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Regular Cleaning and Maintenance for Better Cooling Tower Performance

20 September 2019

While lesser equipment setups can survive an occasional maintenance hiccup, cooling tower systems cannot afford that luxury. After all, this gear combines dozens of intricate subsystems. Really, cooling towers can ill afford such a slipshod mode of operation. To the contrary, a strictly enforced predictive planned maintenance program should be imposed. If these regular cleaning and maintenance assignments aren’t enforced, a cooling tower performance crash can be expected.

Implement a Predictive Planned Maintenance Program

Repair services often happen after-the-fact. Granted, a new drift separator assembly or broken air intake louvre should be replaced, but that doesn’t change the fact, the equipment has taken a performance hit. That drop in operational efficiency might only cause a small temperature rise in the industrial process that’s being cooled, but it also might just initiate a knock-on effect. For example, a pump malfunction could cause a directly coupled system to degrade as well. Predictive planned maintenance work looks for small, niggling mechanical issues before they can become big, downtime-causing breakdowns. Moreover, monitoring data is collected during the maintenance operations, and this data can be used to chart a trend. If that trend indicates a possible systemic failure, then a full overhaul can be given action before the problem becomes irreversible.

Inserting Regular Cleaning Duties

As a second means of assuring a performance boost, service engineers call upon rigorous cleanliness standards. As the first line of defence, scrubbing work keeps the equipment free of biological hazards. Mould colonies and bacterial growths can’t survive if a maintenance crew applies a disinfecting agent straight to the water distributing core. As for the high-efficiency packing, whether used in a crossflow or counterflow system, this media needs to be kept scrub-down clean. However, these actions only wash down the exterior surfaces of the tower assemblies. Inside the tubes and nozzles, water scale deposits create tube and nozzle clogs. Fouling mechanisms need attention, as do the heat exchanging innards that swap out process heat for tower infused coolness.

And so it goes, with application-safe chemical cleansers breaking down and clearing hard water clogs and surface scaling. As the fouled water funnels away, cooling towers enjoy a simultaneous performance uptick. On the macro scale, debris is scooped up, so bits of tree and leaves, insects and plant fragments are removed. Meanwhile, on approaching the micro-scale, cleaning agents remove moss and pollen, plus all the microorganism hosting growths that could threaten a health risk. More aggressively, the drift eliminators are unclogged, the water is treated, and the cooling tower basin is entirely scrubbed clean. The same goes for the fan housings and pumps, which receive a pressure wash if they have a high enough ingress protection rating.

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