Are Your Cooling Towers Wasting Money? Here’s How to Make Sure They Don’t.
Every industry has certain “set it and forget it” systems that are easy to ignore. The cooling tower, quietly perched on the rooftop of your facility, is one of those systems. Or is it? Revenue could be slipping away through that equipment, and needlessly so. The cooling tower is the most important component of your water system but also, potentially, a revenue buster. Here are six tips to help prevent profits from evaporating unchecked into the atmosphere by maximizing cooling tower performance and efficiencies—and potentially tapping into a little-known rebate.
Selecting the right size system while building or when replacing an outdated system can supply energy/water efficiencies with long term impact YOY on finances.
Some facilities will oversize a chiller to account for future facility expansion and the corresponding increased cooling load. However, energy efficiency measures that improve a facility can decrease the required cooling load, leaving a facility with an oversized chiller and a decrease in its operating efficiency.
A facilities manager can compensate for an oversized chiller by either waiting for the time to replace the chiller, or by installing a variable frequency drive. Consult with your heating and cooling expert service is unsure how to properly size a chiller according to the cooling load.
Cooling towers might seem like they can run with minimal oversight but ignore them at your peril. Did you know failure to maintain the cooling tower properly can cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Those losses can add up in a variety of ways. The most serious financial consequences can occur when a cooling tower improperly controlled or maintained, must be replaced. In other instances, improper maintenance and malfunction can ruin products or interrupt critical processes. Industries that rely on cooling equipment to freeze or refrigerate products can experience immense financial consequences. Condenser failure or malfunctions can ruin ingredients, disrupt reactions or processing, or spoil an entire batch of product, cutting into corporate profits.
Other points to consider that are impacted by cooling tower maintenance:
- Energy savings – Energy costs are on the rise. An improperly maintained cooling tower causes system inefficiencies. An inefficient system wastes energy through the chiller. For example, a 2° F higher temperature can result in a 2-6 percent greater energy consumption by the chiller.
- Load efficiencies – Another way to calculate energy costs is through full-load efficiency for the chiller, calculated as kW per ton. As equipment ages, the full-load efficiency will change but proper maintenance should ensure that decrease in efficiency would be slight. For example, an increase to 0.55-0.60 kW/ton after five years’ operation compared to a full load efficiency rating of 0.50 kW/ton brand new, would be within the expected range. Ignored maintenance can cause the load efficiencies to reach up to 1.0 kW per ton, with correspondingly increased energy costs.
- Extra horsepower – The fan operation also uses energy. A high fan horsepower trying to attain the proper water temperature drains energy and resources.
Equipment lifespan – The most obvious impact is that proper maintenance extends the lifespan of an expensive piece of capital equipment.
Economical Chemical Treatment
Chemical treatments are all the same; or are they? Concentrated chemical treatments supply numerous benefits beyond economics.
Shipping and transport are less expensive and easier for employees to handle and move. A concentrated product often weighs ten pounds or less and contains 90-98% active ingredients. Companies can avoid large, bulky drums that hold mostly water and require a forklift or heavy piece of equipment to move.
Smaller containers of concentrated product offer better space utilization and environmentally friendly packaging. Ultra-concentrated products from ChemREADY also offer a No-Touch dispensing system for enhanced worker safety. Invert the ultra-concentrated product above the capture unit and plunge down onto the producing pin, releasing contents into the unit. No chemical handling is required.
Get Rid of Scale
Scaling occurs when a significant layer of calcium accumulates on a heat exchanger, to the point where the water is insulated from the heat source, and it impairs the performance of the exchanger. This is due to the combination of water with a high mineral content and a lack of proper water treatment.
The scale buildup blocks proper water distribution, fouled condenser tubes and reduced chiller efficiencies. The Association of Water Technologies (AWT) notes a scale thickness of 0.01 inches can increase the amount of energy or cool water needed by 10% or more.
Descaling can help make a difference to remove this mineral buildup, inhibit corrosion, and improve efficiencies.
ChemREADY offers a which combines an alkaline, aqueous blend of chelants, antifoam and a polymeric dispersant, to maintain clean tower transfer surfaces. This treatment is easy to administer, safe for the equipment, environment and personnel and can dissolve the toughest mineral deposits.
Proper Biocidal Treatment
Revenue is one thing; health and safety is on a whole other level. Airborne impurities and biological contamination like Legionella are silent yet potentially deadly threats. MIC (Minimum Inhibitory Concentration) is also a concern, accelerating corrosion of metals under biofilm formation. It is far easier and less time consuming to prevent these issues with a biocidal treatment upfront than to try to fix problems later.
Biocides control microbiological activity. ChemREADY’s innovative, environmentally friendly biocides are ideal for industrial and process water treatment activities. There are a variety of biocides including antifoulants, dispersants and penetrants, broad spectrum micro-biocides and oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocides. Our team can recommend the appropriate biocide to combat microbials and protect your system.
Many local water companies offer evaporation credits by tracking the consumption, discharge, and draining of cooling towers. The water companies will then provide a financial credit for the calculated water evaporated through the cooling tower.
An average cooling tower might evaporate up to 75% of the water added to it and this is water that does not enter the sewer. Water meter readings compared to the amount pumped out of the batch tank can also supply valuable information about cooling tower performance and help calculate the appropriate amount of inhibitors necessary for the system.
The team at ChemREADY stands ready to help you eliminate and control the water treatment issues that could cause water cooling towers inefficiencies. Ask us about any one or more of the issues that could be causing money to evaporate into the air through the cooling tower. Contact us today.