Why does my Swamp Cooler Stink?

A swamp cooler is one of the best and cost effective ways to keep your home cool during summers. But sometimes, you may have notice the swamp coolers smell like fish or sometimes the swamp cooler can smell like burning. Why is this?

Why does my swamp cooler stink? Most of the time, that funny smell is due to poor maintenance. You haven’t had it serviced properly, it hasn’t been cleaned out, the filters haven’t been cleaned or replaced. So a lot of times the funny smell that you get could be that you haven’t had the system properly maintained.

Again, if there’s a funny smell it probably means there might be some bacteria and the one thing you don’t want to do is introduce that bacteria into your family. Make sure that you have your system serviced on a regular basis twice a year. Springtime startup, winter time closed down and that should help eliminate those funny odors that you may get during the evaporative cooling season.


How do I stop my swamp cooler from smelling?

Your air conditioning or your swamp cooling system is actually working much harder than your automobile. But we do very little to maintain the one thing in our house that keeps us comfortable.

Well, in my opinion, swamp coolers need twice a year service. The most important service of course is your springtime service where your filter medias change, the systems cleaned out lubricated and getting ready for summer use.

Another very, very important service is your winterizing of the system and this is when the system’s closed down, kind of put to bed if you would because you don’t want to leave water in your system for two or three or four months without being used causing corrosion, building up mold and mildew.

So those are the two most important services. We recommend that your system be serviced twice a year.

Filter media

Synthetic and paper material are about 60% efficient in cooling and most of your service companies and I’m talking most of your swamp coolers companies will use synthetic and paper filter media. Why? Both come and rolls. Therefore, they can take them up on the roof or take them anywhere that coolers need to have their pads changed and these are mostly used on your basic swamp coolers and be cut to size.

So they’re doing it at a convenience for them not for your comfort. I don’t recommend these. These are not efficient pads to be used in your evaporative coolers. They don’t cool very well.

What a swamp coolers specialist recommends is what the factory recommends and that is Aspin pads. This is what when you buy an evaporative cooler, the cooler comes with. Aspen wood shaved up, looks like straw.

The reason this is such an excellent cooling material about 83% of your synthetic filter medium is because Aspen wood when it gets wet swells up. So this filter media will actually swell up to twice the size that it is.

Another thing you need to look for when you buy Aspen pads is that it is a dense Aspen pad. When someone hold it up, you shouldn’t be able to see them through it. And that’s how you tell if you have a high grade or a low grade of Aspen filter. So you shouldn’t be able to see the person standing on the other side.

You may see a little light, but that’s shows the density of this filter medium. A dense swamp cooler is recommended for optimum cooling for your basic evaporative cooler or swamp cooler.


High performance swamp coolers.

This picture shows a celdek filter media or a rigid media.

It’s kind of a cardboard type substance. And it is what is used in the high performance swamp coolers. It comes in a eight inch model, it comes in a 12 inch model and also what’s called a four by four.

And that being that the filter media is either eight inches thick or 12 inches thick. Keep this in mind the thicker the pad, the colder and the drier the air. The longer that air has to travel through a wet dense filter media, the colder it’s going to be when it comes out the other side. It is about 93% efficient on a very hot and dry day

And the neat thing celdek filter media is with proper maintenance, twice a year service and an auto flush system installed within your high performance system, these filters will last anywhere from four to six years. They don’t have to be replaced every year. They do have to be cleaned and service.

These sitting in a in your in your cooler with water have a tendency to get saturated with water and you have the possibility of picking up mold and mildew. So with that in mind, keep in mind your evaporative cooler works very hard to keep you comfortable in your home with fresh, clean and healthy air.


A properly-serviced swamp cooler can not only save you money on your utilities but can also keep you very healthy during the summer months where air conditioning dries out the air in your house. In fact air conditioners can cause nose bleedings in the morning sometimes because they air conditioners are running. And as you know, air conditioning is designed to remove all the moisture from your home. That’s why evaporative cooling is such a popular way of staying cool here in the summer.

Are Swamp Coolers Effective?