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How to clean an evaporative (swamp) cooler?


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I bought an evaporative cooler last summer and it was a lifesaver, but just miserable to clean, as the water tray at the bottom cannot be completely removed. So many impurities in our water and if it sits in the cooler for long, it gets nasty.  The instruction leaflet wasn't detailed but it did say not to add anything to the water, like a touch of bleach to keep things fresher. 

Is that an inviolable rule or has anyone used anything that helps with the problem without damaging the mechanism? It's early, but I need it already; it's going to be a looooong hot season!

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It is easier and faster to google things yourself than put your question on a forum for someone else to do the "work" for you.  You then wait for responses for an answer you could have gotten in a matter of seconds.  This is a trend with a lot of posters on this site.  Not trying to start an argument, just stating facts.

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If you use distilled or demineralized water, then nothing would be left behind in the tray or on the fins......this is not practical or economical for most to do, however.      You could do an alternative of using a large ultrasonic cool mist machine(s), >>>  since they spray out all the water, the minerals go out too, into the air.    This can create a bit of dust but that's easier to deal with than cleaning out a swamp cooler. 

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