Reducing Operating Costs and Increasing Efficiency in Cooling Towers
Cooling towers have long been a crucial part of cooling systems. Their use stretches from multi-unit apartment buildings to manufacturing facilities, to large athletic arenas. While the part they play in extracting heat from these systems is indispensable, cooling towers can be expensive to operate. As with any mechanical system, efficiency is critical in keeping those operating costs at a low level. Ensuring a cooling tower is functioning most efficiently is the best way to keep operating costs at a manageable level.
Cooling towers vary tremendously in terms of size, material, and even how they function. However, there are some general methods we recommend to ensure that operating costs this summer (and year-round) are kept to a minimum.
While cooling towers are an indispensable addition to large cooling systems, to ensure they function properly, regular inspections are required. Valves should be inspected to ensure they function as intended, turning on or off depending on the pressure. A malfunctioning valve can cause serious flooding issues. Similarly, a valve that refuses to open mean cold water can’t enter the system to initiate the cooling process. Not identifying and mitigating a non-functioning valve means the tower can’t operate efficiently and will have to work harder in order to have its intended effect. Working harder means increased costs of operation.
In addition to valves, other cooling tower components must be inspected regularly. Areas such as the basin, drains, and nozzles are prone to both scaling and corrosion. These occurrences can be detrimental to both efficiency and the health and safety of those in the building. Corroded areas of a cooling tower often lead to leaks. If gone unnoticed, leaks result in messy situations, which at that point, require both repair and cleanup efforts. In buildings such as manufacturing plants, a leak in the cooling system may result in the need to shut down operations to successfully clean and make repairs. Any downtime in manufacturing means added costs due to lost production. So, regularly inspecting for these corroded areas helps to avoid that problem and be proactive in ensuring the system requires no downtime.
Water Quality Monitoring
In addition to regular inspections of the tower itself, the water quality within it also needs constant attention. In terms of safety, this monitoring helps to identify any issues with bacteria growth in the water that can be harmful to people. But, water quality monitoring isn’t simply a safety issue. It can help prolong the life of the cooling tower, thus reducing the overall costs of operation. Water monitoring helps identify the corrosive quality of it, which if left at a high level, causes some of those issues previously mentioned such as leaks and system shut-down. Also, inspecting the water for organic growth and build-up allows you to form and adjust a treatment plan for these issues that prevents them from becoming unmanageable and requiring unexpected system downtime for cleaning.
Keeping the corrosive quality and organic growth within the water of a cooling tower in check means it is less likely to be subject to mechanical fatigue from working overtime and a lessened risk of leaks.
Maximization of Concentration Cycles
One of the biggest causes of inefficiency and high operating costs in cooling towers is bleeding rates that are not optimized. What is bleeding? Essentially, bleeding refers to a controlled discharge of water to keep levels constant within the tower. Bleeding helps to remove water that is highly concentrated with minerals (from the evaporation process) and then replace it with fresh water.
Bleeds that are too high signify that an excessive amount of water usage – adding to the operating costs. That, combined with the additional chemical treatments to prevent bacteria, means a higher cost of operation. With a low-level bleed, that tower itself is more prone to mineral build-up and corrosion because the causes of these issues are more highly concentrated in the water.
It is a delicate balance ensuring that bleed is set at an efficient level for a cooling tower. But, the benefits of doing so are huge in terms of operating costs.
Cooling Tower Experts – Your Partners in Efficiency
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your cooling tower is the best way to ensure efficient operation and limited unexpected expenses. Because each tower is unique in terms of the size of the system it supports, the quality of water pumped in, and its overall size and material makeup – it takes high-level expertise to maximize efficiency.
At Cooling Tower Experts, we’ve spent years in the field, gaining knowledge and experience in all types of cooling tower installations. We continuously use our expertise to advise and assist with installations, maintenance and cleaning, and repairs of towers of all sizes and conditions.
If you are looking to reduce the operating costs of an existing tower or ensure the next one you install runs as efficiently as possible, we can help. Successful project management and customer satisfaction are our two primary goals. We can help you form a plan of action while also educating you on your existing tower or the ones on the market. Contact us today to get started on your next cooling tower project!