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.