Swamp coolers will grow mold if not properly maintained.
Mold potentially will blow throughout the residence.
Unit may eventually leak.
Mold in Evaporative Coolers = Mold in Your Air.
Evaporative, or swamp, coolers are commonly used for homes in warm and dry climates. They work by by saturating pads with water from a reservoir, then pulling air through the pads to take advantage of cooling from evaporation of the water on the pads. The excess water flows back to the reservoir where it is recycled, with fresh water being added to the reservoir to replace the water that evaporated. Swamp coolers can be a consistent source of mold growth, with the mold potentially being blown throughout the residence.
The Perfect Combination for Mold Growth
Swamp coolers are sources of water that can result in mold growth on building materials if they leak. If not properly drained and cleaned regularly, swamp coolers can leak, damaging the roof where they are often placed. Eventually the pads and reservoir will grow mold if not properly and continuously maintained.
Mold thrives by consuming organic materials. Often the pads are aspen or cellulose, which will grow mold. The alternative synthetic pads will still grow mold on the dust and debris that collects on the pads. This mold is then blown throughout the home affecting your indoor air.
Swamp coolers add humidity to homes. Although they are typically only used in arid regions with low humidity, it is possible to have localized humidity levels that exceed 60%, which would also promote mold growth. Keep the moisture level under control such as leaving another window open to reduce the overall humidity from the evaporative cooler.
Mold Prevention & Recommendations
It’s All About Maintenance
Swamp coolers take more maintenance and attention to make sure they’re operating efficiently and not harming your indoor air quality.
If it Smells Musty, Test it for Mold
Swab Test – If your house has a musty odor, don’t ignore it, as it can be an indicator of mold. Conduct a swab test anwhere you see or suspect mold in your swap cooler: the pan, pads, or ducts. Each swab tests includes labratory analysis, and you can purchase swab tests individually or as part of the Mold Check-Up.
Maintain it Every Week
Clean every 1-2 weeks — Clean out your evaporative cooler by draining and spraying out with a hose every 1-2 weeks. Make sure you are spraying off the pads and the water reservoir.
Change pads sooner — Change the pads every 6-8 weeks or earlier if an odor is detected.
Caution: If not using the cellulose or aspen pads, the alternative synthetic fiber pads can set off chemical sensitivies from the odors coming off the polyester or melamine.
Don’t Give Mold a Chance to Grow
if you can
Install a bleed-off line – a bleed-off line makes sure the water reservoir is exchanged more often, reducing both dirt and biological contaminants.