Five Steps for Cooling Tower and Chiller Maintenance
In a recent Performance Industrial post on cooling tower maintenance, we reviewed the “whats, when’s and how’s” of cooling tower maintenance and how it can affect your business, including the state of New York mandate of March 1, 2016 that all building owners that had a cooling tower must develop and implement a regular cooling tower and maintenance plan. (More info here)
Your cooling towers and chillers are vital to the performance of any commercial or industrial air conditioning system! Properly maintained cooling towers and chillers keep condenser temperatures lower than un-maintained systems. This results in better energy efficiency, lower utility bill costs, and a more comfortable facility.
Here are the basics – five steps to maintain industrial cooling towers and chillers:
1. Remove Scale Deposits
Since your cooling tower works by evaporation, you will experience periodic buildups of scale deposits on your fill. Minerals in the water can create these deposits, especially if you’re experiencing water treatment issues. Limescale buildup can decrease the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system and can lead to premature deterioration of your unit. Descale your system a few times per year to increase energy conservation and keep your monthly bills manageable.
2. Ensure Proper Airflow
Poor airflow is a common cause of air that doesn’t feel cold, poor fan performance, and even entire system breakdowns. Airflow interruptions can occur because of loose components, improper fan alignment, and lack of gearbox maintenance. Damage to your fan blades can also reduce airflow. Check your unit for debris within the tower or your fill. Your cooling tower may have sludge buildup on its basin floor that is blocking airflow. Use a tower vacuum to remove these contaminants. Adding a biocide can reduce the occurrence of bacterial and algae growth in your cooling tower.
3. Clean Your Tubes
Again, contaminants like mud, slime, algae, and scale can build up within your chiller tubes and cause a partial or total clog. Clogged tubes can lead to unit inefficiencies and breakdowns. How often you clean your tubes will depend on your water quality and rate of buildup. Every unit will experience buildup of some kind – it is the nature of the system. Clearing your chiller tubes of deposits regularly will prevent total blockages and make debris removal easier. You have miles of tubing in your industrial HVAC system – you may need help from a professional to completely clear your tubes and improve efficiency.
4. Inspect the Water Pump
Most chiller systems rely on a water pump to carry warmer water to the chiller for cooling. Efficiency during the pumping process can greatly increase the performance of your air conditioning, as well as save on monthly energy bills. A well-maintained pump will not have to work as hard to move water back and forth, making operation easier on your unit and increasing its life span. Inspect your pump and check to see if it is on and off when it should be. Your pumps should run when your chiller does. Lubricate your pump and motor bearingsso, as well as the water seal. Also, periodically check your alignment.
5. Treat Your Water
Cooling tower and chiller maintenance is about more than just making sure your HVAC system components are in adequate shape – you also must pay attention to your water quality. Water quality problems can lead to major scum and scale buildup, contributing to the breakdown of your system. Invest in effective water treatment to keep your system safe and at peak performance levels. Contact Performance Industrial for professional maintenance requests.
The experienced technicians at Performance Industrial are skilled in assessing and dealing with cooling tower and chiller maintenance in Albany, Troy, Malta, Saratoga, Glens Falls, Lake George, Ticonderoga and the Southern Adirondacks. Call (518) 793-9274 for more information.