Cooling Tower Troubleshooting

Cooling Tower Troubleshooting

If you’re searching “cooling tower troubleshooting” chances are you’ve got a problem with your industrial or HVAC cooling tower and need to solve it quickly.  This guide should help you troubleshoot your cooling tower’s problem and help you understand what is needed to bring it back online or improve its performance.

It is no surprise that the applications from the technology of cooling towers has been benefiting industries, power plants, the processing plants of natural gas, refineries, and also, the commercial HVAC systems, all the way to the early 19th century. A cooling tower is merely a heat changer or rather a heat rejection device. A rejection device that brings water and air in contact with one another solely for the purpose of making the temperature of the water go down.

Regardless of how easy it is to understand the concept of operating a cooling tower, which is water interacting with mere air, it still has to be cared for with regular and proper maintenance just like any other type of machinery, that is, if you expect to get the optimal performance out of it. Also, as with any other machinery, problems can occur, which will need to be troubleshooted, and repairs may be required.

Below is a list of several problems that could occur, including possible solutions.

Different ways to troubleshoot cooling tower problems:

There are various causes, conditions, signs, and warnings that you can use to effectively troubleshoot your cooling towers.  Take a look below to see if any of these signs or symptoms match up with the problems your system is experiencing.

The water temperature rises unexpectedly

  •  The amount of air flow that is recommended could be too low. The blade level being adjusted could correct the problem.
  • Your water flow could be over the recommended level. Correct the rate of flow.
  • If your sprinkler is putting out a poor distribution, the sprinkler output could be impeded. It may require the sprinkler or feed to be replaced.
  • The water flow was designed to make contact with the files, but this is not happening. Need to check the water supply for leaks, also, check for any issues the sprinkler may be having.
  • The external air flow going around the tower may be impeded. To find out you need to look for any obstructions of air, and check to see if the exhaust air is being recycled.
  • The fill is checked or coated. it needs to be cleaned, and might need a replacement.

There is excessive vibration or noise

  • Check out the motor bearing. It may only need to be greased, if so, grease it. It may need to be replaced, if so, replace it.
  • Perhaps the fan mount has become loose. If it appears to have loosened up, re-tighten the fan mount.
  • There may be different tower components coming in contact with one another. Make sure to maintain the proper tolerances.
  • It may have an unbalanced fan. You will need to have it re-balanced.
  • The fans blocks could be loose. You will need to have them re-tightened when its necessary.
  • The hub mounting on the motor shaft could be loose. They are going to need to be tightened back up, which may require the use of shims.

The cooling capacity has lowered unexpectedly

  • First, check and make sure that the motor is still running. If it is not, test the fuse to see it is still good, the switch capacity has to be correctly set, and make sure that the contact switch is still working, that it is clean, and that it is still adjusted at the recommended settings.
  • Check to see if the fan is still spinning, if not, it could be a jammed bearing. If a bearing was jammed, clear that out of the way and replace bearing.
  • Should the motor’s RPM suddenly go down, the first thing to do is to see if the starter is working properly. The second thing to do, is to make sure there is not an electrical overload. For the last thing to do, check to see if your supply voltage is in the range it should be. If it is not within the accepted range give your electrical company a call.
  • Should you not be able to get the motors RPM up to an acceptable level, you will need to check the starter and find out if it is still serviceable and if all of the connections are clean and tight, and connected in the correct matter. If everything mentioned checks out, it will be necessary to check and see if the motor windings are damaged.

The water carries over the specified level

  • Make sure that the filter to the water flow has not been blocked. If it has been blocked it will need to be unblocked.
  • Should the water sprinkler seem to be rotating faster than usual, or more than is specified, you will need to adjust its speed and angle.
  • Be sure that the sprinkler does not go higher than it should over the filter. If it is, it will need to be lowered to the recommended range.

The water conductivity is not within the acceptable range 

  • Check the probe to the controller and be sure that it is clean. If it is not, use a clean cloth to clean it, avoiding contact with your fingers.
  • Make sure that the solenoid is not clogged up with debris, keeping it from being able to close all the way, which may cause it to bleed. Making sure that the water level stays within the recommended specifications you will need to be sure that the float is in a place to make this happen.
  • You need to make sure that the cooling tower system is free of leaks.
  • Always make sure to properly prime the chemical feed pump.
  • Make sure that the water conductivity is always in an acceptable range by adjusting the chemical feed pump.

The motor temperature is too high

  • Look and see if there has been a drop in the voltage, also checking the fan to make sure it is still balanced, and be sure the stator does not touch the rotor.

The water flow is reduced below specification 

  • Check to make sure that none of the waters distribution pipes have been obstructed or clogged.
  • Make sure that the strainer/filter has not been obstructed.
  • Make sure that the water pump does not have any faults which would keep it from operating properly. 

There is an unexpected water loss

  • Make sure that the sprinklers RPM is at the recommended range.
  • Make sure that no end caps have been compromised.
  • Check to see if any of the FRP/PVC eliminators have been incorrectly placed. 

The troubleshooting tips given should help regardless if your facility uses a counter flow, cross flow, induced draft, or another kind of cooling tower, the basic troubleshooting problems will get you pointed in the right direction.

Cooling Tower Part Sales

Many times after you have found the problem with your cooling tower you will need replacement parts such as nozzles, drift eliminators, fill media, fans, motors, or a wide range of other replacement cooling tower parts. We also supply cooling tower owners with quality cooling tower coatings that help guard the cooling tower’s condition and extend its life. Universal Tower Parts is proud to offer high quality parts to extend the serviceable life of cooling towers across the country. Give us a call today to find the right replacement parts for your brand of cooling tower.

Call Us Today For More Information at 602-997-0403.

Cooling Tower Problems Solved

Cooling Tower Problems Solved

Are you searching Google for “Cooling Tower Problems” while looking for solutions to solve your cooling tower issues? Is so, this guide should help!

In the event that your cooling tower is giving you problems and you don’t exactly know the cause of the issue or how to fix it, this article is for you. In this article, we have highlighted the main issues you could face and also discussed how cooling tower maintenance experts can help you resolve the issues. The efficiency of the cooling system will depend greatly on how efficient the water treatment program is, which along with the quality of water will affect operating expenses, as well as determine how reliable and efficient your cooling system is.

Environmental Operating Factors

Cooling systems are constantly under threat from 4 main issues: microbial contamination, corrosion, fouling, and scale deposits; these issues must be regularly checked and the system must be regularly maintained to keep it running at maximum efficiency. Effective management will also reduce operation costs, and energy expenses and ensure that the system doesn’t breakdown without warning due to any of the four issues.

Selecting the best chemical treatment program for your system willensure quality maintenance, which in turn will ensure efficient operation of the cooling system.None of the four issues hold importance over one another and all four can be equally destructive if left unchecked. What complicates the maintenance is the fact that water varies in quality and composition around the world, so an maintenance solution that works for one location may not prove effective for the other. To maintain an efficient cooling system, the initial step is selecting a chemical treatment program that can effectively counter all four issues.

Increase Reliability

Although the treatment may have to be different depending on the location, what remains consistent is ensuring that the chosen treatment effectively manages allissues that could impact performance. Ensuring an effective treatment program is in pace enables facilities to save on high costs of operation and repair, as well as other energy related expenses.


The cooling system, being a closed loop system that is in constant contact with water, is highly vulnerable to corrosion.If it isn’t regularly maintained, the issue could multiply in severity leading to leakages and other costly repairs. The issue could also spread to other systems if left unchecked.


Where heat exchange surface allows the cooling system to carry out its primary function effectively, it also stimulates scale production. The process involves a lot of heat that lowers solubility of various elements like calcium in the water, and these deposit on the heat exchange surface creating an insulating layer of scale.Because of its insulating nature, scale limits heat dispersal resulting in reduced efficiency of the cooling tower, and increased costs.


Fouling is caused by the introduction of debris, dust and dirt into the system, as well as microbial growths and corrosion. Fouling will diminish efficiency of your system, increasing energy usage and expenses.

Microbiological Contamination

The warmth in the systemcan expose the nutrient heavy water to microbial and bacterial growths.These growths can create a biofilm considerably more insulating than scale, reducing the efficiency of the system and increasing energy costs. Biofilm also stimulates scaling and corrosion.

Prevention is Cheaper than Cure

Early investment in setting up a chemical treatment and maintenance system will save hundreds of dollars on repairs and replacements over the life of the cooling system. Preventative measures are important because your cooling system will not be spared from being affected by these issues. Leaving them unchecked would mean that they slowly build up until they initially reduce the system’s efficiency, and then cause unexpected breakdowns, costing you more inconvenience and money. The breakdowns and extra expenses could effectively cripple the productivity of your facility.

Cooling Tower Replacement Parts

Cooling towers operate in highly corrosive environments and in many hot regions of the country like Arizona they run nearly all year.  To keep your cooling tower running efficiently and extend its life.  Whether you need cooling tower drift eliminators, float vales, or any other cooling tower part, Universal Tower Parts can supply it.

Give us a call today – 602-997-0403

What Is a Float Switch?

What Is a Float Switch?

Float switches are used for determining the liquid level inside of a tank. The switch could be found in a water storage tank, pump, indicator, low or high alarm, or various other devices.

A float switch can range in size, a simple mercury switch within a hinged float or a complicated system of conductance or optical sensors that produce the output data as liquid levels increase inside the tank.The most common form of a float switch may be a simple float that activates a rod when raised, activating a microswitch.

Float Switch Applications

Sump pumps contain common applications, as well as condensate pumps as switches determine an increase in water level in the tank or sump, energizing the pump to begin pumping out the liquid until it is back to a lower level. Then, the pump will switch off again. Also, float switches can be adjustable while including substantial hysteresis. This determines when the switch will turn on, which can be much higher than the turn off level to lower the pump’s on and off cycle.

There are float switches that have a two stage process. When liquid levels increase, the first stage is triggered where the pump gets activated. When water level continues to increase (in the even a pump ails, or blocked), a second stage gets triggered. The second stage could trigger alarms, or turn off the source of liquid, some do both.

New Float Switches, What Are They? How Do They Work?

New float switches are referred to as water level controls or may be called water level switches, this is due to many of them no longer floating. Instead, they use probes for determining the water level by sensors rather than floats, and can be used in various storage tanks, such as oil, gas, water, etc.

The sensor probes are a self-efficient method that does not pass electric to probes which aids in them lasting longer, as it avoids deteriorating, fouling and degrading. The electronics are designed within the head so it can be connected straight to the control panel. When water levels are detected with a sensor, it will set off one of six alarms, including Fill Start, Fill Stop, Low Alarm, High Alarm, etc. A single or multiple point alarm gets triggered depending on your type of switch.

Various alarms help control the different start and stop mechanisms. For instance, triggered low alarms can do one of two things, and some setups do both.

Working Principle of New Float Switches

Generally, a float switch or water level control will begin in a closed position. This means no alarms are triggered due to the water being at the predetermined level.

  1. When cooling towers begin to use water for an industrial process, water levels begin to drop. This would not trigger any alarms.
  2. When water levels drop under the probes, conductive signals are sent from probe to trigger the low alarm.
  3. Triggered low alarms can then be programmed to start filling to increase water level.
  4. When water is at the predetermined level again, a fill stop is activated and the process resets.

When cooling tower float switches are properly maintained, they are able to last for many years. The majority of float switches fail due to deteriorating, degrading or fouling. Also, a cooling tower coating is able to add extra protection to your storage tank, but what protects the float switches?

Float Switch & Valve Supply

If your cooling tower needs a new float switch or float valve Universal Tower Parts has everything you need to help monitor and regulate the liquid used in your cooling towers.  We offer various designs so we are sure to be able to find an excellent solution for any of your float switch needs.  Give us a call today with any questions you might have or to order.

If you are interested in purchasing float switches or valve supplies in  Phoenix or anywhere else in the Valley call us today at 602-997-0403.

Cooling Tower Immersion Heater Failure and Installation Guidelines

Two of the most common reasons for cooling tower immersion heater failure:

  1. Immersion Heaters with Stainless Steel elements are awesome, but if exposed to high concentrations of cleaning agents which typically contain chlorine, once the elements are energized the corrosive nature of chlorine may rapidly accelerate corrosion to the elements and shorten the life of your heater.

Solution:  Using a Brass rather than stainless steel fitting with Copper elements will generally offer much greater resistance and longer life when exposed to higher levels of chlorine.

  1. Another cause of immersion heater failure is that there may not be enough chemical to retard the formation of algae/sludge build-up which can create an insulation barrier which keeps the heat on the elements and prevents the heat from radiating through-out the basin water and over-heating the immersion heater elements to the point of premature element failure.

Failed Immersion Heater Buried In Basin SludgeThis Immersion heater (shown left) was buried in basin sludge and failed due to over-heating. Unfortunately, the cause of failure was not discovered until the basin was cleaned and the problem “uncovered”

To help prevent premature immersion heater failure please note the minimum installation requirements (see diagram below). Following these guide lines will prolong the life of your heater as well as protect it from heavy sludge and algae build-up.

Immersion Heater Installation Guidelines

Thank you for reading “Cooling Tower Immersion Heater Failure and Installation Guide”. Stay tuned for more from the experts at Universal Tower Parts.

What Are Cooling Towers?


What Are Cooling Towers?

Cooling towers are devices used to take heat out of a system. These heat rejection devices do this by cooling a stream of water that is being channeled from either industrial processes or HVAC systems. Waste heat is removed from the liquid by the cooling tower via different methods. There are dry-bulb and wet bulb type cooling towers that use a different process to cool the liquid in the cooling tower.

Dry-bulb systems rely on a closed circuit cooling tower and operate near the dry-bulb air temperature. Dry-bulb temperature is the reading from a thermometer that is freely to the air but shielded from moisture and radiation.

Wet-bulb systems that rely on evaporation the function of the tower is based on the wet-bulb temperature reading. This takes into account the humidity of the air around the cooling tower.

What Are Cooling Towers Used For?

Common uses for cooling towers include cooling the water used in thermal power stations, oil refineries, chemical plants, petrochemical plants, or HVAC systems that cool large commercial buildings. Depending on the application and location there are two different types of cooling towers. There are two ways that cooling towers channel air through to be cooled, induced draft and natural draft.

Industrial Cooling Towers

Depending on the load of heat being produced by the industrial processes on the site the cooling tower’s size will follow. Industries with a high level of heat that needs to be rejected from the system will have cooling towers like you see used in nuclear power plants. These monolithic structures can stand over 600 feet tall. They are not all that tall, some processes require more than a roof mounted cooling tower that is common in HVAC systems.

Industrial cooling towers reject a tremendous amount of heat. For example a coal burning power plant produces a lot of heat, which requires a lot of water to keep the plant cool. It pipes about 315,000 gallons of water through the system per hour!

The cooling tower theoretically could be cooled with water straight out of a pipe or source of water close to the plant.  It would take over 2 million gallons per hour to keep the system cool. That amount of water would have to be returned to the same source of water and taken again from the plant.  Clearly with that kind of heated water exchange the temperature of the lake, pond, or river is going to change. If these delicate ecosystems have significant water temperature change it can kill plant and animal life.

With the astronomical levels of heat that industrial processes create clearly rejecting the heat into the air via cooling towers is preferable to destroying eco systems.

Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Cooling larger commercial buildings is impractical with standard air condoning technology you find in residential applications. These cooling towers are much smaller than industrial cooling towers and are typically found on the roof tops of commercial buildings. The use for cooling towers in HVAC applications is to reject the heat produced by the chiller. The cooling tower works in unison with the water-cooled chiller.

Phoenix Cooling Tower Sales, Maintenance, & Parts

If you have a cooling tower at your building or industrial process, or you are building a new facility Universal Tower Parts can help you at any stage of cooling tower ownership. Give us a call if you need parts, maintenance, or if you are considering investing in a new cooling tower near Phoenix, AZ.

11 Ways to Maximize Your Cooling Tower

Cooling towers, universal tower parts, Phoenix AZ

  1. Constantly keeping tabs on the condition of your cooling towers is a great way to avoid and sort of component failure or neglected degradation. Doing this will also set baselines for the behavior of your tower so you can set up more efficient maintenance schedules that can significantly reduce interruptions to your daily operations.
  2. Whenever you or another party are performing work on your tower, make sure all of the tower’s lockout procedures have been a followed to the letter and all necessary motors and components have been disconnected. This is done both for your safety and for the longevity of the components.
  3. Clear debris from inside and around your cooling tower in order to avoid any troublesome buildups.
  4. Make sure that the water distribution system in order to be sure that the fill coil area is uniformly covered in moisture. If the area is not adequately moisturized, check on the condition of your nozzles to be sure they aren’t damaged or inoperable.
  5. In order to keep water filtration effective by ensuring that any debris in the cold water basin gets washed out through the drain. This eliminates dirt buildup and the risks that accompany it.
  6. Check on your make-up water levels to make sure they are at adequate levels.
  7. Making sure that the bleed rate is adjusted to a level appropriate for the quality of water that you have access to a well as the evaporation rate regulations for your region.
  8. Make sure belt tension is at a proper level
  9. Check on the condition of the oil in your cooling tower system as well as it’s level to ensure efficient functioning of the gear drive system. Check on gear alignments as well.
  10. Every three months or so lubricate the bearings of the fan shaft if they look like they need it. There are automatic system that can be installed that will automate this process for you.
  11. Cooling tower coatings can help protect your cooling towers from degrading, fouling or deteriorating, increasing your cooling tower tank’s lifespan many years.