10 Easy Maintenance Tips To Save Cooling-Tower Energy
EP Editorial Staff | July 1, 2014
Did you know that simple cooling-tower maintenance techniques could help your facility save up to 15% on its electricity costs? Routine preventive maintenance also can help conserve water and extend the operating life of your cooling equipment.
Over time, the leaving-water temperature of a neglected cooling tower will rise. But for every 2-degree F increase, the equipment’s energy costs will also increase—by up to 6%. A well-maintained cooling tower, however, will continue to function at its original optimum efficiency, keeping energy costs low.
To get the most from your cooling equipment, consider these maintenance tips:
Check overall cooling and listen for uncommon system noises to establish a baseline of possible issues.
Before beginning hands-on work, be sure to follow proper lock-out/tag-out procedures and disconnect motor switches to protect your safety and that of other personnel.
To keep the system free of potentially problematic materials, inspect and clean debris from strainers.
To avoid build-up of scale and help increase capacity, inspect the water-distribution system and check for dry areas over the fill-coil section. If the surface isn’t fully wetted, check nozzles for cracks and clogs.
To ensure desired water filtration and prevent dirt from collecting in the system, flush dirt and debris from the cold-water basin through the tower drain or sump strainer. Basin-sweeper piping installed in addition to a filtration system will function as automatic maintenance.
To conserve water and reduce air entrainment, be sure make-up water is at the appropriate, pre-determined level.
To prevent accumulation of solids in recirculating water, adjust the bleed rate according to your local water-quality and evaporation-rate regulations.
To ensure optimal performance on a belt-driven system, fix any tension problems on the belt.
To assure reliable service in a gear-driven system, routinely check oil level, oil quality and shaft alignment, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Lubricate fan-shaft bearings every three months, at a minimum. Consider installing automatic bearing greasers to eliminate monthly bearing maintenance.
Remember that maintenance frequencies will vary depending on the condition of the circulating water and the environment in which cooling equipment runs. Among other things, it’s also important to remember that storing critical parts in inventory is a good strategy for reducing unplanned downtime. Your local equipment supplier may have additional strategies.
As with other systems in a plant, good maintenance habits go a long way toward preventing failures and extending the life of your cooling equipment. MT
Information in this article was supplied by Baltimore Aircoil Company (baltimoreaircoil.com), a designer and manufacturer of evaporative-cooling and heat-transfer equipment.