Environmentally Friendly Cooling Towers

Phoenix Environmentally Friendly Cooling Towers

Many of our modern industrial processes in Arizona produce extreme levels of heat. Having environmentally friendly cooling towers in Phoenix keeps these processes and buildings cool without undue impact on the environment. Cooling Towers being an integral part of a city landscape need to be aesthetically tolerable. This is something that community members, owners, and operators are seeking.

A few of the other factors that lend to cooling towers being able to do their job without being an eyesore are controlling the plume rising from the towers, keeping the cooling towers quiet as possible, and treating the water inside the towers.

Cooling Tower Plume Abatement

With so many rightly concerned about being environmentally in Phoenix conscious seeing a large plume of steam coming from a cooling tower can raise some concerns. As much as the plume is just evaporated water manufacturers have responded by fitting the cooling towers with plume abatement measures. Community members might think it’s just unsightly or some might even worry that it reduces visibility.

Manufacturers accomplish plume abatement by placing dry heat exchangers above the drift eliminators and fill material. The hot water from the cooling tower process initially circulates through the dry air heat exchanger. Then it goes through the evaporative fill section. Air from outside the cooling tower is simultaneously drawn in through the dry heat exchanger and the warm and wet fill material.

Cooling Tower Noise Control

In some application areas in Arizona, the cooling towers must operate in or near residential or commercial shopping areas. In many industrial applications distance and design are enough to negate the noise produced by the cooling tower. However in these areas where retail and commercial businesses are trying to operate excess noise can be a big problem. In these cooling tower applications additional noise attenuation measures are a great solution.

One of the times that cooling tower noise control is most critical is at night. If the cooling towers are loud and make sleeping difficult it can raise concerns. One solution to this noise problem is to have a two-speed motor. During quiet hours it can run at a lower speed and cycles can be eliminated overnight to make the cooling tower quieter. Another solution is variable speed drives that will avoid the noise of the system from cycling on and off. A benefit of a variable speed unit is that it will also run your cooling tower more efficiently and will pay for itself in energy savings.

Cooling towers can also benefit from low noise fans which feature special airfoils that minimize noise at all times of operation. If the situation is very sensitive discharge and inlet sound attenuator sections can be added. The downsides to this are because of air flow restriction caused by the attenuators a large cooling tower might be necessary, and access to the cooling tower is restricted by the attenuator sections.

Cooling Tower Water Treatment

With environmental regulations becoming ever more stringent in Phoenix owners and operators need to monitor the quality of water that is being circulated or discharged by the cooling tower. Cooling tower water treatment is a way that owners can control this factor, and follow the guidelines set forth by the environmental protection agencies.  Cooling towers coincidentally end up cleaning the air that is processed through the fill material for the purpose of dissipating heat. As a result the particulates and pollution that is already in the air in the area the cooling tower operates in are cleaned out of the air and end up in the water circulating through the cooling tower. With progressively more restrictive limits on the use of chemicals for blowdown makeup water owners are challenged continuously.

With the limits put on the levels of chorine used to control the biological growth plants have had to come up with alternative methods. One method operators have turned to, to comply with Arizona EPA regulations is ozonation to maintain water quality and still have cooling towers that run efficiently. Different states and cities have different restrictions that must be followed or considered when thinking of alternate methods for water treatment. Contact your local Phoenix cooling tower experts for guidance on what options you have at your disposal.

How Do Cooling Towers Work?

Cooling towers have a very important commonality with the human body, sweating. At least in principle. We sweat when our body needs to cool itself down by emitting water over the skin and allowing the evaporation to cause a cooling effect which lowers the core temperature of the body. That effect isn’t exclusive to the human body, spreading water over any surface and allowing it to evaporate will leave the area or item much cooler than it was prior.

The environment you are in dictates how well this process works to cool via moisture. Air has a saturation threshold and one it’s reached it’s limit it cannot hold any more moisture. In areas with extremely humid conditions this process doesn’t work very well because the sweat and moisture remain on the skin instead of evaporating and can actually cause an increase in heat. Sweating in Arizona is much different than sweating in Georgia because the air in Arizona is very dry and has plenty of room for saturation whereas Georgia is very, very humid and the air becomes fully saturated very quickly even though it is much hotter temperature-wise in Arizona’s desert. This means that towers will work differently and utilize different measures to achieve optimal efficiency. There are variations to almost every component of cooling towers on top of the various styles that the towers themselves are designed within in order to accommodate differing needs and climates. Knowing which type of tower works best in your region is paramount to getting the most out of your cooling tower investment. The type of maintenance as well as the schedule you keep in regard to maintenance will differ by region as well.

Cooling Towers work in much the same way although the amount of water involved that needs to be evaporated is much greater than what the human body produces. This means that extra components will be needed in order for the process to be carried out efficiently. Fans are used to cycle saturated air out of the tower so unsaturated air can be brought in to promote further evaporation. Water is constantly circulated via various devices in order to replace evaporated water and keep the thermodynamic process going. Heat sources are also involved to ensure the water is always being heated to levels it can vaporize and evaporate. Cooling towers and their maintenance are very complex and their components can vary in type and number, but at the heart of the whole operation, the fundamentals are as simple as sweat.


Legionnaires Disease 101

If you are the owner or a perspective owner of cooling towers, one risk that you should be fully aware of is the potential for the development of Legionnaire’s disease in the pools of your towers. With the water disaster in Flint, MI (which is absolutely tragic and inexcusable) awareness of Legionnaires disease is on the climb because so many are currently being affected by it. While the development of Legionnaires disease is easily avoidable, understanding the disease is still important.


Legionella is the bacteria that involved with outbreaks of Legionellosis, which can develop into Pontiac Fever or Legionnaires disease. While Pontiac Fever tends to pass through your system on its own, Legionnaires disease is a form of pneumonia that requires a hospital stay to eradicate. The mortality range of Legionnaires disease is 5%-30% which is alarming enough to take every measure to avoid its development.

Spreading Legionnaires:

The most common way that Legionnaires Disease is transmitted through water that has been aerosolized, which is why cooling tower owners need to be educated and aware of this disease. A less common way that it can be transmitted is via drinking water. While it is possible to become fatally ill, most people who actually come into contact with the disease do not fall ill and the disease cannot be passed from one person to another.

Legionella occurs naturally in fresh water, but it isn’t pervasive enough to cause illness. It’s when Legionella starts to prop up in artificially heated and contained bodies of water. These environments accelerate the growth of Legionella and are almost ideal for it to develop enough to become problematic for humans.

Performing regular maintenance on your cooling tower is the easiest and most effective way to avoid experiencing any problems related to Legionella, especially Legionnaires Disease.


Keeping Up Your Chiller Tubes

Chiller tubes can use an incredible amount of energy, up to 50% of all energy used at a facility at peak times.  That can be an astronomical number and can effect your margins greatly if you aren’t getting the most out of the energy going into your chiller tubes.

Chiller tubes cans see up to a 35% reduction in overall efficiency if your cooling towers are poorly maintained or dirty. That is important for a couple reasons; A) You are losing a lot of money by paying for energy that isn’t necessarily being used effectively and B) You are making your chiller work harder than necessary to achieve results it could reach much easier if maintained which can drastically reduce the lifespan of your chiller tube. Maintaining your cooling towers does cost a good amount of money but the amount pales in comparison to the cost of replacing chiller tubes or entire cooling towers. That is the kind of expense that can cripple a business.

Keeping maintenance consistent is key as having as much data about your towers and their current condition can help you catch problems in their early stages instead of when they mature and become potentially problematic to other components in the cooling tower/chiller tube.  Legionnaire’s disease is commonly found in the pools of poorly maintained cooling towers along with other organisms that quickly breed and can potentially clog the system.

Make sure your waterways are clear as they can bring in sediment and particles from outside of the tower and introduce them into the inner workings of your towers. Keeping the water ways from collecting build up is important when it comes to keeping your pools clean and water clear of contaminates. It may seem like a lot to maintain your chiller tubes frequently, but it is well worth it to keep them working as close to 100% efficiency as possible.


Cooling Towers 102

Cooling tower class is officially back in session, welcome to Cooling Towers 102! Before moving into new material, we will start with a review of basic cooling tower function. Cooling Towers are used to extract heat from water that is sprayed along fills that line the tower’s interior. The natural process of evaporation is artificially enacted and the extracted heat is passed out of the tower through the top in a cloud of steam. There are different types of cooling towers that use different fills and water/air distribution systems. No matter the methodology, cooling towers all serve the same purpose to extract and expel heat from water so it can be sent back into the main facility for use.  Cooling towers can also be used for air conditioning in certain scenarios.

Cooling towers effectively serve as main components for air conditioning, heating ventilation and industries that use large amounts of water for cooling, ie power plants. They are desirable because they are very cost effective for the purpose they are used for. Thousands of large scale facilities use massive amounts of water for cooling purposes. Large buildings use cooling towers in order to effectively cool and heat the entire structure.

There are risks associated with cooling towers that need to be kept in mind if employing the use of one. Cooling tower pools are prone to growing the Legionella bacteria if they are cleaned and maintained routinely and efficiently. Legionella loves heat and thrives in warm and moist environments and cooling towers provide and ideal environment for the propagation of Legionella which can cause Legionaires disease if the bacteria is breathed in. Making sure cooling towers are cleaned and maintained is of the utmost importance.

This concludes Cooling Towers 102, we shall return in time with Cooling towers 201 next term. Until then, happy cooling, students.

Cooling Towers 101

Cooling Towers seem pretty self explanatory when you listen to their name, but there is a lot more complexity than indicated by their simple moniker. Complex both in function and deployment, cooling towers are fascinating machinations that synthetically recreate a natural phenomenon, evaporation.

The core function of cooling towers is to extract heat from heated water and disperse the extracted to heat into the surround environment outside of the tower. This evaporative process is maximized when as much air as possible flows over as much water surface as possible. There are different methods of heat extraction as well as several types of cooling towers  that are used depending on where the facility is and what it is used for.

Two very common types of cooling towers are crossflow and counterflow towers.  Crossflow towers use splash fills to expose descending water to air flowing across is at is falls in order to extract the heat. Counterflow towers the air is moved upward against the downward flow of the descending water as opposed to across the water in order to achieve the same heat extraction. While these are the two most common types of cooling towers there are definitely more styles that are used.

Mechanical and Natural Draft are two styles that are used as alternatives to cross flow and counterflow. Mechanical draft towers use mechanized methods to push the air across the water, usually in the form of fans. The mechanized components can vary, but they ultimately serve the same purpose. Natural draft towers are tall and chimney like and use the buoyancy of heated air to provide the flow of air over the water. These are the iconic looking towers often seen on nuclear sites. Their shape promotes the natural flow of warm air out of the top of the tower.