If you own or manage a cooling tower, you may be considering your options for water treatment to improve the cleanliness, longevity, and efficiency of your system. However, because individual systems are unique, it can be challenging to determine which choice is best for you. Speaking with an experienced water treatment expert is always wise, but doing your own research is also helpful to prepare you for that conversation. This article aims to go over the cooling tower water treatment basics to inform anyone interested in cooling water towers.
How Does A Cooling Tower Water Treatment System Work?
Water treatment systems that work on cooling towers are effective because they are versatile. Regardless of what style or material your water tower is made out of, you will be able to find a water treatment option that works in your system. You have a number of choices, all determined by factors like the type of cooling your tower does (open circulating, once through, closed-loop), what materials it is made of, and what the water quality in your area is like.
Filtration & Ultrafiltration
Filtration systems are some most common water treatment options for cooling towers. Filters may look like bags or a series of mesh screens. How many and what size you will need depends on your specific situation. Filtration works by passing water through progressively smaller spaces. Each filter contains holes, with the first filter being the one with the biggest gaps. As water passes through, large particles like sediment, rust, and organic materials become trapped if they are unable to pass through the mesh filter.
However, particles that are smaller than the gaps continue on, and that is why ultrafiltration using a system of filters is important. When multiple filters are used, each getting progressively more restrictive, these pollutants that pass through larger holes are trapped later on in the process. In the final stages, when contaminants are microscopic, you have options like filters that carry a minor electrical charge, which will attract the minuscule particles and hold them in place. This ensures clean water that will not foul your system.
Makeup Water Intake
Makeup water is the water that replaces what the cooling tower loses to evaporation, bleed, and leaks. It can be drawn from many sources, including city water, well water, or even surface water. Where you get this water from and how clean it already is will determine whether you need water treatment at this stage. If you do, the most common water treatment here will adjust water softness or hardness and balance the pH of the water to prevent the corrosion of your system.
Ion Exchange & Water Softening
Water hardness, or the presence of minerals in the water (and especially magnesium, calcium, and iron), can dramatically affect the lifespan and efficacy of your cooling tower. You can soften your water by inserting lime, or you can opt for a resin. This resin will be charged with sodium ions; as the hard water comes through, the resin will release the sodium and grab the minerals in the water, because the resin is built to have a stronger affinity for elements like calcium and magnesium. This will improve the quality of your water without introducing harmful byproducts.
Addition Of Chemicals
If you need to change the features of your water, you may opt for chemicals. Corrosion inhibitors like bicarbonates remove acidity, while algaecides or biocides reduce biofilms and other natural growth. You can also opt for scale inhibitors like phosphoric acid.
If your cooling tower uses recirculated water, there is a chance of contamination due to drifts and leaks. You can prevent this pollution of your water using side-stream filtration, which is made up of a multimedia filtration unit that cleans up to 10% of your water at any given time.
Some cooling towers will choose to reuse or recycle water through reverse osmosis or other options. This opens reused water to new contaminants, even if it was cleaned before. Demineralization treatment may be useful here to remove the most common contaminants that reenter the water as part of this process.
Cooling Tower Cleaning
One of the most overlooked aspects of cooling tower water treatment is the cleaning of the system itself. Without proper cooling tower cleaning services, the water in your system may become contaminated and/or prone to Legionella bacteria. Thus, it is essential to ensure the cooling tower is properly cleaned and maintained before running the system.
Speak To A Professional Cooling Tower Water Treatment Company
Understanding your options when it comes to water treatment for your cooling tower can feel overwhelming, especially because most cooling tower systems are unique or individual to their specific locations and purposes. This is why it is important to get in touch with a skilled water treatment expert who can review your cooling tower and make recommendations that are personalized to your situation.
Tower Water sets the standard for water treatment, and we would be happy to assist you in determining the most effective and long-lasting option for your cooling tower. Reach out to schedule a consultation so that we can examine your water and make recommendations for your tower system.