5 Easy Steps Revealed: Build Swamp Cooler Plastic Drum

Build Your Own Swamp Cooler Plastic Drum: 5 Easy Steps Revealed

Like a master chef with a new recipe, you’re about to dive into a DIY project that’ll keep you cool all summer.

You’re going to build your own swamp cooler using a plastic drum. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds. We’ll guide you through it, step by step.

You’ll gather materials, prep the drum, install the cooling pad, set up the water pump, and give it a test run.

Ready to beat the heat? Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure the plastic drum is clean and residue-free before starting the build.
  • Use a suitable cooling pad designed for swamp coolers and secure it tightly in the drum.
  • Choose a water pump suitable for continuous operation and position it at the bottom of the drum.
  • Regularly check and maintain the water pump for optimal performance and troubleshoot any issues with the cooler promptly.

Gathering Your Materials

Before you start building your swamp cooler, you’ll need to gather a few essential materials. These materials aren’t only inexpensive but also readily available at any local hardware store.

Firstly, you’ll need a plastic drum. This will serve as the body of your swamp cooler. It’s crucial to ensure that the drum is clean and free of any residue. A 55-gallon drum is ideal for this project.

Next, you’ll require a swamp cooler pad. These pads are made from special fibers that absorb and hold water, allowing the air to be cooled as it passes through. The size of the pad should match the diameter of your drum.

A powerful fan is another vital component. This fan will push air through the swamp cooler pad, facilitating the cooling process. Make sure you pick a fan that fits snugly onto your drum.

Lastly, you’ll need some PVC pipe, a water pump, and a float valve. These will form the water circulation system of your swamp cooler. The pump will circulate water from the drum through the pad, and the float valve will maintain the water level.

build swamp cooler plastic drum, build swamp cooler plastic drum diy, build swamp cooler plastic drum instructions, build, drum
build swamp cooler plastic drum, build swamp cooler plastic drum diy, build swamp cooler plastic drum instructions, build, drum

Preparing the Plastic Drum

Once you’ve gathered your swamp cooler materials, it’s time to focus on your plastic drum preparation. Preparing the drum involves a few straightforward processes, including cleaning and cutting.

First, let’s talk about cleaning. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the inside of the drum to ensure it’s free from any contaminants. Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill the drum with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent.
  • Swirl the mixture around to clean all interior surfaces.
  • You might want to use a long-handled brush for a more thorough clean.
  • Rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

Next, you’ll need to cut two holes in the drum. The first hole is for the fan and the second is for the cooler output. Here’s how:

  • Mark the spots where the holes will be cut.
  • Use a template or compass to ensure the holes are the correct size for your fan and output.
  • Using a jigsaw, carefully cut out the marked areas.
  • Always remember to wear safety goggles and gloves when handling power tools.

The drum is now ready for the next steps in building your swamp cooler.

Installing the Cooling Pad

Now that you’ve prepared your drum, it’s time to install the cooling pad, a crucial component in your DIY swamp cooler. The cooling pad works by absorbing water from the reservoir and allowing air to pass through, which cools down due to evaporation.

Start by purchasing a cooling pad designed for swamp coolers, ensuring it’s large enough to cover the hole you’ve cut in your drum. If it’s too big, don’t fret; you can trim it down to size using a utility knife.

Next, attach the cooling pad to the inside of the drum. You’ll do this by inserting it into the hole you cut earlier, pressing it against the inner wall of the drum. Secure it using waterproof adhesive or duct tape, making sure it’s tightly sealed so no air can escape around the edges.

Finally, you need to install a distribution line at the top of the pad. This line should drip water down the pad to keep it wet. You can create one from a garden hose, punching small holes along its length. Attach it to the top of the pad, ensuring the water can flow down evenly.

And voila! Your cooling pad is installed.

Setting Up the Water Pump

With your cooling pad in place, it’s time to set up the water pump, another essential piece of your homemade swamp cooler.

First, you’ll need to choose the right pump. Ensure it’s suitable for continuous operation and has enough power to pump water to the top of the cooling pad. You’ll also need tubing that fits the pump’s outlet.

Next, follow these steps to install your pump:

  • Position the pump at the bottom of the drum, usually in the opposite corner from the cooling pad.
  • Use suction cups or other means to secure it to the drum’s bottom.
  • Attach one end of the tubing to the pump’s outlet.
  • Secure it using a hose clamp.
  • Run the tubing up the side of the drum and over the top, near the cooling pad.
  • Secure the tubing to the drum using cable ties or similar.

Remember to check the pump’s performance regularly. If it’s not pumping enough water, the cooling pad won’t get wet enough, and your cooler will be less efficient.

Finalizing and Testing Your Swamp Cooler

So, how do you finalize and test your swamp cooler to ensure it’s working as it should?

First, verify that all components are securely fastened and that there aren’t any loose parts. If everything is firmly in place, proceed to fill the drum with water. Now, plug in the pump and fan to a power source.

Here’s a quick checklist:

Checklist Item Done
All components fastened Yes/No
Drum filled with water Yes/No
Pump and fan connected to power Yes/No

Next, switch on the pump and allow it to circulate water through the pads. After about 5 minutes, switch on the fan. If cool air starts blowing out, congrats! You’ve successfully built your swamp cooler.

If it’s not working, don’t worry. First, check if the pump is functioning. If it isn’t, there might be a problem with the power supply or the pump itself. If the pump’s working but the air isn’t cool, the pads might not be sufficiently saturated. Check and adjust accordingly. Remember, it’s all about trial and error. Keep tweaking until you get it right.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will the Swamp Cooler Built From a Plastic Drum Typically Last?

You’re curious about the lifespan of a homemade swamp cooler made from a plastic drum, aren’t you?

Well, it’s largely dependent on how well you maintain it. However, with regular cleaning and proper care, your DIY swamp cooler can last up to 5-10 years.

What Are the Potential Hazards or Risks Involved in Making a Swamp Cooler From a Plastic Drum?

When assembling a swamp cooler from a plastic drum, you’re likely to encounter certain hazards. You might mishandle power tools, leading to injury. If improperly wired, electrical components could cause shocks or fires. Incorrectly sealed drums may leak, causing water damage.

It’s also crucial to maintain cleanliness inside the drum; otherwise, it could become a breeding ground for bacteria. Always follow safety protocols to minimize these risks.

Can the Swamp Cooler Be Used for Cooling Large Spaces or Is It Only Suitable for Small Areas?

You’re curious if a homemade swamp cooler can cool large spaces. Well, it’s size-dependent. A swamp cooler built from a small plastic drum might be perfect for a smaller room. But if you’re trying to cool a large area, you’d likely need a bigger drum or multiple coolers.

What Are Some Common Issues or Problems That Might Arise When Using a Homemade Plastic Drum Swamp Cooler?

Ever wondered what could go wrong with your homemade plastic drum swamp cooler? You might face issues like inadequate cooling if the cooler is improperly sized for your space.

There’s also leakage, a common problem if the drum isn’t sealed correctly.

Plus, if you’ve used subpar materials, they could deteriorate quickly.

Lastly, don’t forget about the potential for mold growth if the water isn’t changed regularly.

It’s all about maintenance and correct setup, isn’t it?

How Does the Efficiency of a Homemade Swamp Cooler Compare to That of a Commercially Available One?

When you compare the efficiency of a homemade swamp cooler to a commercial one, you’ll notice some differences.

Commercial coolers are generally more effective due to their superior design and materials. They’re engineered for optimal performance.

Your DIY cooler, while cost-effective, mightn’t cool as efficiently. It’ll depend on your building skills and the quality of materials used.

Still, for personal usage and the experience of building, it’s a worthwhile project.


There you have it! You’ve built your very own swamp cooler out of a plastic drum, stepping up your game like a true MacGyver.

Your summers are about to become a breeze, quite literally!

Don’t forget to regularly clean and maintain your cooler for optimal performance.

Now, test it out and enjoy the cool comfort of your hard work.

Building something yourself isn’t just practical, it’s satisfying.

Go ahead, bask in your DIY triumph!

Spread the love

Leave a Comment