Are you giving serious consideration to starting up your swamp cooler? Have the temperatures in Colorado reached the point where it's time to fire them up for the season? The experts suggest we may want to hold off.

Here it is, April 19, 2022, and the temperature today is expected to reach the mid-80s. To many, this signals the alarm to start the evaporative coolers. Let us not forget, though, that it snowed precisely one week ago today in Grand Junction. The day before that we had a freeze warning in Western Colorado. Should we start the swamp coolers or not?

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When to Start Your Swamp Cooler in Colorado

Personally, I began the startup on my swamp cooler yesterday. For me, mid-April is a bit early. Where this year is concerned, several projects on are the board for the next few weeks, so it seemed wise to get a jump start on the cooler.

My start-up plans came to a screeching halt when I encountered a problem many of you may face - the inability to get the needed supplies. The media used by my swamp cooler is somewhere between difficult and impossible to find right now. It was my hope the media would last another year after a good cleaning. Upon looking at it, maybe not.

Secondly, temperatures are about to drop again in Western Colorado. While we're in the 80s right now, things are about to change.

Hold Off For a Moment

The website Sensible Heating + Cooling suggests we should hold off for a bit in Colorado.

Spring in Colorado can still bring freezing temperatures and snow, and we really want to see nights consistently above freezing before servicing and turning on swamp coolers because the lines can freeze and break if they get too cold. - Sensible Heating + Cooling

A representative for another company, TLC Pluming-Heating-Cooling, a man by the name of Chico, recommends, "...waiting as long as you possibly can to start using your swamp cooler."

Bob, the owner of S & S Heating and Air-Conditioning in Grand Junction says start your swamp cooler "...when the danger of freeze is over."

So When Do We Start Our Evaporative Coolers in Colorado?

Okay, this is fine and dandy. There's still the matter of the original question, "When should we start up our evaporative coolers in Colorado?"

Sensible Heating + Cooling states, "...mark your calendar for swamp cooler maintenance in mid to late May." Doesn't that sound a bit late? Looking at the National Weather Service forecast for Grand Junction, Colorado, although we're in the 80s right now, by April 23, 2022, we'll be back in the 60s with low temperatures approaching freezing.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Have you ever had the pleasure of picking your ceiling up off the floor? Trust me, it's no fun. While living in my previous home, I had the great pleasure of coming home from work (if you want to call this work) only to find my ceiling was now on my floor, and water was spraying throughout my house.

The water line leading to my swamp cooler had frozen and burst at a singular point in the line, a point directly over my master bedroom. Damages came in right around $20,000.

I had disconnected my line well before the first freeze of the season and didn't reconnect it until well after the last freeze. What went wrong? Well, put simply, the line didn't have enough pitch to allow for the line to drain. The water remained at a midpoint in the line and froze over the winter, resulting in rupture.

From this catastrophe I learned two things:

  • Make sure there's plenty of pitch on your line
  • Run your water line up the outside of your house, not through the attic

This is only a matter of opinion, but I'll stand behind it.

I'll Leave You With a Happy Thought

Sensible Heating + Cooling offers another suggestion regarding your swamp cooler. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I'd hear an HVAC company say this, but via their webpage they state "...you only need to replace the filter every couple of years." If you have a swamp cooler similar to mine, then you know the media runs a little over $200. The manufacturer of my cooler says to replace it every other year. At a price of $200, I like the idea of every four or five years.

Cool Places to Escape Colorado's Hot Temperatures

When summer temps in Colorado become unbearable, there are locations you can go to escape the heat. Most of these locations are high in the mountains, although, that doesn't mean there's nothing to do.

We've researched these locations with an average summer temperature in the mid-80s and below. That doesn't mean the temperatures won't get hotter than this, but it's a good chance you'll feel cooler and find some chill things to do.

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