Operate Your Open Circuit Cooling Tower Safely in Cold Weather with the Following Tips

Posted on: 18 July 2016

Open circuit (direct) cooling towers come as an enclosed structure that distributes water in the system through a fill. The fill offers a large interface between air and water so that large quantities of air can be heated as evaporation takes place. The water then passes through the fill for cooling and collection while the hot moist air escapes to the atmosphere. In winter, this normal functioning of the open-circuit cooling tower can be severely interrupted by the extreme cold temperatures. This can lead to lots of energy consumption, damage and costly repair to the cooling tower if care is not given. To avoid this, here are some tips you can use to operate your open-circuit cooling tower safely during the winter:

Maintain the Cooling Tower's Heat Load

Heat is required to warm the water in the system so that the air supplied to your building is at the desired temperature during winter. If you do not have an appropriate heat load, the water flowing in the cooling tower will either solidify into ice or end up at the air-build temperature. The ice can clog up the water passages and lead to an eventual failure of the system. An easy way to maintain the heat load is to make sure that the right amount of water is available for heating as lesser water elevates the risk of freezing into ice in winter.

Manage Airflow Well

Airflow in the cooling tower is dependent on the number of fans running. Running all the fans simultaneously lowers temperatures even further and could easily freeze the water in the system. Therefore, you should consult a professional for advice on the number of fans that you should turn off in the cold conditions. In most cases, you will have to do this sequentially so that some fans remain operational for the normal functioning of the system.

Stay Vigilant

Even if your cooling tower has an automated system, you must stay vigilant to ensure that the safety measures you have put in place are appropriately implemented. For a cooling tower with external strainers, keep an eye on them because they are exposed to the atmosphere and may be easily clogged with ice. In such a case, you can use calcium chloride to melt it from the surface of the strainers before cleaning them. Do this as often as possible to avoid a build up of ice on the strainers. Lastly, you can install remote cameras at different places in the system for maintenance feedback in the control room.

For more information or assistance, contact companies like Marley Flow Control Pty Ltd.