Cooling towers are a critical part of many commercial and industrial buildings, playing an important role in air conditioning, refrigeration, and various manufacturing processes. The condition and performance of a cooling tower can directly impact a building’s energy efficiency and overall operational costs.
For building owners and managers, regular maintenance and preventative care is essential in ensuring the longevity and efficiency of these systems. In relation to cooling tower care, understanding best practices and the potential financial and operational benefits that a well-maintained cooling tower can offer, will help ensure your system lasts its useful life.
It is also important to understand why neglecting to perform these steps can backfire.
Cooling Tower Best Practices
Proper care and maintenance help cooling towers operate efficiently. Best practices include frequent inspections to check for leaks, damage, clogs and sediment buildup. The water chemistry must be monitored and treated to control scale, corrosion and biological growth.
Fans, motors and belts should be well-maintained and replaced as needed. The tower and distribution system should be cleaned bi-annually to remove debris and prevent blockages. Establishing a routine shutdown plan will also protect the tower when it is offline. Partnering with a water treatment specialist will help ensure you are covered in all these areas.
Inspecting cooling towers at least once a week while running is critical to spot potential problems early before they worsen. During inspections, check for leaks, unusual vibrations, scale buildup, clogs, worn belts/motors, and ensure water is flowing properly.
If any issues are noticed, you should contact your water treatment provider or HVAC mechanical contractor immediately to troubleshoot and perform any necessary maintenance or repairs to prevent larger failures.
Monthly Water Treatment Service
Having monthly water treatment service from a trusted provider is crucial to maintain proper water chemistry and cooling tower performance. On their service visits, the water treatment specialist will test the water chemistry, inspect the system, adjust chemical dosing as needed, and apply scale or corrosion inhibitors.
Routine monthly water treatment aims to control bacteria, minimize scale and corrosion, prevent buildup, and optimize water conditions to extend the life of the cooling tower.
It is important to schedule thorough cooling tower cleanings at the start and end of summer to maintain efficiency. Regular professional cooling tower cleanings optimize heat transfer, airflow, water distribution, and system hygiene by washing away any accumulated scale, sediment, or debris that can impede performance and lead to potential plumbing issues or even legionella risks if bacteria is allowed to proliferate.
If you are running your cooling tower seasonally, the tower fill, basins, and all internals should be cleaned thoroughly to remove any buildup that occurred during the operating season.
Your water treatment partner should drain and flush the system, then refill it with clean water treated with corrosion inhibitors to prevent damage over the shutdown period. All strainers, valves, and other components should be inspected, tested, and repaired if needed to ensure proper operation when restarting next season.
In New York City, building managers must register cooling towers annually and develop a risk management plan based on local guidelines. Routine bacteria testing, biocidal treatments, inventory information, and inspection records must be maintained per local regulations.
Compliance documentation provides proof of proper cooling tower maintenance and water quality oversight, which is critical in NYC to avoid major fines or public health risks. Even if compliance legislation does not exist, it is still considered best practice to perform routine bacteria testing and if needed any remediation.
Operational & Financial Benefits Of a Well Maintained Cooling Tower
A properly maintained cooling tower optimizes heat transfer efficiency to provide greater cooling capacity for HVAC systems and industrial processes. Routine maintenance prevents unplanned downtime by catching issues early before they cause major system disruptions.
Investing in regular cleaning, water treatment, repairs and component replacements ultimately saves money over the life of the cooling tower by avoiding emergency repairs from neglected maintenance.
Regular cooling tower maintenance generates significant long-term cost savings for building owners. Proper care avoids expensive emergency repairs and replacements that result when minor issues go unaddressed.
Well-maintained cooling towers also conserve energy and water due to improved heat transfer efficiency, providing lower utility bills. The relatively minor investments in routine cleaning and servicing pay dividends and give you max use of your equipment.
Potential Dangers Of Neglecting Maintenance
Failure to maintain cooling towers properly can potentially lead to a variety of serious issues and problems. One of the most concerning options is the risk of Legionella bacteria developing, which can cause Legionnaires disease.
The buildup of scale and corrosion can also lead to reduced operational efficiency, resulting in higher operating costs. In some cases, an operational failure can also occur like pipe bursts, pump failures, or clogs.
How Tower Water Can Help With Your Cooling Tower Needs
Cooling tower maintenance isn’t just a technical requirement; it’s an ongoing process that can directly affect the comfort, efficiency, and safety of your building. The right care and attention can keep your system running smoothly all year long.
Our knowledgeable professionals specialize in helping businesses achieve all of your unique water treatment goals. Give us a call at 212-518-6475 or schedule a consultation online today to learn more about our water treatment services.