If your facility owns and operates a cooling tower as part of your HVAC system, you likely understand how large of a role it plays in the successful functioning of your business.
Proper care of a cooling tower involves more than just physical maintenance of its moving parts, however; a tower is in regular contact with large volumes of water, and for both regulatory compliance and performance reasons, it is critical that you also take good care of the water that the system uses during operation.
The Overall Purpose of Cooling Tower Water Treatment
As part of its normal functioning, a cooling tower will rely on water to control the transfer of heat and moderate temperature and use.
Over time, the water flowing through the system can contribute to a buildup of sludge and bacteria within the equipment, and removing this is part of a comprehensive maintenance plan.
However, one of the most critical elements of water treatment for cooling towers is the prevention of a potentially deadly bacteria called Legionella.
The Legionella bacteria thrives in tepid water between 77 degrees and 108 degrees Fahrenheit, much like the water in a cooling tower that is helping the machine to offset heat.
When allowed to thrive, Legionella bacteria can proliferate quickly in the water within a cooling tower system. As the system operates, it creates mist or vapor as part of the heat regulation and cooling process. When these water droplets enter the air, they may contain Legionella bacteria from the main water supply.
Contaminated water droplets can drift as far as a few miles from the cooling tower that they originated from, and humans who come into contact with these droplets can become infected with the bacteria.
This may result in Pontiac fever, a flu-like sickness with many of the same symptoms, such as chills, fever, headaches, nausea and muscle aches.
However, Legionella can also cause its namesake Legionnaires’ disease, resulting in serious lung inflammation that can arise almost without warning.
Legionnaires’ disease may be fatal in as many as one in ten who are affected. For this reason, local and state governments have put regulations into place to ensure that cooling towers are regularly treating their water to prevent this risk.
Additional Benefits of Water Treatment for Cooling Towers
Stopping the spread of Legionella bacteria is perhaps the primary reason for water treatment in cooling towers, but you can expect a wide variety of additional benefits from keeping up with such maintenance.
Cooling towers are more productive and efficient when their systems are clear of sludge and debris that can build up in the water. In addition, over time, water can corrode machinery and contribute to scaling, which not only reduces the overall efficacy of the system but also compromises its integrity.
If a stretch of piping is corroded, for example, it may begin to leak or even burst, interrupting the function of the entire system. Proper water treatment extends the life of a cooling tower and prevents costly repairs or even replacements earlier than they are due, saving you money in the short and long term.
Work with the Cooling Tower Water Treatment Experts
Water treatment is nuanced, which is why it is important to work with an experienced professional. A technician can review the specific risks of your tower and develop a water treatment plan that targets all of the main areas that your system is vulnerable to.
A large portion of a comprehensive water treatment plan will target biological control, not only for Legionella, but also for other important microorganisms l Another important aspect of a comprehensive water treatment plan is a focus on sediment control for the overall health of your system.
Filtration technology can be implemented to prevent dirt, insects and other sediment from entering your machinery.
If left unattended, such issues could result in fouling within your system, compromising its function and potentially leading to costly repairs.
A professional will also assist you with scale and corrosion control so that the integrity of your machinery remains intact.
Chlorine dioxide and other solutions may work best for you, but an expert can advise you on what your specific facility needs based on the constitution of your water and the current state of your system.
If you need assistance with establishing a water treatment plan or would like a second opinion on your current setup, reach out to the experts at Tower Water. We set the standard in water treatment and would be happy to evaluate your current situation and provide guidance. Reach out to schedule an appointment with us today.