With the cooler months upon us, it is important to prepare your cooling towers for freezing temperatures. Even in extremely icy conditions, cooling towers can be operated successfully if proper precautions and protocols are followed. A frozen cooling tower is a major issue for business operations as well as from a cost standpoint. Now is the time to prepare for winter weather.
Winter Cooling Tower Problems
As with any outdoor equipment, ice can form and collect on cooling towers if the conditions are right. This ice can form and even be exacerbated by the operation of the cooling tower itself.
The location of ice formation on the cooling tower is important to understand. Ice at the air inlet and on the fans can lead to major operational issues and extensive damage, whereas ice on the structure may be less of an immediate concern.
Cooling tower fans are delicate and cannot operate optimally when obstructed. Ice formation poses a major threat to the fans in terms of equipment damage and loss of functionality. The expansion of water as it freezes, and sheer weight of the building ice can deform the fans. Even after the ice is removed, the effectiveness of the fans can be greatly diminished. Also, as fans freeze up, the efficiency of the cooling tower declines rapidly which can halt operations completely if left untreated.
Ice formation on the structure may not pose an immediate threat to the performance of the cooling tower, but it should not be overlooked. The building of ice can add tremendous weight and stress to the cooling tower supports and cause costly damage.1 Also, ice can dislodge from the cooling tower structure, resulting in a falling brick of ice that can damage equipment and put personnel at risk.
Regardless of where ice formation is observed, actions should be taken to remedy the ice situation and implement preventative measures.
Operating a Cooling Tower In Winter
There are many different methods to successfully operate a cooling tower in winter conditions. These can vary depending on the location, operation, and other specifics of the equipment itself. Even so, there are some common themes to help make winter cooling tower operations go smooth.
Winter temperatures pose a serious threat to cooling towers, but these risks can be mitigated with a proactive and proper approach to cold weather management. As a global leader in custom programs for boilers, cooling, and process water systems, Chem-Aqua knows what it takes to keep integral process systems running strong even when being exposed to extreme conditions.
Contact us to learn more about Chem-Aqua and our commitment to service.