Not registered? Sign up to receive our email newsletter and access other members-only features.
more Share
Share & BookmarkX
Share This Link With A Friend

CHECKLIST: Cooling Tower Maintenance

Key Points
  • Cooling towers are the most neglected component of buildings today.
  • Proper maintenance avoids unscheduled downtime and high energy costs.
  • Worker safety is first and foremost; avoid potential dangers and follow all rules.

cooling towerCooling towers are the most neglected component of buildings today, according to Nelson Warthan, commercial property systems trainer, consultant and veteran "wrench puller." One reason is that they're "out of sight and out of mind." Another reason is the fear of Legionella. In any case, a cooling tower is an integral part of an HVAC system and when poorly maintained, results in higher energy consumption, increased downtime, uncomfortable occupants, damaged refrigerant compressors and health risks.

Cooling tower maintenance is typically conducted during cold weather months (including during holidays) on an annual basis. Proper maintenance takes time and usually takes four or five consecutive days:

Day 1: Drain the sump (cooling tower floor) and let it dry. Day 2: Wash down the tower walls and filter media. Let them dry. Day 3: Clean coils and adjust or replace fan drive belts as needed. Day 4: Refill the sump after cleaning is completed and check for leaks.

Be safe

Before maintenance begins, be sure that all safety precautions are communicated and followed according the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Potential dangers include:

  • Cool roofs, typically white, can reflect blinding sunlight.
  • Polymer-based roofs are often slippery when wet.
  • Black ice can form on roofs, increasing the likelihood of falls.
  • Lightning rods attached to rooftop cooling towers pose an impalement hazard.

Make sure that OSHA rules for railing along elevated crosswalks are followed. Wear a breathing mask. If the tower only has one door, it may be classified as a "confined space" per OSHA rules.

Check the checklist

The Cooling Technology Institute (CTI), tower manufacturers and others provide inspection checklists. The following checklist can help you get started. Always follow recommendations from your cooling tower manufacturer.

Cooling Tower Maintenance Checklist

Note that antenna towers alongside rooftop cooling towers can radiate energy waves that can interfere with operation of variable frequency drives for fan and pump motors.

more Share
Share & BookmarkX
Share This Link With A Friend
Content provided for Lincoln Electric System customers, Powered by Questline RelationshipBuilder. © Questline Inc.
Acceptable use and linking guidelines for this article
How would you rate the quality of this content?  Select a star rating and click submit below.
Comments or suggestions for additional content: (optional)

This message was sent by Lincoln Electric System - P.O. Box 80869 - Lincoln - NE - 68501