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Cooling Tower Connections


Cooling Tower Connections


Do you remember this grade school song, "The leg bone's connected to the knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone...?" Even if you are not familiar, the value to take away is that everything in your body is connected and any type of break in those connections affect the efficiency of your body. Your cooling tower works the same way. The functionality of your cooling tower components affect each other. When one connection gets interrupted the efficiency of your cooling tower becomes impaired. So, give your tower a "leg-up" on performance and discover how your cooling tower components are all connected.


The Cooling Tower Skeleton

The "bones" of your cooling tower is your structure. Structure is important simply because it affects every component within your tower. Structural problems occur in both fiberglass and wood. When you know how to take care of your structure, it is easier to maximize the life of your cooling tower.


Fiberglass is not 100% maintenance free! A UV protection needs to be reapplied every 5-7 years to protect the fiberglass from heavy exposure to sunlight. If not reapplied, the UV damage to the fiberglass will cause fiber blooming. Fiber blooming is the deterioration of your fiberglass structure from UV rays. Just remember to reapply that coating about every 5-7 years, and there will be nothing to worry about!


If you have a wood structure... This requires considerable more maintenance because wood damages and deteriorates more quickly. The most common wood structure damage is wood rot. Wood rot is the main cause that deteriorates strength and thickness which is caused by both biological and chemical attacks that can be hard to see. The outside of the wood can look intact while the inside has severe structural loss. To prevent this deterioration treat the lumber with a safe and effective wood preservative, such as CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate)


Battling Mother Nature? Weather conditions are harsh to wood structures. Significant changes in temperature will cause the wood to expand and contract thus loosening bolts and affecting structural integrity. Wood structures can also be at high risk for fire hazards. If you are located in a hot, dry summer climate practicing a wet down system would be well advised. Doing this will protect your structure from drying out and becoming highly flammable.


Cooling tower gearboxes, fans, and motors have the biggest impact on cooling tower performance and efficiency. Cooling tower mechanicals are the powerhouse and the heart of your cooling tower.


Don't miss a beat from your gearbox! Every day you take care of your heart in some way. Maybe you do this by running or eating your cheerios for breakfast. Just remember your heart is to your body like your gearbox is to your cooling tower. If your own heart stops, unfortunately so do you. The same thing happens if your gearbox seizes. The sudden stop will damage and break many components of your tower.


When your gearbox fails... it will break your drive shaft, damage your fan, fan stack and even your structure and drift eliminators. Basically all the expensive parts of your cooling tower will now need to be replaced. If you wish to avoid this, the most important thing you can do is check your oil on a regular basis. Completing the proper preventative maintenance will help to protect the life of your cooling tower. Gearboxes seize more times than should, usually because of bad oil. So, please remember to check your oil.


Circulating air = life. If your gearbox is like your heart, then your fans are like your lungs. Fans allow proper air flow through your tower. The better the air flow, the better the performance. Your cooling tower, just like your body, must circulate oxygen to perform. Thus fan alignment needs to be accurate or you will encounter fan vibration issues.


Fan vibration has a huge effect on other mechanicals and cooling tower performance. Fan vibration will lead to loose hardware and damage your fan stacks. Most importantly fans can vibrate enough to miss align your drive shaft. A misaligned drive shaft will cause serious damage to your gearbox. Fortunately, the cooling tower industry has implemented vibration switches that alert you when your fan is vibrating too much. Vibration monitoring and prevention technology is advancing and a revolution in vibration monitoring is underway. Determining fan vibration with pin point accuracy will allow fans to run at higher speeds to produce more airflow and cool more efficiently.


Is your motor running? Then you better go catch it! The last part of your tower's powerhouse are your motors. A motors functionality is to operate your fans therefore, maintaining your motor according to your manufacturer guidelines is extremely important. Without a functioning motor, your fan cannot rotate and air cannot properly flow throughout the tower significantly interrupting cooling performance.


The Guts of Your Cooling Tower. Nozzles, fill and drift eliminators are the guts of your cooling tower. They are the pieces inside that allow proper "digestion." Your body must break up food to provide energy and your cooling tower must break up water droplets for optimal cooling efficiency. Each part is vital to the next stage of performance.


The key to nozzle performance. Nozzles are stage one in breaking up water droplets. The smaller and more evenly dispersed the water droplets are, the faster water cools thus leading to better performance. What happens when nozzles become clogged or broken? A clogged or broken nozzle can lead to serious structure damage.


When a nozzle is clogged or broken... it cannot disperse water as a mist. Water will flow through the nozzle as a hard stream which will act as a drill and drill a hole through your fill. Once the water has drilled through the fill, it will drill into your structure. Whether wood or fiberglass, the integrity of your structure is impaired. Even a little plastic nozzle can end up debilitating your tower's efficiency if not replaced as necessary. Nozzles can have a consequential effect on the performance of your fill and structure. They are, however easy to replace and extremely inexpensive. Be sure to replace any broken or clogged nozzles to avoid further or more expensive damages to your cooling tower.


Don't let your fill get fat. Ok, your fill doesn't actually get fat, but just as your body stores fat fill collects and stores calcium deposits. You may not realize that fill's lightweight honey comb design can impact structural integrity enough that your cooling tower can end up as a pile of rubble. Unfortunately this scenario does happen more often than you may think. The calcium from chemicals in the water will build up on your fill. Calcium build up is heavy, and will increase the weight of your fill five times over. It's just a matter of time before your fill collapses and takes your tower down with it. Replacing your fill as necessary will not only improve performance but also help extend the lifespan of your structure.


Drift eliminators, no skin off your neck? Think again... Your skin and your cooling tower's drift eliminators both help control temperature. Your skin controls body temperature by sweating. Drift eliminators (DE's) control air temperature by maintaining water and air flow inside of your tower. DE's have a large direct impact on the performance of your cooling tower. The better your tower is able to control air temperature, the better performance it has. When DE's are clogged from debris and calcium air cannot flow through. Hot air becomes trapped inside your tower, water cannot be cooled and tower performance and efficiency will decrease.


Internal Plumbing The flow of your body's internal plumbing is important. With no need to further discuss the functionality of your body's "plumbing", let's talk about how this relates to a cooling tower. The internal plumbing of a cooling tower is your water basin and the water cycle. Water from your basin is constantly recirculating through your tower in some fashion. Over time bacteria, algae and debris become a part of your water cycle and clog your nozzles and fill. This disrupts your water flow and efficiency. For this reason it is important to clean your basin to maintain a clean cooling tower. A clean water supply will provide you with optimized performance and water usage. To determine your current water usage, check out our Water Usage Calculator.


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