How Cooling Tower Systems Work

Learning the Fundamentals

  • 19 December 2017
  • Author: Chem-Aqua, Inc
  • Number of views: 71839

Cooling towers are recirculating water systems used to remove heat from building air conditioning equipment and industrial processes. They require specialized maintenance to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable operation, including an effective water treatment program.  By understanding how cooling tower systems function, facility owners and operators can operate and maintain their systems more effectively.

Cooling tower systems work by using water to extract waste heat from a system and ejecting it into the atmosphere primarily through evaporation.  The three key components of a cooling system are the cooling tower, recirculating pump, and heat exchanger. Water first passes through a heat exchanger where it absorbs heat. The water is then distributed over the top of the cooling tower where air travels past the warm water causing a portion of the water to evaporate. The heat is transferred from the water stream to the air stream, raising the air's temperature and its relative humidity to 100%.  This warm air is then discharged to the atmosphere, resulting in a cool water stream. The cooled water from the basin is then pumped back through a heat exchanger and the cycle repeats.

Evaporative heat-rejection devices such as cooling towers provide significantly lower water temperatures than those achievable with air cooled or dry heat rejection devices, thereby achieving a more cost-effective and energy-efficient cooling system.  Cooling towers save a lot of water and energy versus air-cooled HVAC or process cooling systems.  For example, it can take 50% more electricity to operate a 400-ton air-cooled chiller than it does a 400-ton water-cooled chiller. With the proper cooling system programs in place, building HVAC, cold storage, and industrial cooling systems can be optimized for the most efficient output while minimizing operating costs.

Cooling towers require proper maintenance to ensure the most efficient operation and to reduce downtime. There are several cooling tower challenges: water conservation, corrosion, scale, deposits, and microbiological activity. Evaporated water leaves behind dissolved impurities from the makeup water which can become concentrated leading to scale, deposits, and corrosion. These issues can cause water equipment failure leading to production downtime, added costs, and reduced efficiency. Professional water treatment minimizes these challenges by expert support, focused optimization, and industry Best Practices.

Chem-Aqua is an industry leader in providing custom water treatment solutions for a variety of applications and industries. We specialize in providing custom-designed water treatment programs for boiler, cooling, and process water systems. Chem-Aqua solutions are designed to minimize their customer’s energy, water, and maintenance costs while ensuring safe and reliable operation of these critical systems. Our water treatment programs for cooling towers are engineered to minimize corrosion, scale, microbiological activity, water usage, and energy usage.

To drastically reduce your cooling systems operating costs, increase cooling efficiency, and minimize the operation challenges of your cooling towers, contact us today!


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