Cooling towers are a critical part of many facilities’ operations, from commercial and industrial air conditioning systems to other forms of heat removal. Regardless of how your building uses its cooling tower, continually inspecting the system to keep it working safely and efficiently is an important aspect of regular maintenance. As you consider revisiting how your cooling tower operates, be sure to complete these five steps.
Five Ways to Ensure Proper Cooling Tower Operation
When considering the most important aspects of operating a cooling tower, five areas pose a particular threat to the tower’s operation if not regularly maintained. All machinery should be regularly evaluated to check for damage and decay; however, additional measures, when incorporated into a regular maintenance schedule, will keep a cooling tower functioning at peak performance for years to come.
Inspect the Machinery
One of the first steps in ensuring proper cooling tower maintenance is to regularly inspect the machinery. For example, a cooling tower’s water pump can quickly become problematic if it is not regularly lubricated to ensure smooth operation during pumping. You will notice increased efficiency and lower cost when using a well maintained pump that meets no resistance as it moves back and forth. During lubrication, it is also beneficial to add lubricant to the motor bearings and water seal, as well as checking the alignment of the pump.
Maintain Efficient Airflow
Restricted airflow is one of the most common causes of poor performance in cooling towers, and it can even lead to a complete system breakdown if not addressed. When air cannot flow as intended through the tower, the fan may struggle to perform well, and the air produced by the tower may not feel cool. Interruptions to airflow can be caused by a variety of issues, from scaled or packed tower fill, poorly aligned or lubricated fan, clogged strainers or poor water treatment.
Treat All Water
Water treatment is one of the most critical steps in ensuring both the efficiency and safety of a cooling tower. Cooling towers are a known hotspot for Legionella, a potentially deadly bacteria that can make humans severely ill. However, even aside from Legionella treatment, other types of water treatment can also benefit a cooling tower. Water quality issues such as an imbalanced pH or biological pollutants can contribute to the buildup of biofilms, scaling, and corrosion which will degrade machinery over time and cause poor performance and fouling. Treating the water used by a cooling tower not only prolongs the life of the equipment, but it also keeps any people in the area safe from the hazardous presence of Legionella bacteria.
Clean Cooling Tower Tubes
The condenser tubes located inside ac units or chillers serve a critical function in heat exchange of a cooling tower, but without regular maintenance, they can easily become fouled. Scale, slime, biological materials like algae, and even mud can build up over time in a condenser tube, resulting in significantly reduced cooling capacity and even eventual system failure. Even cooling towers that undergo regular water treatment will still experience some level of buildup, which is why consistent cleaning is an important part of maintenance.
Remove Deposits and Scaling
Cooling towers work by creating water vapor through evaporation; this is why they are so commonly associated with Legionella outbreaks, since the bacteria infects humans via contaminated water coming into contact with mucous membranes predominantly in the lungs. The water evaporation, created as part of a tower’s regular operation, will contribute to deposits and scaling and adhere first to highest heat transfer surfaces. In particular, the buildup of limescale can reduce the overall efficiency of a tower and cause it to malfunction by serving as an additional barrier or insulator inhibiting the machinery’s intended heat transfer. Descaling to remove deposits should be performed at least once per year, but with proper water treatment this could be a minor issue.
Work with the Cooling Tower Maintenance Experts
Whether you have already developed a regular maintenance plan for your cooling tower or you need assistance in determining how to keep your cooling tower operating at peak performance, it is important to work with experts who have years of experience in cooling tower maintenance. The experienced professionals at Tower Water set the standard in water treatment and cooling tower inspection and would be happy to assist you with any of your facility’s needs. From regular maintenance to an evaluation of your system and personalized recommendations, Tower Water can help you to prolong the life of your cooling tower and improve its efficiency so that you can enjoy an HVAC system that functions effectively and have preventative maintenance that actually pays for itself through energy savings.