How To Prepare Your Cooling Towers for Winter

With the cooler months upon us, it is important to prepare your cooling towers for freezing temperatures. Even in extremely icy conditions, cooling towers can be operated successfully if proper precautions and protocols are followed. A frozen cooling tower is a major issue for business operations as well as from a cost standpoint. Now is the time to prepare for winter weather.

Winter Cooling Tower Problems

As with any outdoor equipment, ice can form and collect on cooling towers if the conditions are right. This ice can form and even be exacerbated by the operation of the cooling tower itself.

The location of ice formation on the cooling tower is important to understand. Ice at the air inlet and on the fans can lead to major operational issues and extensive damage, whereas ice on the structure may be less of an immediate concern.

Cooling tower fans are delicate and cannot operate optimally when obstructed. Ice formation poses as major threat to the fans in terms of equipment damage and loss of functionality. The expansion of water as it freezes, and shear weight of the building ice can deform the fans. Even after the ice is removed, the effectiveness of the fans can be greatly diminished. Also, as fans freeze up, the efficiency of the cooling tower declines rapidly which can halt operations completely if left untreated.

Ice formation on the structure may not pose an immediate threat to the performance of the cooling tower, but it should not be overlooked. The building of ice can add tremendous weight and stress to the cooling tower supports and cause costly damage. Also, ice can dislodge from the cooling tower structure, resulting in a falling brick of ice that can damage equipment and put personnel at risk.

Regardless of where ice formation is observed, actions should be taken to remedy the ice situation and implement preventative measures.

Operating a Cooling Tower In Winter

There are many different methods to successfully operating a cooling tower in winter conditions. These can vary depending on the location, operation, and other specifics of the equipment itself. Even so, there are some common themes to help make winter cooling tower operations go smooth.

  • Conduct Regular Inspections – This should be done year-round to ensure equipment is in good order and functioning properly. Increase the frequency of inspections during freezing conditions to identify ice formation before it becomes a major problem.
  • Begin Cold Weather Operations Proactively – Don’t wait until the outside air temperature hits freezing to implement your cold weather protocol. It is much easier (and less costly!) to prevent the formation of ice rather than be reactive to ice that is already present.
  • Maintain Heat Load – Ensure there is a constant heat load on the cooling tower during cold weather to prevent ice from forming
  • Sustain Flow Rates – Low flow rates increase the likelihood of freezing. Maintain flow rates above the design minimum to help prevent the cooling tower from freezing.
  • Manage Airflow – Control flow rate of air in each individual cooling tower cell to keep temperatures above freezing. Differences in airflow between cells can create localized freezing.
  • Do Not Manually Remove Ice – Ice buildup on the cooling tower should be allowed to melt off in order to prevent damage to equipment that could occur during ice removal. Furthermore, falling ice can occur when removing ice from a cooling tower and this is a significant personal safety hazard.
  • Consult Manufacturer Guidelines – Check the manufacturer recommendations for cold weather instructions to ensure operational aspects of the specific cooling tower are not overlooked.

Winter temperatures pose a serious threat to cooling towers, but these risks can be mitigated with a proactive and proper approach to cold weather management. As a global leader in custom programs for boilers, cooling, and process water systems, Chem-Aqua knows what it takes to keep integral process systems running strong even when being exposed to extreme conditions.

Click here to learn more about Chem-Aqua and our commitment to service.

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!

Image

Latest

multifamily
Multifamily Housing is the Sustainable Solution for Rapid Population Growth in Nashville
April 17, 2024

As Nashville grapples with an explosive growth in population and a consequent strain on its housing market, the city is witnessing a shift from traditional single-family homes to more space-efficient multifamily units. This transition reflects a broader trend seen across various neighborhoods, with places like Germantown experiencing a significant 37.1% rise in home prices […]

Read More
student athletes training
The Anticipation of Record Heat Must be the Concern of Educational Institutions and the Safety of their Student Athletes
April 17, 2024

Temperatures around the globe are continuing to set new records, and as a result, universities now face increasing challenges in ensuring the safety and performance of their student athletes. Scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are warning that there is a 1 in 3 chance that 2024 could surpass 2023 […]

Read More
HVAC building efficiency goals
Improving HVAC Systems Plays a Key Role for Meeting Building Efficiency Goals
April 17, 2024

In today’s rapidly advancing world, the role of HVAC systems for building efficiency goals has become a pivotal topic for businesses and property owners alike. With energy costs soaring, the shift towards more energy-efficient systems isn’t just a luxury—it’s a financial imperative. Building efficiency upgrades could slash global energy demand by 12% and save […]

Read More
Generative AI Remains at an IP and Privacy Crossroads
April 17, 2024

As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives and business operations, the conversation around its ethical and legal implications grows louder. It’s clear that generative AI will continue to face legal battles; applications from oncology, to mental health services, to the classroom, are raising questions about AI’s ethics and the consequences of […]

Read More