With the recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease in Hopkins attributed to contaminated vapor from a local cooling tower, this reliable piece of HVAC equipment has recently gained a lot more attention than usual.
Admittedly, cooling towers can be easy to overlook. Even building owners might not give much thought to the rising steam they emit, which has become ubiquitous in the metropolitan and industrial areas where they’re often found. As easily as they blend into a skyline or industrial plant, they must not be ignored. Proper cooling tower maintenance by water treatment specialists and skilled mechanical contractors is necessary to ensure both public safety and energy efficiency.
Cooling towers are systems designed to use the evaporation of water to remove heat and cool process fluids. While cooling towers are typically reliable and effective, improper cooling tower maintenance will result in water scaling inside the tower. As water evaporates, mineral deposits are left behind forming the scale. If you’ve ever noticed the residue that remains in the pot after boiling water, you know what scaling is. This calcification coats the inside of the cooling tower, creating a layer of insulation that results in decreased efficiencies and higher energy use.
It’s the job of water treatment specialists to prevent scaling. Yale Mechanical technicians work with water treatment professionals regularly who inspect and modify output levels, identify scaling and other cooling tower issues, and maintain proper levels of chemical additives to combat buildup and contamination.
On the mechanical side, scaling and other buildup carries the risk of inflating a building’s energy usage. To combat this, we inspect a cooling tower’s fans, belts, pumps, heat exchangers, mist eliminators, motors and nozzles to ensure they are all operating efficiently. We also inspect the housings to make sure they are sealed and functioning properly, and the distribution of water through the nozzles is clean. Another important function our technicians provide is to ensure that water treatment is being performed. We will notify our customer if scaling or other issues are identified (which will need to be addressed by the water treatment specialists).
It’s important to make sure your cooling towers are operating with peak performance – for both energy efficiency and public safety. Yale Mechanical’s preventive maintenance contracts ensure proper upkeep of a cooling tower’s mechanical functions. We also look to reduce energy use and increase efficiency through simple upgrades like installing Variable Frequency Drives, which regulate the speed of the motors and fans based on need. We also work with water treatment specialists to monitor cooling towers for safe, clean output.
To find out more about cooling tower maintenance and how Yale Mechanical can help your cooling towers run safer and more efficiently, get in touch with me.