Cooling towers are a major component in commercial and institutional facility comfort and process cooling systems. Their operation is straightforward. They are expected to operate efficiently and reliably, even though they are installed in an outdoor environment that subjects them to temperature extremes, wind, rain, dust, dirt, and organic contamination. They also affect facility energy use. A poorly operating cooling tower reduces chiller efficiency and eventually leads to system failures.
In spite of their impact on facilities, cooling towers are among the most neglected equipment in many facilities. Maintenance and engineering managers might understand a cooling tower's role, but they might not fully realize the importance of keeping them operating at peak performance levels.
Lacking that understanding, managers might not know the steps they can take to improve the performance of cooling towers while extending the tower's service life.
While the type of tower installed and its operating environment determine the issues managers must address to keep the tower operating efficiently, managers also need to consider a number of common issues most tower operations face. A recent article in Maintenance Solutions magazine addresses some of these issues, including motor management, contamination and water levels.