Replacing Swamp Cooler Pads

I have an Alpine RW3000G evaporative cooler for the garage, and the pads were getting pretty bogged down with mineral deposits. They were changed out the pads a couple of months ago at the beginning of the summer, but it was definitely time for a new set.

Minerals on swamp cooler pads
Close-up Of Mineral Deposits

The tools and materials used for the removal and installation of the evaporative cooler pads are:

  • Pair of pliers
  • Utility knife
  • Replacement pad material (either aspen or synthetic)



Synthetic Pad Roll
Synthetic Replacement Pad Roll

First thing is to shut off the water going to the cooler. I did this because I planned on draining the existing water out of the system.

Next the panels holding the pads in place were removed.

Removing Swamp Cooler Pad Holders
Removing Swamp Cooler Pad Holders

Holders Ready To Disassemble
Window Cooler Ready To Disassemble

For the Alpine unit I have, removing the pads from the window coolers starts with unhooking the top holder.

Unhooking Top Holder
Unhooking Top Pad Holder

Pliers are used to remove the lower pad holders. I found it necessary sometimes to slightly bend the wire closer to 90 degrees to get these off.

Unhooking Bottom Holder
Unhooking Bottom Holder

When cutting the new pads, I just used the one of the old ones as a template for the three new ones.

Cutting New Pads
Cutting New Pads

Just before installing the new pads in the windows was as good a time as any to drain the old water from the system. Loosening the restraining nut from the bottom of the overflow drain was the only thing necessary to remove it.

Drain Bottom
Overflow Drain Bottom

Overflow Drain Top
Overflow Drain Top

The newly cut pads were reinstalled into the window coolers by just reversing the steps. These were placed back into the swamp cooler except for one, which allowed for installing the overflow drain.

The overflow drain was reinstalled once the water was drained out.

The water was turned back on to fill the system’s reservoir back up.

After Drain Install
Filling Reservoir Back Up

Once filled, scale guard was added to help prevent scaling and mineral build up on the pads.

Scale Guard
Scale Guard

The last pad holder was installed, and the system was turned on for testing.

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6 thoughts on “Replacing Swamp Cooler Pads”

  1. Pingback: Adventures In DIY
  2. OMGosh! I have looked all over for this information. I fixed the leaking tube, then I drained the tray and rinsed it out… However, I was having problems getting the pads off the panels. You showed me how, step by step. And, the good news is that your metal prongs are exactly like mine. I will be working on this again tomorrow, now that I have the information.

  3. Simple to the point and easy to follow instructions. I would add the zinc bar to help to rid the “swamp” smell and reduce mineral build up. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the zinc bar tip. I’ll have to try it when I replace the pads again in a couple of weeks.

  5. The water in Las Vegas has a lot of minerals so I end up changing the pads every 8 -10 weeks during the summer.

    We start using the swamp cooler around May, with a new set of pads. I change the pads again in July, and they usually last through September and October.

    If your water isn’t as hard as ours then your pads could last a year. I’ve seen claims online of it lasting longer than that, but I would just make it part of a yearly cleaning and maintenance.

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