Efficient cooling towers are a crucial piece of equipment for almost any large commercial building. Since cooling towers are super efficient they result in excellent control of building environments.
If your property has a cooling tower, it may be in need of maintenance. Navigating this process can be difficult. Many people don’t think about their cooling towers after installation until something goes wrong. But at that point, the cost of repair could result in irreversible damage.
Preventative measures like HVAC cleaning services can keep cooling towers running like new and reduce the occurrence of costly repair. They can also improve the air quality and water quality of a building. OSHA’s technical manual calls for air quality investigations of workspaces and recommends cooling tower cleanings at least twice a year.
What Is the Purpose of a Cooling Tower?
A cooling tower is used to transfer heat and cool water from a building for reuse in the tower’s system. This can allow building operators to control the environment inside a building and set climates for optimal comfort or productivity. Cooling towers also facilitate reuse of water and are normally located away from the public. They are part of the building’s heating ventilation and air conditioning system.
How Does a Cooling Tower Work?
A cooling tower takes warm air out of a building by transferring heat to the water and puts cool water into a building using methods of heat transfer and evaporation through air flow generation. The components of cooling towers interact in a continuous loop. Towers can simultaneously deliver cool water into and pull in cool air from outside a building and extract heat from inside a building.
In some towers, the warm air is injected into water cooled by outdoor air, which resides in the tower’s chiller. The water, after being injected with warm air, is distributed over packaging. This is done in a way that maximizes contact, thinning out the water.
During this process, heat escapes the tower through evaporation. Fans on the tower help facilitate evaporation. As hot air exits, cool water trickles to the tower’s basin for reuse in the system. Towers do the bulk of the work but outdoor temperature, humidity, and wind speed play a part in evaporation.
Types of Cooling Towers
There are a variety of cooling towers to suit the specific needs of a given environment. Towers vary in size and build, heat transfer methods, and air flow generation methods.
Cooling Towers By Build
- Package type: A package type cooling tower is a standardized piece of equipment that is generally fully fabricated before it arrives at a facility for install. Package type cooling towers are used for many office buildings, warehouses, apartment complexes and hotels, malls and hospitals.
- Field erection type: As the name suggests, these towers are typically built out in the field. That’s because they are built according to custom specifications for industrial environments like power plants or steel mills. Field erected cooling towers are typically massive in comparison to package type cooling towers.
Heat Transfer Methods
- Dry cooling towers do not consume water and instead rely on fans to remove heat.
- Wet or Open Circuit cooling towers deliver cool water and fans to remove heat. They are the most cost-effective solution for most buildings because of their use of renewable sources and efficient processing.
- Fluid or closed circuit cooling towers rely on the evaporation of water to remove heat from coils located inside the tower itself. The secondary fluid, which is located inside the coils, rejects heat to the water cascading within the tower and evaporation similar to other cooling towers takes place.
Air Flow Generation Methods
- Natural draft cooling towers are typically the tallest of cooling towers and use their design to their advantage to capitalize on natural air flow. In these systems, warm air naturally climbs the tower’s fans to release and make room for cold air to enter. Because natural draft cooling towers rely on natural air flow, they are typically placed outside the buildings they serve. Natural draft towers become filthy and clogged over time because of this. Used mainly in large power plant operations.
- Mechanical draft cooling towers use machinery to produce air flow and force it in a desired direction. Cooling towers with mechanical draft are easier to control as there is much less reliance on natural air flow. However, this also makes them expensive to power and maintain. Machinery inside the tower can break down over time due to materials of construction and moving parts.
- Cross flow cooling towers filter warm air in horizontal flow and cool water in a vertical flow. The contact between the two streams cools the air. Cross flow cooling towers require high levels of energy and frequent maintenance.
- Counter flow cooling towers take a similar approach to cooling as cross flow. However, counterflow towers take water injected with warm air and flow it down from the top of the tower. During this process, cool air collected from outside flows in the opposite direction. Counter flow towers are very energy efficient and are easily maintained with regular cleaning.
Reach Out to a Cooling Tower Cleaning Company
Cooling towers are used in almost every highrise or high load building or any industry requiring cooling. They are expensive pieces of equipment that have a significant impact on building operations. Without proper maintenance, energy expenses skyrocket and permanent damage occurs. Dirty cooling towers can even affect the health of a building’s residents.
At Tower Water, we inspect and clean cooling towers to minimize lifecycle damage. Our cleaning services eliminate costly repairs and improve the air quality of buildings. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of cooling tower cleaning services, check out our five benefits of HVAC cleaning services or contact us for a consultation.