Your Evaporative Cooler can ruin your furnace!

By
Home Inspector with Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area InterNACHI 10041206

Here in the Southwest region of the United States, many homeowners use Evaporative Coolers as a cheaper way to condition the air in their homes. They are also called Swamp Coolers. It is much cheaper to use, can be very effective! It also adds humidity to the air, much needed here in our dry climate. It has been said that New Mexico is the driest state in the US... I believe it!

It is common to see Evaporative Coolers on homes here. They are very creative as to how and where the coolers are mounted. An evaporative cooler (or swamp cooler) cools the indoor air using evaporation. It lowers the dry-bulb temperature of the indoor air. 

The major components of an evaporative cooler are the:
• cabinet
• water pump
• blower and motor
• media or water pads
• pump
When the blower fan turns on, it draws air from outside. The air passes over the wet pads and blows into the interior. The water in the pads absorbs the heat from the air as it passes through them. This causes some evaporation of the water, and the temperature of the air is lowered. It is this creation of a low dry-bulb temperature that produces the cooling effect. 
Evaporative coolers should not be installed where there is high humidity. They are used in dry climates very well. They are often mounted on top of a roof, but they can be inserted in a window opening or sidewall of a building, as well. Maintenance involves keeping the unit clean by cleaning or replacing the water pads, and cleaning the water sump tray and fan. Very simple systems. They do present problems though.

 

 

The ones that are mounted on the roofs are the worst design. Whoever decided this was good was smoking something... lol. These things almost always leak at one time or another, and being on the roof is an out of sight out of mind kinda thing. They can leak and you won't even know it till it's too late! They destroy shingles, leak into attics, introduce moisture into the duct system and can ruin your furnace! Not to mention, the roof, the sheathing, the attic area, and eventually the ceiling drywall when it's discovered too late!

 

Yes, it can happen, and I see it alot. Your gas operated furnace has heat exchangers that look like hollow tubes the flames blow into, makes them hot and the furnace fan blows air by them creating the heated air that goes into your house. Works perfect. But to a home with an Evaporative Cooler, the moisture that is introduced into the system can and will collect on the backside of the heat exchangers and cause them to rust.

When they rust, a hole can develop in them and allow the flames to escape the unit and into your house! Not so thrifty now is it? Mounting the coolers on the roof is a huge mistake, so if you're buying a house with a cooler mounted on the roof, have your Home Inspector check it out thoroughly, but don't stop there! It should be checked regularly, maybe even consider replacing it with a refrigerated A/C unit or at the very least, get that thing off of your roof!! Have both units serviced and inspected annually, and join me in the crusade to get these things off of roofs here in New Mexico!

************************************************************************************

Posted by

 
 
Fred Hernden 

 

 Superior Home Inspections

 

  505-588-9559

 

 **************************************************************************************

 Albuquerque, Rio Rancho New Mexico and surrounding areas...

 

“My mission is to provide superior quality home inspections to my clients to ensure peace of mind so they can confidently make the largest investment they may ever make!"

                   

Please visit my website at: www.SuperiorHomeInsp.com for details!

                 

 

                                     

 

 

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Topic:
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Groups:
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Tags:
gas furnaces
evaporative coolers
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Rainmaker
2,133,436
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Evaporative cooling was really popular here in Sacramento when I was growing up.  But, fortunately most everyone now has newer HVAC systems.  I had no idea that an evaporative cooler could damage your furnace, but it makes sense.

Sep 21, 2017 06:05 PM #1
Rainmaker
3,549,307
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have seen this first hand...Very costly if not maintained properly

Sep 21, 2017 06:46 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,755,110
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yummie!  I have never seen a swamp cooler, obviously, since they aren't used here, but your blogs about them have convinced me that if I ever have one I am calling you to come tell me how to maintain it!

Sep 22, 2017 02:40 AM #3
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1,341,731
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

We don't see swamp coolers in Oklahoma City and I forgot they existed until your post about them.

Sep 22, 2017 07:07 AM #4
Rainmaker
523,724
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Myrl - Yep, it happens.... they are very popular here because they are cheap to operate.

William - They can be pretty efficient.... and they can destroy your home... lol

Sep 22, 2017 07:49 AM #5
Rainmaker
523,724
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Jay - They are a very simple system, unlikely you will ever have one, I would be happy to service it for you sir! 

PS - You don't want one!

Joe - They are very popular here!

Sep 22, 2017 07:52 AM #6
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2,667,521
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Fred over the years I've seen a lot of swamp coolers get replaced with HVAC systems and thankfully so. Nobody installs them anymore here in my area. Swamp coolers did create so many issues! And sometimes people would just quit using them - and just leave them on the roof. Seriously?  Did you not think that would create a problem upon selling your home?

Sep 22, 2017 10:50 AM #7
Rainmaker
523,724
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Anna Banana - I see them getting replaced by refrigerated units alot too, but they are still very popular here. They DO present problems, especially when they're on the roof! Always some sort of problem!

Sep 23, 2017 08:12 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,556,288
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I don't know that much about this the way you do, Fred. Thank you for educating me on all these fronts! :)

Sep 26, 2017 08:51 PM #9
Rainmaker
2,556,288
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Refrigerated units are ideal. I really like the idea! I totally see it being possible, Anna Banana Kruchten,CRS,CRB,GRI

Sep 26, 2017 08:53 PM #10
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Fred Hernden, CMI

Albuquerque area Master Inspector
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