Why Does My Swamp Cooler Smell Fishy?

swamp cooler smells fishy

Swamp coolers, a common type of evaporative coolers, are designed to provide heat mitigation and cooling using water. These machines are used in many businesses and homes in dry climates during summer and when temperatures rise to help reduce the heat. They produce cool air and circulate it in the space they are used in. However, various factors can lead to them producing foul, fishy odors. If you are curious about why your swamp cooler is producing a fishy smell, read on to learn about how and why this is happening.

The Root of Fishy Odors in Swamp Coolers

Swamp coolers are composed of various parts that use water to produce cool temperatures. These machines work best in hot temperatures, and as a result, they are susceptible to bacteria and mold, which can be abundant in conditions involving heat and water.

If your swamp cooler is producing a foul, stale, moldy, damp, or fishy type of odor, it is probably time to check its internal components to assess where the smell is coming from. The cooling pads, which are typically saturated with water to produce cooling, may have developed mold and / or mildew. When the system runs, it may be emitting this fishy or moldy smell, as a result. This is especially common if you have been running the swamp cooler constantly, and water has been continuously used. If the source of the smell is found to be the cooler pads, they must be replaced.

Generally, swamp cooler pads should be replaced once a year, before the start of the summer season. However, if there is a swampy or fishy smell, it is important to check the pads to see if they need replacement mid-season. Additionally, other options for managing the smell include using a swamp cooler deodorizer to help eliminate the smell, as well as allowing the cooler’s pads to dry out thoroughly for a few days to help reduce the smell.

Check the Water

Another potential source of the fishy smell may be the actual water in the swamp cooler’s reservoir. If the water has not been changed in some time, it may have begun to develop bacteria or fungus, which can be contributing to the foul odor. In this regard, it is extremely important to drain the old water and ensure the water reservoir is cleaned after every use. Your swamp cooler should be filled with fresh water prior to use, every time.

Considering the Dangers of Fishy Smells and Swamp Coolers

While foul smells are certainly unpleasant, you should definitely consider the sanitary implications of such a cycle. Swamp coolers may be effective in the short term, but they are not the best long-term cooling system because of their propensity to produce bacteria, mold, and fungus. Because these systems blow cool air into a room or space, if the system is filled with bacteria and mold, it may be doing more harm than good. No one should be forced to breathe in filthy air.

Alternatives to Swamp Coolers

If you still cannot manage to get rid of the fishy smell after troubleshooting, you may want to reconsider your use of a swamp cooler in exchange for a more modern evaporative cooling fan. Atomized evaporative cooling systems, such as those made by Power Breezer, are a type of alternative heat mitigation system that also produces cooling using the power of water. However, where they differ is in how they produce the cooling. Instead of using continuously wet pads, an atomizer is utilized to generate cool air using small droplets of water. These systems can be used for industrial-level disinfection across very large spaces as well. Furthermore, these fans have no potential to produce harmful bacteria or mold, ensuring your environment can be cooled effectively and sanitarily, without smelling foul or fishy!

Evaporative coolers such as swamp coolers can be good options for cooling in high temperatures, however, these machines can come with their negative attributes. If you suspect your swamp cooler is producing a fishy, stale, or moldy smell, examine its parts to assess what is going on immediately. If you are not comfortable doing so, hire a professional to inspect it. Mold and bacteria can be extremely dangerous to breathe in, so it is important to get this under control as quickly as possible.

If you’re ready to make the switch to a more functional, more energy-efficient, cleaner, and more sanitary cooling system, consider your options with an atomized evaporative cooler from Power Breezer. Our systems were designed to provide industrial-strength cooling and sanitization, without the threat of bacteria or fungus, so you can be sure, fishy smells are never part of the package.