DIY Filter Solution for an Evaporative Cooler, anyone?

If your general "info@" e-mail inbox is like mine, it is 95% SPAM but once in a while, as long as you catch it, there is an informed, well-crafted inquiry from a non-bot, who does their own research and wants to know more and do better.

Here is one such inquiry, from a reader regarding a filter for an evaporative cooler. I'll post both her initial e-mail and her follow-up to my reply, below. THANKS for any leads!

I need a suggestion. We just replaced our 17-year-old evaporative cooler with another one. Works great. 

I have found that the diffuser blows dust and dirt into the house. I cut a circular pad for each diffuser from a sheet of 24 in. x 36 in. x 1 in. Permaire Pad Air Filter by Natural Aire. The product is made of natural fibers and can be washed and reused. 

It does restrict the airflow and it does help with the dust.

Is there some product the I can use and cut myself that restricts the airflow less. I thought of cutting circles of aluminum screen, like that used for doors and windows, but I am not sure how well it will keep out the dust.

Any suggestions appreciated. I cannot find any answers to this on the web.

Thanks,

Pt. ii...

Thanks for your response.
 
I did find a Frost King foam filter for an AC that has a MERV rating of 0. It lets in a lot of air and is washable. Not expensive. Any suggestion that is either cheap or washable is good for me. (The Nature Aire product had a MERV 4 rating. I am going to save it and use it as insulation in the winter when I close the dampers.)
 
I had a kind of a fabric filter, a loose weave light synthetic material that eventually disintegrated a few years ago. Never found out what it was.
 
Someone suggested a cheap fiberglass filter, but cutting it and have the fiberglass particles float around did not seem like a good idea. The size of the circular ducts: 13.5 and 11.5 inches respectively.
 
Another person suggested using double pads as a way to halt the incoming debris and dust. I might try that next year.
 
I looked around on the site you gave me in the subsequent email, but did not find any mention either of the problem or a solution.
 
I know I am not the only one with a concern about the dust coming through the diffuser. Maybe it is something really obvious.
 
Thank you again,

Tags: DIY, dooling, evaporative, filter

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Hello,  I'm probably confused, but I'd want to know where the dust and dirt are coming from.  It's not normal for these units to make this problem. Perhaps the pads are losing bits of fiber, or dirt on the roof, or construction/installation debris, or? Another thought is that some units have multiple fan speeds.  Slowing the blower could help also.

Yours,  Larry

Thanks, Larry!

You are probably not confused!

Apply skin, not a Band-Aid ... or something like that! :)

Best, Leslie

Have them call a HVAC contractor and install a filter system

Thanks Rich,

I hope they thought of that, but you are on to something.
I think I learn more doing things myself, but sometimes, truth is, contractors TEACH me more.

Best,

Leslie

Where is the duct for the evaporative cooler running.  Straight out into the room?  or through ducts in attic or the floor.  I've seen underslab ducting that had failed... and the dust was actually dirt that was being picked up from the ground that was formerly held back by sheet metal.   Sheet metal that had rusted and collapsed.

Since you are using an evaporative cooler, I presume that live in the drier western half of the US.   But  if you are actually in a more humid environment - remember that just washing the filters DOES NOT stop the growth of harmful bacteria and molds.   You need to encourage a replacement cycle also... don't try to reuse the filters until they literally fall apart. 

Have you looked at the size of the dust?  Is it pollen? Does it smell moldy...?

Where are the supply runs located? Look to make sure supply runs are sealed. I would second having a contractor make a filter rack and use cheap fiberglass filters. Ones that look like plastic strands dribbled over each other. It will be less restrictive and the filters are so cheap it wont be cost prohibitive to replace monthly. 

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