Follow our step-by-step guide if you are planning on cleaning a cooling tower.
Why Clean Your Cooling Tower?
Cooling towers need regular maintenance and cleanings, just like most equipment in a facility. Neglecting any maintenance or cleaning tasks can lead to the following issues with your cooling tower:
- Legionella Disease.
- Plugged up equipment.
- Decreased efficiency.
Towers that undergo regular cleanings/maintenance have been proven to be more energy efficient than those not receiving attention. Keeping your tower running efficiently will save energy consumption and manage overhead costs, at the same time.
Any cooling tower cleaning project will typically consist of the following:
- Acid cleaning.
- Dispersant cleaning.
Steps To Cleaning A Cooling Tower
Acid cleaning is done in order to remove any rust that may be building up within the tower. Disinfection is performed to keep bacteria under control and as a Legionella risk-abatement. Dispersant cleaning is done last. This will loosen up deposits and strip biofilm. Use these steps below to clean your tower.
Step 1. Inspect Cooling Tower
Start the cleaning process by doing a thorough inspection of the entire area.
- The experts suggest inspecting the tower every month, and especially on cleaning day.
- These inspections can reveal areas that need to be prioritized during the cleanup.
- Check to see if any of the fill media has buildup.
- Lastly, check the hot water basin for any sludge.
Step 2. Protection
You will need to protect yourself from any hazards you could encounter during this process.
- Use OSHA lockout/tagout preferences to turn off the pumps and fans.
- Both the heat and moisture emitted from the tower will pose health threats.
- You will need to wear eye protection and a mask with the appropriate grade filter.
Step 3. Bacteria Treatment
It’s well known that fungus and bacteria can grow inside cooling towers.
- Thoroughly disinfect any area featuring these harmful agents.
- Disinfect with the proper chemistry prior to cleaning the tower.
- Water any chemical compound and spray the surface of the tower.
- This will also help deter any future growths.
Step 4. Remove Any Sludge
The basin is the most common area that you’ll find sludge.
- Use specialized vacuums to remove sludge buildup from the basin.
- Cooling tower companies can provide these vacuums if you do not possess one.
Step 5. Fix Fouling/Clogs
The most important part of the heat exchange within the tower takes place in the fill media.
- The cooling process will not be efficient when the fill media is clogged.
- Cleanse the fill media using detergent.
- If necessary, replace the fill.
- Neglecting buildup on the fill can result in much higher electricity bills.
- Inspect The Unit: Jot down notes on anything that looks and sounds unusual with the cooling tower. This will later serve as guideline for how to fix any potential issues.
- Disconnect Motor Switches: This is purely to ensure your safety while inspecting the tower. Of course, follow the recommended lock out procedures before attempting to perform any hands-on tasks.
- Inspect The Strainers: Clean any debris from the strainers, if possible. This will help guard against any unwanted materials entering the system.
- Inspect The Water Distribution System: Check the system for any dry areas over the fill coil section. Check the nozzles for either cracks or clogs if the surface is not completely wet.
- Flush Out Debris And Dirt: You can do this through the tower drain or sump strainer from the cold water basin. The goal here is to prevent dirt buildup.
- Check The Water Supply: First locate the predetermined water level by inspecting the makeup water supply. This is done to conserve water over time.
- Adjust The Bleed Rate: Make sure you know the local water quality regulations in your area ahead of time. Adjusting the bleed rate will block the accumulation of solid matter within the tower.
- Fix Tension Problems: The belt drive system can only function at the highest level when any tension issues have been resolved.
- Check Oil Quality: Follow the manufacturer’s advice by checking oil quality, level and shaft alignment for the gear drive system.
- Lubricate Bearings Of The Fan Shafts: This is done to guarantee proper operation. Do this task once every three months.
How Long Will A Cleaning Take?
A small to medium-sized system will typically take an entire day to fully cleanse. Generally, the acid cleaning is the longest part of this complex process.
How Much Does Cooling Tower Cleaning Cost?
A typical cleaning project for cooling towers will cost $10,000. Prices will range from $5,000-$15,000, depending on size and complexity of the project.
*Prices according to HOH Water Technology.
Universal Tower Parts In Phoenix, AZ
Universal Tower Parts provides stainless steel and galvanized options, welded and gasketed, direct, gear reducer and belt drive units, with efficient Jedair fans, and Jedair low noise fans. Strainers, fan guards and louvers are well constructed, and designed to operate efficiently as they perform their function. Cool Core drift eliminators and fill are made by Universal Tower Parts expressly for our towers.