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