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Why you Should Invest in Cooling Tower Preventative Maintenance

About Cooling Towers
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Cooling towers are expensive to purchase. Like any other piece of equipment, they require proper operation and preventative maintenance to function efficiently throughout their lifecycle. The types of maintenance tasks required will vary depending on the type of tower application and configuration, as well as other factors, such as location. Some efforts should happen daily, while others are suggested less frequently, such as once a month or annually.  


When operating at their peak level, cooling towers are incredible pieces of equipment for an HVAC system. To fully reap the benefits of having a cooling tower installed within a system, it’s critical that the tower also be maintained. Knowing the benefits of having these preventive measures in place is a great place to start when developing a maintenance plan.


Benefits of Cooling Tower Preventative Maintenance


It’s fairly common knowledge that preventive maintenance keeps HVAC equipment running better and for longer. However, it’s important to understand how it does so. Regular maintenance helps to reduce build-up throughout the tower. In general, cooling towers operate by evaporating a great deal of water into the atmosphere. Because only water is removed, any minerals that used to live in that water remain in the tower and can often build up. The term scaling is used to describe this occurrence. If not treated regularly, those mineral deposits can damage tower components and even cause components to fail.  


In addition to minerals, bacteria often form on tower surfaces because the humidity within the unit provides a perfect breeding ground for growth. Certain types, such as Legionella, can become dangerous or even deadly if not managed, so taking steps to reduce risk to operators is something all tower owners need to do.


Because of the amount of water constantly circulating through cooling towers, towers with metal components are at risk for corrosion. The breakdown can occur inside or on external surfaces. When corrosion goes untreated, it can easily and quickly ruin tower components. These then require expensive repairs or replacements. Identifying and repairing corroded areas often means fixes are less costly and time-consuming than if left to worsen.


When cooling towers fail or must shut down for repairs throughout their lifecycle, the cost of that downtime needs to be factored into decisions regarding preventive maintenance. It tends to be much less expensive to take preventive measures than to make repairs down the road. This is true because in addition to the cost of parts and labor when making repairs, times a tower is down for repairs may mean halting operations and ultimately affecting production and revenue.


Recommended Preventative Maintenance


Cooling towers vary greatly in configuration, type of airflow, size, and other factors. As expected, the exact maintenance recommended for each unit also varies – there is no one-size-fits-all plan. However, there are several preventive steps for maintaining your tower that we recommended for all owners. Tower components must be regularly cleaned and chemical treatments applied to mitigate scaling and mineral buildup. Also, driveshaft alignment and fan pitch both need to be regularly assessed and adjusted,


When it comes to daily operations, cooling tower operators should always be aware of any unusual noises – these could mean misalignment of components or faulty mechanisms. Also, operators must monitor both water levels and quality each day to identify any issues as soon as possible.  


Operators can handle other maintenance tasks every month. These include checking oil levels and cleaning the tower basin and fan motor and checking and/or replenishing oil levels.


While many preventive maintenance tasks can be handled on the operator level, bringing in experts once or twice a year means getting an experienced eye on all tower components and identifying issues that may not be apparent to operators. A maintenance plan from a team of highly experienced tower experts is recommended.


Maintenance Plans from Cooling Tower Experts


At Cooling Tower Experts, we know that as a facility owner, committing to handling all cooling tower preventive maintenance in-house is not always feasible. Many companies don’t have the expertise necessary to design and implement the optimal maintenance plan to keep their towers running efficiently. That is where we come in. A preventive maintenance package from Cooling Tower Experts means that minor problems are identified and mitigated before they turn into major issues. Our team is safety-certified and is often even equipped with the right tools and equipment to perform on-the-spot repairs during maintenance appointments as needed. In fact, our maintenance appointments include ALL of the following:


  • Evaluation of all seals
  • Structural integrity assessment
  • Appraisal assessment of all mechanical supports
  • Evaluation of hardware
  • Inspection of driveshaft alignment
  • Valuation of the fan pitch
  • Flat-rate, on-the-spot repairs


Because cooling towers vary greatly in size and heat load, the frequency of preventive maintenance appointments needed each year also varies. Generally, we schedule maintenance every 6-12 months.  


The first step to proactively maintaining your cooling towers is to schedule an initial consultation with our industry experts. From there, we can help you design a maintenance plan that best suits your organization’s individual needs. If you’d like to discuss our maintenance plans or any of our other cooling tower services, contact us today!