The managing of any HVAC system depends on the maintenance of cooling towers. When the latter are well maintained, a properly designed system will offer a comfortable environment indoors for industrial, commercial, and residential buildings throughout the year.
Though cooling towers are crucial, they are often neglected. They are tough to repair and maintain. A combination of heat, chemicals, water, and air can generate a highly corrosive atmosphere, wherein certain cooling tower components are more prone to damage compared to others.
The following are the key problems linked to cooling towers:
- Chemical attack and internal corrosion
The internal environment of cooling towers is especially damaging. Galvanized steel serves as a barrier in regions of high exposure. But chemicals in the water treatment system create holes and perforations in the sheet steel and premature corrosion.
- Erosion through impingement
The edges of fan blades are often damaged by impingement from dust particles and moisture causing corrosion- erosion. Such damage causes efficiency loss.
- Mechanical damage
When components are poorly maintained, like lacking lubrication of bearings, loose hubs and pulleys can result in worn and scored fan shafts. Such mechanical damage can impact the functionality of fans leading to more mechanical wear and strain.
Internal and external corrosion can cause issues in pipe systems.
Proper maintenance of cooling towers will help in keeping energy costs low, but neglecting this will raise costs by nearly 6% for every increase of 2 degrees F in temperature.
Following simple tips will help in getting the maximum from cooling towers:
- Ascertain overall condition of the unit and listen for any uncommon noises to denote a baseline for any potential issues.
- Prior to starting any hands-on work, ensure that you follow proper lockout procedures. For safety, disconnect any motor switches.
- Inspect and clean debris from strainers to keep the system free of excess materials.
- One needs to flush debris and dirt from the basin of cold water through a tower drain or a sump strainer to maintain water filtration.
- Inspect the water distribution system and check dry spots in the section of fill coil to avoid scale build-up and raise system capacity. When the surface is not entirely wetted, check nozzles for clogs and cracks.
- Check supply of make-up water for a suitable, pre-determined level of water to conserve water.
- Make adjustments in bleed rate as per the quality of your local water and regulations of evaporation rate, preventing the accumulation of solids in water that is re-circulated.
- Repair any tension problems on the belt to implement the optimal performance of the belt-drive system.
- Conduct regular checks on shaft alignment, oil quality, and oil level for the sake of a gear drive system following recommendations of the manufacturer for assurance of reliable service.
- Every three months, lubricate fan shafts, at a minimum, for maintaining proper operation. It is easy to install greasers of automatic bearings, which can help to get rid of the maintenance of monthly bearings.
The frequency of maintenance differs with the condition of the circulating water, and the atmosphere where the system operates. Great habits of maintenance helps prevent failure of equipment and prolong its life. Also, it is good to store crucial parts in the inventory to help reduce downtime during an emergency. Use the above tips to lower wastage of money, time, and energy.