An evaporative cooler, or swamp cooler, is a more affordable way to cool your home when you live in a climate with low humidity. No refrigerant is needed for a swamp cooler. Instead, it cools through the process of evaporation with a reservoir of water that's controlled by a float valve.
The valve is an inexpensive part that can go bad, and when it malfunctions, the performance of the cooler is affected. Here's when to suspect the float valve is bad and how a repair technician can fix the problem to get your cooler operating optimally.
Signs of a Bad Evaporative Cooler Float Valve
A float valve can be bad, or it can need to be adjusted. If it isn't adjusted properly and working as it should, the water level in the cooler will be too high or too low. When the level is too high, the cooler will leak and you'll have to fill the water more often than usual. If the level is too low, the pump can be affected eventually. The low water level stresses the pump and the pump can burn out.
How a Float Valve Is Repaired or Replaced
If the valve is still in good shape but the water level is too high or too low, adjust the position of the float and wait to see if the water level responds. If not, the float valve needs to be replaced. Float valves are inexpensive, but you may want to buy a high-quality valve rather than the cheapest one so you get a longer life from it. Since the valve doesn't cost much, replacement is usually a better option than trying to repair it.
You may want to call an evaporative cooler repair technician to replace the float valve. This requires disconnecting the power and water supply. The plumbing connections might be stuck in place if hard water minerals and corrosion have built up on the connections. Penetrating oil can help loosen the plumbing connections. If you're attempting DIY repairs, be careful about using too much pressure on the connections or you might break the supply line.
Once the connections are loose, you can pull out the old float valve and put a new one in its place. Then, it's time to fill the reservoir and adjust the valve so the water level is at the right depth. If problems with the valve went on long enough to burn out the motor, the motor will need to be rebuilt or replaced too before your evaporative cooler is functioning properly.