Warmer temperatures herald the imminent arrival of the cooling season. Is your cooling tower ready to perform?
Now is a superb time to deal with your annual to-do checklist for cooling tower maintenance. Ensure you adequately tackle both preventive upkeep wants: keepingLegionella from growing out of control and making certain the tower’s continued bodily integrity.
Guarantee Good Legionella Control
Your spring startup will rely in your existing disinfection practices and whether you drained your cooling tower during shutdown. If you’re using a submersible UV lamp, it must be changed yearly, notes microbiologist Dr. Robert Scheir, president of germicidal UVC provider Steril-Aire.
If you’re coming up on 12 months because the final time you changed the lamp, be sure to place in a new one they lose output over time, Scheir notes.
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As you substitute the lamp, examine to verify it and the rest of the tower can perform correctly. Because Legionella can value you so much money and unhealthy PR, it’s paramount to ensure the bacteria are by no means allowed to develop out of control in the primary place. This may be troublesome because Legionella occurs naturally and isn’t a one-time downside that can be solved, Scheir explains.
Did you shut down your system lengthy-time period over the winter? In that case, it is best to have drained the tower and different elements, corresponding to piping and heat exchangers, in accordance with ASHRAE Guideline 12, which lays out a step-by-step startup process that minimizes Legionella dangers.
If that is the case at your facility, clear any leaves, dirt, or other debris from the tower and fill the system with water. Earlier than you function the pumps, ASHRAE recommends that you utilize one in every of two accepted biocidal therapies either the biocide you were utilizing earlier than shutdown or sodium hypochlorite.
However, if the system is undrained and stuffed with stagnant water, Guideline 12 recommends that you just perform pretreatment instantly in the cooling tower sump or remote storage tank.
Make absolutely certain that any biocides you’re using are registered with the EPA, as demonstrated by a label that includes a registration number and specific tips for use, notes William McCoy, chief know-how officer for water management and testing firm Phigenics and the chair of ASHRAE’s committee for Commonplace 188P, which additionally addresses Legionella control.
Inspect for Damage and Debris
No annual inspection is complete without a complete examination of the tower’s physical condition.
Ideally, this begins within the fall with a thorough evaluation to find out if the tower can final one other 12 months, explains Dan Glover, technical companies group manager for Southland Industries, a national mechanical engineering, development, and service agency.
Nevertheless, it’s not unusual to save this task for the spring, roughly a month or two earlier than you plan to switch over to cooling. Widespread hassle spots embody:
Basin: That is usually the first place you’ll spot major problems because the sediment will rust the steel elements, Glover notes.
“If you haven’t maintained that, you’ll must replace the pan,he adds. “Replacing the pan is nearly as costly as replacing the whole cooling tower./p>
Fill: This plastic part is made to last about 10 years, however the stress of heat and chilly exposure, fixed moisture, and exposure to sunlight will break it down.
Nozzles: For those who neglect them, clogs can turn out to be so unhealthy that the nozzles themselves must be replaced, Glover says.
Structural integrity: “Once the structure rusts out, it’s achieved,Glover explains. “It’s greatest to maintain it painted with a zinc paint./p>
As you inspect, search for indicators or potential causes of scale and corrosion, similar to these crimson flags famous within the OSHA Technical Handbook:
Also search for damage from environmental causes, particularly if your facility is in an city area with polluted air, Glover recommends.
“Garbage in, rubbish out. If you’ve received contaminated air, your cooling tower is respiration it, and that’s going to attack your tower,Glover explains. “I once labored on a building with diesel trains sitting subsequent to it. The diesel smoke bought into the cooling tower and triggered iron-reducing micro organism to develop and eat away on the piping they thrive in environments that include plenty of petroleum./p>
The bottom Line
It’s straightforward to miss periodic maintenance if your water testing and physical examination both indicate a wholesome cooling tower, but that perspective can be harmful to occupants and the tower itself.
Fortunately, with a watchful eye and routine preventive maintenance, you possibly can keep your tower running effectively and occupants healthy for years to come.
Conserving the tower in good shape and preventing Legionella are as simple as stopping food poisoning, McCoy adds. Efficient practices are broadly identified, however you even have to make use of them to keep away from sickness. The same attitude applies to maintaining the tower’s physical integrity.
“You can’t remove meals poisoning if you buy hamburger, leave it to sit down for a couple of days, and then don’t cook it properly, you’re going to get sick. The one approach to prevent disease is to handle the meals properly,McCoy says.