Not all systems used in commercial and industrial applications are large scale designs. There are many HVAC and other systems using small cooling towers, and these systems have unique challenges that are both similar as well as different from the issues faced with the much larger industrial cooling towers.
Cooling tower treatment basics for smaller towers operate on the same principle as the big towers. The water is used to move the heat from heat exchanges in an industrial air conditioning system to the tower. The hot water entering the tower is exposed to the environment and evaporates, aiding in cooling the water and recycling it back through the system to the heat exchangers.
When first installed and using a good quality water supply, such as municipal water or tested well water, the system runs very efficiently. However, over time, the dissolved solids in the water including calcium in hard water supplies concentrate and adhere to the surface of the heat exchanger as well as the in the cooling tubes, pumps and valves in the system.
Another factor to consider in addition to the inorganic scale buildup in the system, and something that an essential part of cooling tower treatment basics, is the form of microbiological material, often simply referred to as sludge. This is an organic material formed by bacteria, algae and other organic microorganisms that find the warm temperature of the water in the cooling tower and the system a perfect growth environment.
To control for both organic and inorganic buildup that decreasing the efficiency of the cooling system, it is important to have an effective plan in place to cover all cooling tower treatment basics.
When to Start Treatment
Since cooling towers are designed to continually recycle the water to save on water consumption, it is important to think of prevention rather than treatment after a problem exists. As part of designing the HVAC system and the cooling tower, it is essential to work with a company providing effective water treatment options for the specific cooling tower and application.
By choosing the right treatment plan, it is possible to eliminate concerns about inorganic scale buildup through the system as well as to prevent the formation of algae and sludge and the growth of bacteria. It is impossible to prevent bacteria from entering the system, but by creating an environment with a pH that eliminates growth potential this issue can be controlled for before there is a contamination problem.