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.