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I know these pads are at least 4 summers old, but not sure how old exactly. As I was shutting the swamp cooler down for the winter, I saw that they seemed really dirty. The white material flakes of really easy.

I don't know if I need to clean them or actually replace them?

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From the looks of those wet water filter pads I do not think I would want air sucked through them to be circulated around my house.

Get some clean new ones. They are not really that expensive.

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You want to clean them with a non acid cleaner. I use a product called Nu-Brite, I use it for hvac coils and have also used it for these filters , these are really dirty they should be cleaned regularly at a minimum 1 per year if dusty maybe 1 per month while the system is in use. You should also dump the sump regularly, when rinsing what ever cleaner you use don’t use high pressure that can deform the metal and mess up the air / water flow.

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