinse with clean water. If the reservoir is leaking, allow to dry completely and seal with silicon sealant. Allow to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.
Lubricate the motor and fan with a few drops of lubricating oil.
Unroll the new fiber padding. Use the old pads as patterns, weighing them down with rocks or bricks. Cut out new pads with heavy-duty scissors or shears. Install the new pads in the sides and back panel of the cooler.
Turn the water back on and allow the reservoir to fill. Adjust the float by bending it up or down if necessary.
Put the back panel in place, making sure it is securely attached.
Plug the cooler in and turn it on. Check the pump and fan to ensure that the water is trickling and the fan is turning properly.