Fall PM: Cooling Tower Maintenance & Chiller Tube Cleaning

Routine cooling tower maintenance is an important part of any facility’s PM regimen for better energy efficiency, improved reliability, extended lifespan, and to reduce serious health risks. Fall is an ideal time to clean cooling towers and chiller tubes.

Cooling towers collect dust, dirt, pollen, insects, air pollutants, and various other debris from the air during routing operation. Without proper maintenance, these contaminants accumulate and scale and mineral deposits build up, causing corrosion and providing prime breeding grounds for microorganism growth, including the bacteria that can cause deadly Legionnaires disease. Build-up also restricts airflow, forcing pumps and fans to work harder to maintain proper water temperature and increasing energy use.

Cooling towers should be professionally inspected, cleaned and disinfected at least twice a year to remove accumulated scale and debris. Components and piping should be visually inspected and checked for vibration, leaks and noise. Strainers should be cleared and basin surfaces cleaned. Clean and maintain cooling tower filtration systems which could include sand filtration and UV sterilizers. Drift eliminators should be power washed, and nozzles should be inspected and cleared of debris. Heaters should be cleaned and inspected for broken or cracked elements. Belts should be replaced and motors lubricated as needed.

Cold weather operation of cooling towers requires additional winterization to prevent icing that can damage or shut down the system. Typical leaving water temperatures between 65-85° are fairly unlikely to freeze during winter, but cooling towers supplying chilled water in the 45-55° range are particularly susceptible to subfreezing temperatures. Before winter sets in, it is critical to ensure that sump temperature control, heat trace and alarm systems are functioning properly.

Fall is also a good time to perform chiller tube cleaning to remove scale, mud, algae, sludge and other contaminants that can significantly reduce efficiency. Evaporator tubes should be cleaned at least once every three years on closed systems and annually on open systems. Condenser tubes should be cleaned annually.

Finally, fall is an ideal time to replace cooling towers or make necessary repairs.

For more information or to schedule your cooling tower and chiller tube cleaning, please call PJM Mechanical Contractors, Inc. at (908) 921-1394.

About PJM

PJM Mechanical Contractors, Inc. is a multi-faceted mechanical contractor providing construction and installation, service and maintenance, and design/build services in a comprehensive range of mechanical disciplines that include HVAC, plumbing, controls, refrigeration, custom metal fabrication, piping, and backflow preventer testing. PJM primarily serves clients in pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, healthcare, institutional, and other various commercial and industrial sectors.

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 1688 5th Street | Ewing, NJ  08638 | Tel: 609.921.1394 | Fax: 609.530.1437

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