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Are You Doing Enough to Keep Your Cooling Tower Working?

Are You Doing Enough to Keep Your Cooling Tower Working?

Keeping your cooling towers operating properly requires regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent shutdowns and to keep your energy costs down. Unless you currently have a maintenance plan that includes cleaning, you are not doing enough to keep your tower working as it should. In addition to harboring bacteria, dirty cooling towers can draw debris through piping, reducing the efficiency of the entire system. TSP offers quarterly (suggested) or biennial maintenance contracts for your cooling tower. Let’s get one started for you today. Call us at 713-644-9296.


If you drain your towers in the winter due to a reduced need for them, plan one of your two annual cleanings for then to get the most efficient use from your system when you refill the tower when warmer conditions return. Even if you use the towers all year long, you will still need to plan biannual cleanings to prevent fouling that could damage the system.
That’s why we wanted to dive deeper into 4 reasons why it is a smart business investment to implement a proper cooling tower preventive maintenance program.

1. Prevent Microorganism Growth
Microbial growth causes numerous problems for your system and your employees. In warm conditions, bacteria and algae proliferate in uncleaned water. Biofilm, a physical film filled with bacteria, can cause micro-biologically influenced corrosion, and these mats of bacteria can also harbor disease-causing microbes, such as Legionella. In addition to ongoing use of a bio-dispersant to break up this biofilm layer, a cooling tower cleaning can protect your system from these problems.

2. Reduce Water Treatment Costs
Not cleaning your system regularly will require more frequent treatments to keep the water clean. Increasing the number of treatments will cut into your budget by adding more costs to maintenance. Skipping cleaning does not save you money, but it will cost you more in repairing damage to the system, inefficient operation and getting more water treatments. If you start with a clean system, the water treatment will be more effective in preventing corrosion, bacteria, and scale. Your system will also operate much more efficiently, which will also save you money.

3. Prevent Scale Deposits
Cleaning your system and treating the water prevents solid minerals from depositing throughout the system. Scale buildup can reduce water flow, impede cooling and make the system less efficient.

Scale and corrosion occur through natural evaporation of the water used in the system. When water evaporates, it leaves behind any minerals that were in it as solids. Over time, these solids will increase in volume and sink to the interior surfaces of the cooling towers and system, creating scale and corrosion. Corrosion and scale decrease the efficiency of the system, which is why preventing them through water treatment and tower cleaning is so critical.

4. Energy Efficiency and Equipment Lifespan
If a cooling tower’s water is not cleaned regularly and in the correct fashion, studies have shown that the cooling tower’s efficiency can be reduced by as much as 40% – 50%. If not properly maintained, the bacteria, airborne dirt, and debris deposits collect and affix to different components of the cooling tower. This restricts air flow, forcing the fans and pumps to operate longer and harder to maintain the desired water temperatures. If water temperatures are allowed to increase by even as little as 2-3%, the return water from the tower will cause the chiller to work longer and harder. All these inefficiencies add up to take money out of your energy budget and can result in a loss of cooling effectiveness for your customers and your employees. Not only will the increased workload on the cooling tower’s components eat away at your bottom line from an energy standpoint, the chances for equipment failure increases, and the expected lifespan of the parts and entire unit decreases. While the process of cleaning and disinfecting a cooling tower can be arduous and labor intensive, the payback can be significant over time. 

As you can clearly see, regular cooling tower cleaning is important for several reasons. But that reason you care most about, the reason affecting your bottom line, is energy efficiency. You see, as calcium deposits grow, they begin to restrict and/or divert water and air flow, affecting the natural evaporation and efficiency of the cooling tower.

Proper cooling tower cleaning protocol:
  1. Chlorination
  2. Clean hot decks spray nozzles and orifices
  3. The Tower basin should be cleaned and disinfected
  4. The fan housing should be carefully scrubbed and disinfected
  5. All distribution pans should be opened and cleaned
  6. Pressure wash tower surfaces and basin
  7. Vacuum the tower sump
  8. Properly dispose of debris

If you currently do not have routine maintenance performed on your cooling towers, contact TSP. Our in-house team of cooling tower experts (Mr. GoodTower Authorized) offers a wide range of services. With the number of cooling tower savvy technicians decreasing across the country and the risks involved with improper cleaning, we want to make sure you are getting the best service possible.

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