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Expense or Investment? Part 4: Cooling Tower Structural Upgrades


In this last series we will evaluate some of the major engineering and structural upgrades for your cooling tower. We will determine which structural upgrades are worth the investment to maximize the lifespan and cooling capacity of your cooling tower over time.

Structure Upgrades:

  • FRP - Fiberglass Structure:

    What it does: FRP or Fiber Reinforced Polymer is a composite material that is engineered to be stronger, more reliable and resilient and requires almost no maintenance or up keep.

    Importance: A fiberglass constructed cooling tower can last more than 30 years and withstand extreme weather as well as biological and chemical attacks attributed to low water quality. Recommendations: Expense or Investment? An FRP structure certainly has a greater initial cost, however let"s compare how this investment will save money and time over the next 30 plus years.
    • Lower maintenance costs and upkeep
    • Resilience to varying weather conditions
    • No need to worry about wood rot
    • No need to worry about biological or chemical attacks on your structure

    If an initial cost can be made to invest in the lifespan of your cooling tower, an FRP structure is a very high investment for your business.

  • Fire Protection and Lightening Protection:

    What it does:
    A) Cooling tower fire protection consists of a sprinkler system that operates when heat sensitive glass bulbs burst at a temperature threshold. This triggers a flush of water to be pumped through the sprinkler system within the fire area.

    B) Lightening Protection consists of copper rods that conduct and root the electricity from a lightning strike towards the ground. This is something that is always implemented on cooling towers within our market.

    A) Depending on the maintenance care at your facility, fire protection is used most commonly in high risk fire situations such as when a gearbox is running on low oil or if a motor catches fire.

    B) Lightning protection will act as a safe guard against the risk of a fire from a lightning storm.

    Recommendations: Expense or Investment?
    A) A Fire Protection System is a great safety precaution if you have a wood constructed cooling tower and your budget can cover the additional upgrade alongside of the lightening protection system.

    B) Lightening protection is always an investment and extremely common within many areas of a facility, not just cooling towers.

  • Plume Abatement Additions

    What it does: Your Plume Abatement addition will significantly reduce the visible plume from the top of your cooling tower.

    Importance: Plume becomes a major concern especially in winter months when water reaches its dew point, thus becoming visible. Visible plume can become a safety issue if a cooling tower is close to any roads. Visible plume causes decreased visibility and black ice for unsuspecting drivers. Additionally, plume during cold weather becomes a problem for your facility when wind carries the plume from the fan stacks and descends. This descending moisture will form ice that is detrimental to other plant machinery and systems.

    Recommendations: Expense or Investment? A Plume Abatement addition is most effective in seasonal climates effected by cooler weather. Plume abatement is a recommended investment and may be required by your local city or county if plume effects local roads and communities.

  • Hold Down & Upgraded Hardware for Hurricane, Tornado or High Wind Weather

    What it does: Hold down hardware will protect your tower from free spinning fan blades that can cause serious damage during high wind weather. Additionally, upgraded hardware will last longer and maintain its integrity despite extreme wind, rain and hail.

    Importance: Mother Nature is not always kind. Thus it is important having hardware that won"t quickly deteriorate paired with a hold down system for extreme storms. This will prove to be an upgrade that will protect your tower and your budget.

    Recommendations: Expense or Investment? We recommend this upgrade as an investment, especially for customers within the Midwest and Coastal areas that battle multiple severe storms on a yearly basis. Make sure your cooling tower is protected before hurricane and tornado season hits!

  • Hot Water Deck Covers (crossflow)

    What it does: A hot water deck cover is a simple constructed roofing system that will protect your hot water deck and water distribution systems from organic matter and additional dirt or debris.

    Importance: Protecting your hot water deck will protect your water distribution systems such as your nozzles, piping and water basins from significant clogging that will require increased maintenance, cleaning and cost towards your cooling tower upkeep and performance.

    Recommendations: Expense or Investment? We recommend investing in a hot water deck cover especially for geographical areas that are sunny and humid. A hot water deck cover is a simple constructed addition that directly impacts your maintenance team and tower performance by decreasing maintenance up keep prolonging the life and performance of your water distribution systems.

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