How to Use an Air Cooler Fan

AF-310 Image7Swamp cooler. Evaporative cooler. Air cooler fan. Whichever name you choose to use, these portable air cooling devices can provide welcome relief in hot, dry weather. An air cooler fan costs less to purchase than a portable air conditioner, which makes it a popular alternative for anyone on a budget. What's more, they use only a fraction of the electricity to operate, which makes them a smart choice for the environment and your for lowering your utility bills.

When operated properly, an air cooler can cool the air up to 20 degrees. But it's important to know how to work an air cooler properly in order to appreciate that maximum cooling level. This guide will outline what you need to know in order to get the best results from your own air cooler fan.


In arid climates, like the desert southwest of the United States, an air cooler is the perfect choice for cooling living and working spaces. But people in climates with high humidity will find it difficult to get satisfying results using a swamp cooler. This is because a swamp cooler relies upon the natural process of evaporation in order to cool the air. A fan pulls warm air through water-moistened pads and as evaporation occurs, the air is cooled. When the humidity levels are high, the air is already saturated with water so evaporation can't take place. This means the air cooler fan be ineffective at cooling the air.

You can read more about how air coolers works in our handy Evaporative Cooler FAQ. Make sure evaportive air cooler is the right choice for where you live.


Once you've brought an air cooler home, you need to decide where to place it. Unlike a portable air conditioner, air coolers doesn't require venting through a window, so you can place them pretty much anywhere in your room. Just be sure to leave enough clearance around the unit so that air can flow easily through the vents. Pull it at least 12 inches from any walls or furniture.

Most air coolers will even work out of doors (check your user manual to make sure your unit is rated for outdoor use), so you can enjoy a cool breeze on your deck or screened porch. Large commercial air coolers are used in manufacturing facilities, athletic fields, event venues and other locations where air conditioning would be impossible.

Air Flow

If you've used an air conditioner, then you probably know the room or building must be sealed tightly for the unit to efficiently cool the space. The same is not true with an swamp air cooler. In fact, it's imperative that you leave a window or door open when you are using a swamp cooler in order to provide a constant supply of fresh air for it to work.

CSW-10LV Image1Air Circulation

You can improve the cooling range of your evaportive air cooler by positioning electric fans around the room, redirecting the cool air to other parts of the room or building.

Water Supply

Air coolers rely on a ready supply of water to moisten the pads so that evaporation can occur. Portable swamp coolers all have water tanks of varying capacity that must be refilled periodically during use. Larger units usually have hose connectors to provide a continuous water supply so refilling isn't necessary.

When you fill your cooler's water tank, use fresh, cool water. In fact, the colder the water you use, the more heat it can absorb from the air - and the more effective the cooler will be. You can even put ice in your air cooler water reservoir - or in a special ice compartment on some models - that will cool the air even faster. But don't fill the tank entirely with ice, or you'll have to wait for it to melt before the cooler will be able to properly moisten the pads.

When you first turn on your air cooler fan, it takes a few minutes for the pump to circulate the water in the tank and thoroughly moisten the pads. So don't be surprised if you don't feel an immediate blast of cold air. Just wait five minutes and you'll begin to feel the cooling effects.

Maintenance and Cleaning

QC36D1 Image1Like every home appliance, a portable air cooler needs regular maintenance and cleaning in order to ensure it is operating at full capacity. Here's a list of what you should attend to regularly:

  • Vents and air filters - Every month or so, use a vacuum to remove dirt and dust from the fan vents; too much dirt in the vents will block air flow and reduce the swamp cooler effectiveness. If your portable cooler has an air filter, wash it in the sink and let it dry thoroughly before reinstalling.
  • Exterior - Clean the exterior of the unit with a damp cloth whenever needed. Avoid using abrasive detergents or you might damage the surface. Also, if your swamp cooler fan has an electric control panel, be very careful not to get it wet.
  • Water tank - If you live in a hard water area, you will need to periodically remove mineral buildup from inside the tank. Your manual should have instructions for accessing the water tank, which can be cleaned every 4 to 6 months with a mild detergent or vinegar.
  • Storage - If you are not going to use your air cooler for a day or more, be sure to drain the water tank completely. Be sure to let the unit dry completely before you put it in storage.

If your air cooler fan should develop that distinct musty smell that earned these coolers the name "swamp coolers", then it's probably because it's been left idle too long with water inside. Today's modern cooler pads are made of mildew resistant materials, however, so problems should be rare and it's easy to fix. To eliminate the smell, just add vinegar to your water tank. Running it for an hour or so should remove the smell.

Be sure to disconnect your portable air cooler from the power supply before conducting any maintenance.

An air cooler fan is a great alternative to air conditioning in a hot, dry climate. We offer a wide selection to meet your cooling needs, so don't wait if you think this is the right answer to your cooling needs.

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