Evaporative air conditioners need to be shut down for the winter

Does My Evaporative Cooler Need a Winter Shutdown?

Rooftop evaporative coolers are ideal for adding refreshingly cool air to the home during those scorching summer days.

As evaporative cooling systems (swamp cooler in the US) are used only in warmer weather, all fixed units need to be shut down properly before the winter. Shutting down the system can avoid unnecessary wear and tear and also ensures the wellbeing of your family.

With the air flowing from outside through ducts and vents, it’s essential to seal the aperture at the roof to stop the cold winter air from entering and warm air from escaping.

Also, an improperly drained system can leave a stagnant pool of water, which becomes the perfect breeding ground for algae and bacteria.

These tiny organisms can find their way into the vents and ultimately end up in the air of your home by spring.

Performing a winter shutdown on an evaporative air conditioner can:

  • Improve the heating efficiency of a home
  • Reduce the risk of bacteria and algae build up, particularly in ducted evaporative coolers
  • Maintain the condition of the evaporative cooler
  • Isolate the power and water supplies to avoid faults and increase safety

The shutdown is a service that shouldn’t be skipped if you want to maximise the lifespan of an evaporative cooler and maintain the quality of the air inside your home. You don’t want it blowing hot air when summer hits.

March to April is the optimal time to be shutting down the unit – before it’s too cold but not before you are done with the cooling capabilities.

So, now the million-dollar question is, do I call a professional for a winter shutdown or is it something I can do myself with the touch of a button?

The answer depends entirely on the system in use. Many older models require a manual shut down while some modern systems can take care of the job themselves.

rooftop evaporative cooler

How Does Evaporative Cooling Work?

Evaporative cooling is a clever and energy-efficient way to cool your home or space, especially in hot and dry climates. It operates on a simple principle: water’s ability to absorb heat from its surroundings as it evaporates.

Imagine a hot summer day. When you sweat, and the breeze hits your skin, it feels cooler, right? That’s because as sweat evaporates from your skin’s surface, it takes away some of your body heat with it. Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, work on a similar concept.

Here’s how it works: An evaporative cooler draws in warm outside air and passes it through water-saturated pads. As the warm air moves through a wet filter pad, the water evaporates into the air, absorbing the heat in the process. This evaporating moisture-laden air is then blown into your living space, creating a cooling effect, lowering the temperature and increasing humidity.

One key advantage of evaporative cooling is its eco-friendliness. Unlike traditional air conditioners that use refrigerants and consume a lot of electricity, evaporative coolers use less energy and don’t harm the environment. However, they are most effective in dry climates where the air is not already heavily saturated with moisture.

They can even be operated by a next generation controller, which turns your smartphone into a powerful, multifunctional controller. That way you can cool your home down before you even arrive.

In conclusion, evaporative cooling is a cost-effective and energy-efficient method with an impressive cooling capacity. Understanding how it works can help you make the most of this cooling technology.

Evaporative Air Conditioner Shutdown – What’s Involved?

If your evaporative cooling unit is from a leading brand and was installed in recent years, then there’s a good chance that it’s equipped with the functions to take care of its own shutdown.

There are several quality options available in Australia that require little input from the owner. For example, the Kaden Classic series evaporative coolers are impressive units designed with its smart water management and automatic winter seal that’s activated via the accompanying remote.

Alternatively, the Braemar Paradigm series by Seeley International is another prime example. This top-of-the-line series of Australian manufactured evaporative coolers (swamp coolers) automatically empties the water reservoir when the system is not in use. AutoWinterseal technology closes the ducts in the off season.

These features are found in newer models, so if your system dates back to a previous decade, the chances are a winter shutdown will be a manual job – one that can be physically demanding.

An evaporative cooler is one of the most energy efficient cooling units on the market, and you want to keep it that way. Australia’s hot summers are demanding, so you need evaporative air coolers to be in top shape. Why not get professional help and advice?

Metropolitan Air Conditioning is always open and is available for the task. Contact us for a winter shutdown service and our technicians will:

  • Inspect the wear and condition of the unit
  • Clean and flush the filter and cooling pads
  • Drain and clean the water reservoir to stop vermin from entering
  • Remove dirt and grime before washing with soapy water
  • Empty and clean the pump basket, filter and distributor channels
  • Isolate water supply line
  • Isolate electrical supply
  • Secure the air conditioner with supplied cover or tarpaulin
  • Close off all air vents throughout the home

ducted air con vent

The Benefits of a Well-Maintained Evaporative Cooler

Maintaining your evaporative cooler year-round, including during the winter months, can offer several valuable advantages. Here’s why keeping your cooler in good shape is a smart move:

  1. Prolonged lifespan: Regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of your evaporative cooler. Cleaning and inspecting the system prevents wear and tear, ensuring it serves you well for years to come.
  2. Energy efficiency: A well-maintained cooler operates more efficiently, consuming less energy while delivering the same cooling performance. This translates to lower energy bills and reduces environmental impact.
  3. Improved air quality: Cleaned and well-maintained coolers provide better indoor air quality, ideal for your well-being. They remove dust, pollen, and other contaminants from the incoming air, making your home a healthier place to live. Cleaning will also prevent algae growth.
  4. Consistent cooling: Regular maintenance helps your cooler maintain its cooling efficiency. You’ll enjoy consistent and comfortable temperatures throughout the hot season, even during scorching days.
  5. Cost savings: By preventing major breakdowns and costly repairs, maintenance saves you money in the long run. Small issues can be addressed before they turn into expensive problems.
  6. Winter preparedness: Properly shutting down your evaporative cooler for the winter is essential. Maintenance ensures it’s ready to hibernate without damage, and you won’t encounter unpleasant surprises when you need it again in the spring.

In conclusion, the benefits of maintaining your evaporative cooler extend far beyond just cooling your home. Regular upkeep ensures longevity, energy efficiency, cost savings, healthier indoor air quality, and it will work effectively when you need it most.

So, whether it’s summer or winter, taking care of your cooler is a wise investment in home comfort and your wallet.

Metropolitan AC technician works on an evaporative cooler

DIY Air Conditioner Winter Shutdown

If you’re looking to save a few quid, you can always shut down the system yourself. Just be mindful of the risks and always follow the appropriate safety precautions. If ever in doubt, contact a professional.

First off, disconnect the power to the unit if it’s safe to do so and shut off the tap that supplies the water. Next, the reservoir should be drained and cleaned with soapy water to eliminate the dirt and grime. Then give the filter pads a good clean.

Also, make sure the vents are closed. Leaving them open can be a real chink in your insulation. Finally, it’s time to deploy the cover. By covering the unit in winter, you protect it from potentially freezing conditions and limit the risk of insects and other pests setting up shop.

If you safely follow these steps, your evaporative air conditioner will be nicely primed and ready for another summer of cooling. Remove the cover and switch the water and power back on when the time is right.

For peace of mind, contact us before the weather drops and we’ll put your evaporative cooler into hibernation, ready to wake up nice and fresh when you need it. We work with Australian-designed systems that are suited to our climate.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.


Published: 2021-03-31

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