How much does it cost to repair a swamp cooler?

National Average Range:
$115 - $350

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Updated: August 18, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, is a type of air conditioning system that cools homes by evaporating water and blowing the damp, cool air into the house. The water in the machine evaporates into the air, cooling it down while adding humidity at the same time. To keep a good balance, your windows should be left open while running your evaporative cooler. Though the name may be confusing, these units are actually not good for people who live in swamps. For homes situated in climates with very low humidity levels, evaporative coolers can help make the air much more comfortable. They are much more energy efficient then standard air conditioning units and typically cost about half of what an air conditioning unit would cost, making them a great, cost-effective option.

If any problems arise, it is very important to have it repaired promptly. Repairing the issue will help to eliminate more issues over time and keep your unit running at its maximum potential.

The average cost to repair a swamp cooler ranges from $115-$600, with the average homeowner spending around $250including all of the materials and labor fees.

Swamp Cooler Repair Cost

Swamp Cooler Repair Costs
National average cost$250
Average range$115-$350

Swamp Cooler Repair Cost by Type of Repair

The average cost to repair a swamp cooler is $250, with an average range between $115 and $350. Depending on what repairs are needed, the total cost can be as low as $60, or run all the way up to $600. The labor costs may vary depending on the project, but averages $50-$75 per hour. The following table lists the common repairs and costs.

Swamp Cooler Repair Cost (mobile)

RepairAverage cost
Valve repair$50-$75
Pump repair$60-$150
Motor repair$100-$150

Float valve repair

A swamp cooler float valve performs an important function in your evaporative cooler. The float valve helps to keep a constant water level so that you don’t have dry spots in the cooler pads. Repairing the float valve is important because if the seal becomes cracked or damaged, it can leak. It is important to note that repairing a float valve is almost the same cost of replacing it with a brand new valve. The cost of float valve repair runs between $50 and $75 dollars, including labor fees.

Swamp cooler pump repair

If your swamp cooler pump is not working properly, then it may need some repair. If it is a minor problem with the pump, then repairing the issue can be more cost-effective then replacing it. The cost to repair the pump averages between $60 and $150, depending on the unit and size.

Swamp cooler motor repair

Repairing the motor on a swamp cooler is not a difficult project, but does require some knowledge of how to connect wires. If you are not confident in doing so, it is always important to hire a professional to do the job right. Repairing the motor involves basic steps of repairing the unit by adjusting the pulley, oiling the motor bearing, and fixing the wiring. This job will typically run from $50-$75 per hour, and on average the repair will take 1 to 2 hours. If there are many issues with the motor, then it might make more sense to replace it instead. Motor replacement can average in cost from $60-$600depending on the system and time it takes to repair.

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Cost to Replace Parts of a Swamp Cooler

It is always important to consider the option of replacing parts rather than repairing. If the price becomes too high, it is usually more practical to replace the damaged part. Some of the most common replacement parts of a swamp cooler include the motor, belt, pump, bearing, pad, and float valve. In the following table are listed the most common part replacements and their cost, including installation.

Swamp Cooler Repair Cost Chart (mobile)

Part replacementAverage cost (including labor fees)
Float valve$65-$80

Swamp Cooler Belt Replacement

Belts are important for minimal slippage in the pulleys, making it easy on the bearings to do their job. Over time, belts can become loose, stretch, and eventually wear out, requiring replacement. The cost to replace the belt is very reasonable. You can expect to pay $5-$15 for the part. A professional will charge $50-$70 for installation fees.

Swamp Cooler Float Valve Replacement

The float valve acts to shut off the water supply when the water reaches the required level. The water must be at the right level so the pump can draw it up to the pads, but not too high that it overflows. Float valves are very easy to replace and are very reasonable averaging between $6 and $18 dollars, or $65-$80 including labor fees.

Swamp Cooler Pad Replacement

The pads play a huge role in the air cooling process, by evaporating water that cools the motor. Pads should be replaced every so often as they can clog up the pump and cause issues over time. The average cost to replace a pad is $5-$90 per pad. If you hire a professional to do the job, the cost averages $65-$115, which includes the parts. A single system varies in the number of pads, but averages 1-6 pads per system. There are many different types of pads that differ in their material, lifetime, and cost, which are illustrated in the chart below.

Pad materialsLifetimeCost (without installation)
Aspen1-2 years$5-$45
Polyester1 year$10-$40
Rotating2-3 years$40-$65
Rigid4-6 years$50-$90

Swamp Cooler Bearing Replacement

Bearings are round metal spheres that help the shaft on the blower spin smoothly when moved by the motor. The shaft is constantly spinning, so if the bearings are going bad you will often hear squeaking sounds. This is a good indication that the bearings need replacement. To replace the bearings, you can expect to pay $5-$25 per bearing and $65-$125 including labor fees. There are two common types of bearings: shaft bearings, which are flat ($65-$75), and spider bearings, which have protruding legs ($75-$90).

Swamp Cooler Motor Replacement

Depending on the system, the cost to replace the motor can cost anywhere from $120-$650 including labor fees. You can expect to pay more for larger and more specialized systems. Although repairing your pump may be more cost-effective, replacing the pump can provide you with a more energy-efficient solution, saving you money in the long run.

Swamp Cooler Pump Replacement

The pump plays an important role in bringing the water to the evaporative cooler pads. When the pump is not working properly, it is very important to replace it. The cost to replace the pump depends on the type of system you have and averages anywhere from $150-$450.

Professional Repairing a Swamp Cooler

Cost to Fix a Swamp Cooler

The cost to fix a swamp cooler averages between $60 and $600, depending on what is wrong with it, who does the repairs, and if you need new parts. An evaporative cooler technician can do the repair and, depending on the company, will charge on a per hour (average $250) or per project basis. The technician will come over and assess the unit and run a few tests to determine what is wrong with the unit and determine a plan for repair.

Common Swamp Cooler Problems

Over time you may experience some problems. This section will highlight some common problems, their possible causes, and costs of repairing them.

Swamp Cooler Price Chart (mobile)

​ProblemAverage cost to repair
Motor problems$60-$600
Not blowing air$60-$650
Fan not working$65-$115
Mildew smell$65-$115
Won’t start$65-$650
Motor overheating$75-$275
Burning smell$75-$275
Not cooling$150-$450
Not pumping water$150-$450
  • Leaking. Possible causes of leaking include a cracked reservoir, cracked or unsealed tubing, too much water, or a broken float valve.
  • Swamp cooler not cooling. Possible causes include blocked air flow, not enough water, or high outside humidity.
  • Fan not working. Possible causes of the fan not working include a broken motor or replacement of the bearings/belt.
  • Motor problems. Possible causes of the motor not working include a blown fuse, ruptured pulley, motor bearings needing oil, and broken wiring.
  • Swamp cooler not blowing air. Possible causes include ruptured bearing, a belt that needs replacing, or a broken motor.
  • Motor overheating. Possible causes of the motor overheating include a broken motor or not enough water.
  • Motor won’t start. Possible causes of the motor not starting include a wiring issue, tripped breaker, or broken motor.
  • Smells like burning. Possible causes include overheating, a clogged pad, or not enough water.
  • Mildew smell. Possible causes include dirty pads or standing water in the unit.
  • Swamp cooler not pumping water. Possible causes include broken float valve or water pump, or clogged tubing.

Swamp Cooler Replacement Cost

If your swamp cooler is not working properly and the cost for repair parts and labor becomes too high, it is sometimes more practical and cost-effective to replace the whole unit. The cost of the replacement is approximately $1,400-$6,000, including materials and labor fees.

Swamp Cooler Maintenance Cost

In order to keep your swamp cooler up and running efficiently, there is some seasonal maintenance that has to occur. Maintenance that needs to be done regularly includes cleaning the system and repairing or replacing any parts that need it. The cost of the maintenance averages between $50 and $550 per year.

Winterize a Swamp Cooler

Winterizing should take place as soon as you don’t need it. Similar to spring cleaning, you need to prepare it for the cold winter months. This will help to extend its life and keep it running properly the following summer. Winterizing involves draining the unit completely, cleaning out the tray of any sediment and dirt, blowing out the water line, changing the pads, and putting on a cover to protect it from the winter elements. The cost of winterizing averages between $115-$175, not including the parts.

Swamp Cooler Start-up

As soon as you are ready to use your swamp cooler, there are some start-up maintenance steps involved. The cost involved in starting-up the system averages $175-$250 and includes replacing belts and bearings, check up on the motor and pads, cleaning and removing rust, and oiling the moving parts.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Control/Thermostat Replacement

A standard swamp cooler control/thermostat allows you to manually change the cooler fan speed, set the pump to soak the pads, as well as turn the cooler on and off. However, this is not the only or easiest option. You can also control your swamp cooler by installing a digital control/thermostat that allows you to set the fan speed and temperature and runs automatically until it reaches the desired settings. The cost to change the control/thermostat from a manual to a digital one averages around $125-$300.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Repairing a swamp cooler can be a DIY project and save you some money. If the repair involves work that you don’t know how to do, you should hire a licensed professional for the job. There are some complications that could arise if things are done incorrectly.
  • There are some steps that you can DIY prior to consulting a professional for assistance with your swamp cooler. Before calling a professional, make sure to replace any parts that you are able to on your own and check the breaker. Three important tips to keep in mind are that your swamp cooler will only run efficiently if the outside air is dry (<30% humidity), it gets enough water, and the windows in the home allow for warm air to escape.
  • Don’t hire the first contractor that you come across. It is very important that you get quotes from 3-5 contractors before selecting the one to go with. You want to make sure that they are experienced with the scope of work you need done, that they have good feedback from their references, and you also want to make sure that you are not getting ripped off.
  • Shop around your local hardware stores or contact the manufacturer to find the part of the that you need. Oftentimes you can find the parts on your own at a much lower rate.
  • It is a good idea to purchase a cover to protect your swamp cooler when it is not in use. The average cost for a cover is $25-$60 and you should look for one that is made to fit your specific swamp cooler.
  • If you are having issues with your swamp cooler and it is still under warranty, it is a good idea to consider contacting the manufacturer or authorized repair company for your unit. If you try to repair it yourself or hire another company, you may risk voiding the warranty on your unit.


  • How much does it cost to replace a swamp cooler?

The cost to replace a swamp cooler is approximately $1,400-$3,900, including materials and labor fees.

  • When should I replace my swamp cooler?

If it is not functioning at top efficiency, and you have tried to replace parts, you may need to contact a professional to consider replacing it. If the repair costs are more expensive than the cost to replace your swamp cooler or parts, then it is a good time to consider replacement instead.

  • How much does it cost to replace a swamp cooler with central air?

The cost to replace a swamp cooler with central air is approximately $7,000.

  • Are swamp coolers cheaper than AC?

A swamp cooler only costs about half of what an AC unit does, using approximately four times less energy to run compared to an air conditioner, making them a cost-effective alternative in the right climate.

  • How much does it cost to fix a swamp cooler?

The cost to fix a swamp cooler averages $60-$600, depending on what is wrong with it, who does the repairs, and if you need new parts.

  • Why would a swamp cooler stop working?

One of the most common reasons for a swamp cooler to stop working is because of the fuse or breaker. If there are issues with any of the other parts, the cooler should begin working again once they are either repaired or replaced.

  • How do you fix a swamp cooler pump?

If your swamp cooler pump is not operating efficiently, there are some simple solutions that can help to fix the problem. If you are finding that the water is not covering the base of the pump, then be sure to check the float valve. Sometimes the float valve can be put out of place causing the pump not to function properly. Make sure to check the breaker to make sure it is not tripped.

  • Who fixes swamp coolers?

An evaporative cooler technician.

  • How much water does a swamp cooler use?

A swamp cooler uses between 90 and 500 gallons of water per month. The frequency of use, size of the unit, and the outside air humidity are all determining factors in how much water is used.