Cooling towers serve a variety of important functions for buildings, from playing an essential role in an HVAC system to generating power and more. However, one of the most problematic areas of managing and operating a cooling tower is its use of water; bacterial growth, residue and the quality of the water all impact not only how efficiently the tower operates but also whether its parts and equipment deteriorate over time.
One of the best ways to ensure that your tower remains in good condition for years to come is to utilize a filtration system in your tower’s water. However, deciding which cooling tower filter system is right for you can be a challenge. In order to make that choice, read more about the types of filters that are commonly used in cooling towers, and do not be afraid to reach out to an expert for help.
What Filtration Does For A Cooling Tower
Cooling towers use water to conduct heat exchange. Air and water meet in the tower, and the heat is dissipated out of the cooling tower—hence its name. However, particulates, sediment and other contaminants in the water can impact how well a cooling tower performs this task, and too much residue in water can even foul parts of the system, causing the need for costly repairs and untimely replacement of your machinery.
Filtration is a potential solution to this issue, because filters can gather unwanted suspended solids and other materials and prevent them from continuing on through the system.
1. Screen Filters
One of the most common types of filters that might be utilized in a cooling tower is a screen filter. A screen filter is, as the name suggests, a screen with holes of a certain size; what size you need will depend upon what contaminants are present in your water and how large they are.
As the water passes through the filter, particles larger than the selected size of your filter’s holes will be unable to pass through and will be trapped. Then, at certain timed intervals, the system will utilize backflow to clean the filter and begin again. These filters can require more regular maintenance than some other options, but when it comes to ease of installation and simplicity, they are hard to beat.
2. Filters That Utilize Sand
Sand-based filters are somewhat similar to screen filters except that the water passes through sand instead of a mesh. As the water travels through the sand, the sand granules capture errant material. However, water must pass through sand slowly, which means that the filter can not be full flow and will only filter a small portion of the water continously. Sand filters are also more complex to clean.
3. Centrifugal (Vortex) Separators
Separators that use centrifugal force work differently than screen or mesh filters where particles are trapped by a certain material as they pass through. Instead, a collection plate is placed within a dedicated water filtration chamber, and water that enters the chamber is spun into a vortex.
The gravitational forces on the materials in the water will pull contaminants that weigh a certain amount or more downward, past the collection plate. The cleaned water then returns to the rest of the system. Centrifugal separators can require some maintenance in that the user must determine when the collected unwanted material should be purged; however, overall, these types of filtration systems are some of the lowest maintenance.
The water pressure in the system is also kept constant, and the process can capture a wide range of particles. In fact, centrifugal separators are effective at capturing material that is approximately 40 microns or larger. This is not quite as small as something like a screen filter could accomplish (at 10 microns), but for those looking for an easy to manage, automatic option, centrifugal separators may be an appealing choice.
4. Particle Separators
This is one of the newest type filters, using electrical charges to separate positive and negative suspended solids. They are extremely efficient, and are side streams using only about 1% of system flow. They have no moving parts and are simple to maintain. Often there are flow enhancement probes which will bring significant benefits over a conventional filter.
Choosing The Right Cooling Tower Filter System For Your Cooling Tower
Understanding the right type of filter for your cooling tower can be a challenge, because making the most effective choice depends on understanding a wide variety of factors about your system and your water. An expert water treatment professional can offer guidance on the specific weaknesses in your system and which type of filter would best address them.
They can also assist you in actually installing the filtration device to ensure that it is placed correctly and will do its job without premature failure. If you would like to add filtration to your cooling tower system, work with the experts like those at Tower Water. We set the standard in water treatment and would be happy to help you explore your options so that you can keep your cooling tower’s water clean and protect the lifespan of your system. Reach out to schedule an appointment.