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.