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Cooling tower maintenance guide

Should I Repair Or Replace A Cooling Tower

Should I Repair Or Replace A Cooling Tower Cooling Tower Maintenance 

 

If you’re the owner of a commercial or industrial facility, then you know how important it is to have a reliable cooling tower. When your cooling tower isn’t working properly, it can start to seriously disrupt your business. That’s why it’s important to know when to repair and when to replace your cooling tower. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of repairing and replacing cooling towers, and also give you some top tips on how to make the best decision for your business. (more…)

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What is a Cooling Tower?

A cooling tower is a heat exchanger which, through evaporation, removes heat from the water and that rejected heat is transferred to the atmosphere. The cooling process occurs when the hot water contacts the air drawn through the cooling tower, this reduces the temperature of the hot water.  To improve upon the efficiency of the cooling process, the effective surface area of the water running through the cooling tower is often increased by spraying, splashing or filming of the water to expose more of the water surface area to the air. Evaporative cooling is commonly seen when one steps out of the shower, the water drops still on your body evaporate quickly, leaving one with a cooling sensation.  When a person sweats on a hot summer day, it is to help the body cool down. Sweat glands release sweat onto the skin, which then evaporates and helps reduce the body’s internal temperature.

How Do Cooling Towers Work?

Cooling towers hot water intakes spray hot water, usually pumped through FRP or PVC pipe headers, over PVC fill media. The fill acts as a heat transfer enhancer by providing the maximum amount of water surface area to transfer heat. The water and the air passing through come together, creating evaporative cooling. There is a small amount of water loss through evaporation, which is the result of cooling down the water. The remaining water falls into a water basin to be reused or pumped back into the cooling system. The cooling towers ICS builds are custom heat exchangers to meet industrial customer needs.

Where Are Cooling Towers Used?

Cooling towers are often used in commercial and industrial applications, but in this section, we will focus on industrial applications.

Power plants like biomass, gas – fired, nuclear, and geothermal power all use industrial cooling towers to cool-down processes. Additionally, petrochemicals, oil refineries, pulp and paper plants also use cooling towers to cool process water.

What Are The Different Types of Cooling Towers?

Natural Drafts or Atmospheric Cooling Towers: This type of cooling tower does not require mechanical components to operate, instead, the hot water is sprayed and the airflow through the tower is produced by the density difference between the less dense air inside the cooling tower stack and the more dense air outside the tower.
The natural draft cooling tower can be designed and erected as counterflow or crossflow as well.

Mechanical Draft: Mechanical draft cooling towers are categorized into an induced or forced draft type. These types of towers are usually driven by motors coupled to gear reducers connected to axial fans. It is common to see the cooling towers with a single fan but there are cases where the need of two fans per cell is required to meet the airflow volume.

Induced Draft: These types of cooling towers have axial fans on top of the cell. The fans move the air by suction instead of forcing (pushing) the airflow through the cooling tower. These types of cooling towers have air discharge velocity higher than the entrance velocity. Because of the high discharge velocity, the induced draft cooling towers are less probable to experience recirculation.

Forced Draft: These types are characterized by high airspeed at the air inlet (entrance) and low exit velocities. This makes them susceptible to recirculation and therefore are considered less efficient. Additionally, due to the location of the fans, these types are subject to developing severe icing during the winter months.

Induced and forced draft cooling towers can be built in counterflow or crossflow configurations.

Counterflow Cooling Towers: Air moves vertically upward, entering the cooling tower through the air inlets, then passing through the fill and counter to the down spray of the hot water. Due to the enclosed nature of these types of cooling towers, water is not exposed to the environment; thereby retarding the growth of algae.

Crossflow Cooling Towers: On this type of cooling towers, air moves through the fill positioned horizontally across the downward fall of water. The hot water is poured into hot water basins located at the top of the fill and it is distributed by gravity through nozzles on the floor of the hot water basins.

 

Whether you need to repair, upgrade or rebuild your tower, we customize solutions to restore your tower to its optimal condition and operational performance. Our innovative designs will increase tower efficiency, boost profitability, and ensure safety and longevity. Contact us today to request a quote!

 

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Concrete Versus FRP Cooling Towers Pt. 2

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Is an FRP Cooling Tower the Right Choice for Your Project?

Hello, dear reader, and welcome to part two of our blog series highlighting the advantages that FRP materials have over concrete in industrial cooling tower design. While we aren’t suggesting that certain applications won’t call for a concrete tower design, overall we are confident that FRP materials are a better choice in the majority of cases. In our last post, we listed a couple of advantages FRP has during the construction and design phase and, in today’s post, we are going to highlight some of the maintenance benefits associated with FRP cooling towers. We hope that by the end of this blog you feel more confident in your decision between these two materials.

Maintenance is a Necessary Part of Industrial Cooling Towers

All machines, no matter how well they are designed and manufactured, require maintenance. Industrial cooling towers are no exception to this rule and, often, maintenance costs over the life of the tower can become quite an expense. Below, we have listed a few ways that FRP cooling towers are easier to maintain than concrete cooling towers.

  • Cleaning: If you have spent time around an industrial cooling tower, you are well aware that they require routine, thorough cleaning. Scale buildup and biological growth can quickly inhibit the efficacy of a cooling tower and must be handled accordingly. FRP cooling towers allow for scale build-up and algae to be washed or brushed away with ease. Concrete cooling towers, on the other hand, are porous and tend to hold onto undesirable particles and growth that must be thoroughly scrubbed away. Not only do concrete cooling towers require more frequent cleanings, the amount of labor required to complete those cleanings is much more when compared to an FRP tower.Further, the closer spacing of the structure in the FRP cooling tower allows for easier cleaning without excessive scaffolding. Concrete towers have large spans in structure, thus requiring substantial pre-cleaning safety planning and large amounts of costly scaffolding to allow cleaning teams to safely access and clean the structure.
  • General Maintenance: Every industrial cooling tower requires maintenance at some point. FRP cooling towers are one of the easiest designs to maintain. If the tower structure becomes damaged in any way, the identified components can simply be removed and replaced and the tower is good as new. If a concrete cooling tower becomes damaged, however, things aren’t as easy. Concrete tends to crack and corrode over time and repairs can be costly, expensive, and time consuming. Especially in brackish or seawater conditions which can be very aggressive to concrete structures. Where FRP cooling towers can be repaired in a matter of hours, concrete cooling towers require substantial time for preparation, chipping, patching and time for the concrete to cure, a process which can take days.

We hope that this short blog series has done an adequate job in explaining the reasons we believe that FRP cooling towers are superior to concrete cooling towers for the majority of applications. FRP towers are much faster and easier to assemble, require less maintenance, and perform better than concrete cooling towers over their lifespan. If you would like to learn more about our FRP cooling tower options, please visit our website today. At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc. we are experts in the design, construction, and maintenance of FRP industrial cooling towers and we would love to leverage our experience to help you with your next cooling tower project.

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