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How Do I operate The Swamp Cooler on My RV?

by Lori Cook
(Richland WA)

We just bought an 86 Toyota RV with a Pla-cool swamp cooler. It has been sitting in covered storage. It is hooked to the waterline but I am not sure if I have to get up on the roof to put water in it for start up or if the water pump will handle it once I get the pump going. The owner's manual doesn't say what to do.

ANSWER: Hi Lori thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

I am afraid regardless of whether you get water to the swamp cooler or not you will probably end up on the roof to perform some routine maintenance on the swamp cooler itself.

You first need to know that the pump on the Swamp Cooler is not designed to get the water from your RV's holding tank up to the cooler it is designed to circulate the water already in the cooler and keep the foam cooler pad moist. The water goes up to the cooler when you are hooked up to city water or when you have your RV's water pump on when not hooked up to water.

somewhere in your motorhome is a little valve hooked to the cooler's water line to let the water go up there. Once the water is in the cooler you then turn on the swamp cooler pump and then the blower motor. On some models of this cooler one switch does both.

I strongly suggest that you check the Swamp Cooler prior to even attempting to get water to it. In fact the best way to do this inspection is have someone on the roof with the swamp cooler cover off when you turn on the water. Below are the items to inspect.

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* Check the float valve that lets the water into the cooler for proper operation. Is it letting water into the cooler and shutting off the water supply when it reaches the proper level.

* Check the foam cooler pad. Is it dry rotted? dirty? (the foam pad can be washed if it is not dry rotted). If the pad needs to be replaced you have to be aware that Pla-Cool is no longer in business and that you have to buy some evaporative cooler pad material and create your own pad.

* Is the cooler's water pump working properly? Is it properly covering the cooler pad with water? Is there built up of minerals around the base of the pump that's hindering it's operation?

* Is the fan operating properly?

Hopefully everything is working properly and you do not need to replace any major components as I said earlier Pla-Cool is out of business and replace parts are going to be very hard to find.

Hope this helps.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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