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How To Clean A Cooling Tower

How To Clean A Cooling Tower

To clean a cooling tower you’ll need to power down the fans, wear protective gear, identify dirty and clogged areas, and kill disease causing bacteria from your cooling tower.

Cooling towers draw an enormous amount of energy, and dirty ones pull even more.

Cleaning your cooling tower will restore efficiency and help reduce energy consumption.

In this post we will show you how to clean your cooling tower and reduce your electric bill.

Step by Step Cooling Tower Cleaning

With wind kicking up dirt, sand, leaves, and other debris it’s no surprise that cooling towers get absolutely filthy.  Suddenly there’s a thick layer of sludge and slime at the bottom of the tower in the basin.  Cooling tower water that’s dirty can clog fill media and foul tubes in your chiller.

1.      Turn off the cooling tower fans!

It’s critical to your safety and those that are helping clean the cooling tower to power down the fans.  They move at incredible speeds and can severely harm or kill a person.

2.      Inspect Cooling Tower For Problem Areas

Take the time to inspect your cooling tower and find areas that needs attention. Check your fill media for fouling and for sludge in the hot water basin.

3.      Protect Yourself With Safety Gear

Cooling towers heat and moisture encourage the growth of some dangerous bacterias such as Legionella. You’ll need to wear respiratory protection and eye protection.  This prevents you from becoming sick while cleaning the cooling tower.

4.      Spray Cooling Tower For Mold

Before cleaning it’s a good step to treat the cooling tower surfaces and water with a mold killing product.  It helps control the workspace to ensure workers are safer and their health is protected.

5.      Vacuum Out Sludge From Basin

To remove the sludge from the basin specialized vacuums are used.  These tower vacuums clean the hot water basin floor without the need to shut down the system or drain the basin.  During this process you’ll need to connect to a power source and either connect to a drainage outlet or use a filter system to return the water to the cooling tower.

6.      Fill Tower Water Level

It’s nearly impossible to clean the cooling tower basin without losing some of the makeup water.  Once you’ve removed all of the sludge you should check to make sure the water levels are filled to operating parameters.

7.      Clean Cooling Tower Fill Media

Fill media is the heart of the cooling tower and where the primary heat exchange takes place.  The fill directs the air being pulled through by the fans to come in contact with the hot water needing to be cooled.  If sections are fouled or clogged the distribution will be off.  This will cause diminished performance and cause your system to consume more electricity. Clean the fill with detergents or replace it when possible.

8.      Set Up Bi Annual Cooling Tower Cleaning

Cooling towers need to be completely cleaned at least 2 times per year.  Most operators choose to do this before starting them for the year and at shutdown.  If your location requires your cooling tower to be online for more of the year ensure you’re scheduling some downtime to maintain your towers.

Control Legionella With Cooling Tower Cleaning

One of the biggest risks of neglecting your cooling tower is the airborne disease legionella. While dirty cooling towers use much more electricity a Legionnaires disease outbreak is simply bad business. It can lead to negative public opinion and even fines from your city or state.

It’s impossible to smell, see, or completely get rid of the legionella bacteria.  While cooling towers are absolutely indispensable elements of commercial and industrial processes the potentially deadly bacteria must be controlled.  The way to control this disease is to keep your cooling tower clean.  While biocide will kill legionella it can’t kill all of it if the cooling tower is excessively dirty.

Keep your cooling tower clean so your biocide in the water can keep a legionella bacteria outbreak from happening.

Schedule Cooling Tower Cleaning

All Kote Lining, Inc. specializes in cooling tower and chiller cleaning in the Phoenix Valley.  If you’ve got  a cooling tower our team offers fast, affordable, and through cooling tower cleaning service.  We can come clean a single time or you can sign up for bi-annual service.  For more information about our cooling tower cleaning services or to schedule please give us a call.

Call 480-966-4446 or Contact Us

What Caused The Disneyland Legionnaries’ Disease Outbreak?

What Caused The Disneyland Legionnaries’ Disease Outbreak

If you’re searching for “Disneyland Legionnaries’ Disease” you’re likely trying to understand what shut down Disneyland’s Cooling Towers in November of 2017.  Naturally everyone wanting to visit the park will want to understand what Legionnaries’ Disease is, and how it happened.  The source of the outbreak that affected 9 people finds its source in 2 of the park’s cooling towers.

What Is Legionnaries’ Disease?

Legionallosis is caused by Legionella bacteria which leads to a respiratory disease.  Legionnnaries’ Diease is a serious form of pneumonia which can be potentially life threatening.  The disease is not contagious, so it cannot be transmitted from person to person.  It develops in the natural environment typically around water and doesn’t typically make anyone sick.

In areas where there are manmade water systems such as cooling towers it can be carried via the moisture exhausted from cooling towers.  This exhaust is simply steam and the water droplets can be inhaled.  For this reason cooling tower maintenance and cooling tower water treatments are so important.  Allowing biological growth in the cooling tower can lead to Legionella and potentially make people sick.

Symptoms Of Legionnaries’ Disease

If you or someone you know has visited Disneyland lately you might be concerned that they have been exposed.  While many people can be exposed to the disease and have no reaction there are people who will.  Those with compromised immune systems, are elderly, or have chronic respiratory problems are especially at risk.  Watch for the following symptoms of Legionnaries’ Disease.

High Fever – Chills – Cough

Symptoms develop within between 2 to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, so watch carefully during this period of time.  Anyone over the age of 50 should immediately seek the attention of their doctor if they show signs of Legionarries’ Disease after a visit to the park.

Click the links below for more information:

Cooling Tower Cleaning & Maintenance

Do you have a commercial location that uses cooling tower?  They are part of the HVAC systems, industrial processes, and hospital operation in the Phoenix Valley and need to be kept clean to avoid bacterial infections.  Keeping your cooling tower in good condition is the job of cooling tower maintenance companies, and All Kote is Phoenix’ go to source for the best service.  If you’re not if your cooling tower is at risk give us a call to make sure your CDC and OSHA compliant for your cooling towers.

Reach our dedicated team of cooling tower maintenance technicians at 480-966-4446

Outdoor Water Fountain Troubleshooting Guide

Outdoor Water Fountain Troubleshooting Guide

Having outdoor water fountain problems and looking for a way to troubleshoot them?

Commonly asked questions about outdoor, wall, and indoor fountains.  Below you will learn some of the most commonly asked questions regarding indoor and outdoor water fountains.

What is the white stuff in my fountain?

If you have hard water instead of distilled water in your fountain, then you have lime deposits or white scale. It’s caused by chemicals in hard water and it forms where thewater normally sits. Lime deposits are stubborn to remove, but you can use CLR or a mixture of water and vinegar to remove it.

Why does my fountain have a smell?

A common reason for the smell is that it needs to be cleaned. It most likely has algae in it. Although a water fountain is low maintenance, they need to be cleaned often to keep algae from growing which causes a smell. You can purchase different products to prevent and prolong algae buildup. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to clean it, but you can go longer between cleanings. You need to be emptying and cleaning the fountain every 4 months.

What is the white stuff in my fountain
Why does my fountain have a smell

Why is my fountain making weird noises and not pumping water?

This is probably because there isn’t enough water in the fountain. Depending on your humidity level, your fountain could need to be filled daily or just once a week. Ensure that your outdoor and indoor fountains have plenty of water to cover the whole pump, and its best if there is more than 2 inches of water over the pump.

If this doesn’t help, and your pump is still doing bad, then remove the pump and clean it. The pump could be dirty or clogged. Keep in mind that fountain pumps run all the time, so turning them off and on is hard on the pump and can decrease its life.

Why is the pump getting louder?

Your water level could be too low, so make sure that there is over 2 inches of water over the pump. The fountain pump needs to be completely under water and be sure to check it every few days until you know how often to fill it.

You could also have mineral deposits in the pump. Clean the pump and then reinstall the fountain.

The pump may not be positioned right which causes it to vibrate. You can use suction cups, to position the pump or use foam strips. You can also use a scotch brite pad or sponge to keep it from vibrating.

My fountain is splashing, is it normal?

Depending on your fountain type, this could be normal. Many fountains that are outdoors will have some splashing but the indoor fountains are made to not splash. If you have splashing, then check the water level, position of splash guards or rocks, and pump speeds.

If the water level is too low and the pump is exposed then the pump will be taking in air and causing spitting, which causes splashing. Many fountain pumps have adjustable flow control. Check this too to see if yours is too high for your fountain, which causes splashing. If you have rocks in the fountain, the water could be bouncing off the rocks. Try and arrange the rocks for a better flow into the base of your fountain. If you are using a waterfall style fountain outdoors, you may want to cut a screen to place inside of the basin so that once it hits the basin it won’t bounce back.

My fountain is splashing, is it normal

What should I do in the winter months for my outdoor fountain?

If you live in an area that deals with freezing climates, then you will need to bring the fountain indoors or completely drain it and then cover it up. Water can’t stay in the fountain and be allowed to freeze. The freezing and thawing can cause the fountain to crack. If the pump is allowed to sit in ice, this could cause pump damage. Fountain covers work quite well and will protect your fountain, no matter what is done with the fountain in the winter, it has to be drained and dried out.

Wall Fountain Trouble Shooting Guide

Additionally, to the above, wall fountains may need extra maintenance. These are basic tips for most wall fountain designs. Your wall fountain should have a trouble shooting guide as well. Below are common tips for wall fountains.

The water isn’t flowing down over the whole fountain face

This is very common, especially if they are stopped and started a lot. Normally it is just a quick fix of starting the water flow and it will follow the water path. Check your pump pressure and be sure that it is turned up and ensure that it is clean. Try these tips:

  • Use a scotch pad and rub it on the water distribution. If your fountain is slate faced, you may notice that parts are restricting the water flow,you can use the pad. Be sure to not use the pad on any logo. If you have a glass fountain, then clean the glass as it can easily get dust and grease from fingers on the glass and it can cause issues with the flow. Jazz Window Prep is a great glass cleaner to use on your fountain.
  • You may need to start the water flow. You can trace a sponge or eraser or your finger where the water stops and drag it to get the water flowing again. Once you do this the water will follow this path.

Some other things to check into if the above doesn’t work, make sure that your fountain is level. Is the mountain bracket level? This is important for right functionality of the fountain.

You may even find that there is a blockage in the distribution unit. Ensure that there isn’t debris in the unit. Using a small toothbrush or paper clip can fix that.

Some waterfalls will have a lip that the water flows over. You can start the waterfall by rubbing your finger along the top. This should start the water flow.

The water flow is too fast or too slow

Your pump or flow valve may not be right for the fountain. Many pumps will have an adjustable dial or flow valve on the pump. Try different settings. If the pump is not adjustable and the water is flowing too fast, then just use a clip to restrict the water flow. Be sure that there is enough water in the fountain.

My fountain is leaking

This normally happens by overfilling the fountain. Many wall fountains will have a tray on the inside of the basin that holds water. If the water comes outside of the tray or the tray becomes overfilled, then it could leak out and make it appear that the fountain is leaking. Remove a bit of the water and then dry the outer areas to see if this solves the issue. Honestly, besides being damaged in transit, there isn’t anything that leak in a wall fountain.

The fountain has algae and dirty water or white scale

It is time to clean the fountain. Fountains need to be maintained. They all require a bit of TLC. Wherever there is water, algae will eventually grow. You may even find some care products for your fountain that may help to prevent or prolong algae and white scale build up in our complete wall fountain cleaning guide.

All Kote Lining Fountain Repair & Resurfacing

If you live or do business in the Phoenix Metropolitan area and need water fountain repair or resurfacing services, All Kote Lining, Inc can help!

Give us a call today at 480-966-4446 to talk about your water fountain problem.