Any individual who is considering how to prolong the life and improve the function of a building’s cleaning tower has likely considered some level of maintenance. However, cleaning cooling towers is not a task that can be done off-hand in just a few minutes during your free time. A regular and consistent cooling tower maintenance plan is critical in keeping the machinery functioning well. Professionals can assist in fully cleaning a tower so that you can focus your efforts on other areas of work that need your attention.
What Regular Maintenance of Cooling Towers Looks Like
Cooling towers are made of a wide variety of parts and machinery that all work together to produce the end result: heat exchange, and thus cool air or cool water. Each of these moving parts—as well as the features that support them, like distribution nozzles and decks, tower fill, and basins—require consistent cleaning to ensure that they function optimally.
One of the most common methods of keeping a cooling tower clean is to scrub it. Disinfecting agents scrubbed vigorously onto the cooling tower’s surfaces, such as within the basin, can help to prevent the growth of Alage, mold and other biological hazards that may impact the function and safety of the tower. Scrubbing is also an important factor for keeping the moving machinery clean; if detritus and debris is allowed to build up in these areas, they can cause fouling that prevents the tower from operating as intended or makes it work harder to achieve the same result.
Why Cooling Tower Cleaning Matters: Legionella
Cooling tower cleaning is not just a matter of aesthetics or even function. It is also critical because it keeps those who live and work near the tower safe. Cooling towers that are not cleaned regularly or that do not benefit from a consistent maintenance routine and customized strategy may experience the growth of biological hazards, including bacteria. One of the many bacteria that can cause a problem in freshwater systems is Legionella. This microorganism survives in freshwater at common temperatures: between 77 degrees and 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Allowed to proliferate, Legionella can be swept up into water droplets that are created when the tower outputs steam and mist, and these droplets may be breathed in by humans.
Once Legionella has entered the human body, it can quickly cause severe illness. While many individuals may only experience Pontiac fever, the milder Legionella sickness that resembles the flu with its body aches, chills, fever, and nausea, some may contract Legionnaires’ disease. This potentially fatal illness can cause severe swelling in the lungs in a matter of hours and requires immediate medical attention. In order to protect the people in the vicinity of the cooling tower from being at risk of Legionella and other dangerous bacteria and microorganisms, regularly cleaning and maintaining the tower is critical to its responsible operation.
Cooling Tower Maintenance Boosts Performance
Preventing Legionella is not the only incentive to perform consistent cleaning of a cooling tower. The purpose of a cooling tower is to remove heat from a system using water as a medium. As water evaporates it releases heat from the existing water and heat is then carried away from the area in the surrounding air. When the fill, distribution nozzles, mist eliminators, and strainers of a tower are not clean, they tend to be obstructed, which means that the cooling tower must work harder in order to effectively transfer heat. This struggle will be reflected in the facility’s monthly energy bills, which rise despite the same level of output.
Similarly, clogged strainers and scale or corrosion that build up on surfaces can permanently damage equipment and cause premature failure. Understandably, replacing equipment in a cooling tower is not an inexpensive endeavor, and failure to regularly clean the machinery could result in the need to completely replace the tower. Maintenance is an investment in the efficient functioning and long-term lifespan of a cooling tower that improves its performance, reduces the costs to operate and ensures that repairs and replacements are as minimal as possible.
Work with Cooling Tower Cleaning and Maintenance Experts
If you would like to establish a routine for cleaning and maintaining your cooling tower, or if you need cleaning right now, be sure to work with professionals who understand how to comprehensively and effectively clean a tower. The technicians at Tower Water set the standard in water and cooling tower treatment and would be happy to evaluate your particular tower and provide guidance about the best strategies to mitigate the risks that are unique to you. Cooling tower cleaning often requires personal protective equipment and in-depth knowledge of areas that may slip past notice, so reach out to Tower Water to speak with an expert who can simplify this process for you.