We’ve all heard that proper cooling tower maintenance increases power plant efficiency. What we don’t often hear about are the consequences of improper maintenance and oversight. Unfortunately, due to reduced maintenance budgets and personnel cuts, with cooling towers often overlooked or mismanaged, cooling tower failures occur more frequently than you might imagine.
What should I be on the lookout for?
The most common catalysts of cooling tower failures are:
Could this be avoided?
This is a tricky question to answer since it primarily depends on your system’s set-up. If you have a flow meter installed, you will be able to monitor the water flow rates and temperatures that go in and out of the cooling tower itself. With the flow meter, it’s easier to see build-up but if you’re using a flow curve, which is based on pump rates, then there’s no visible indication of flow, or lack thereof.
Monitoring the level in the basin of the cooling tower can help with indication of water flow problems in and out of the cooling tower as well. With ultrasonic level instrumentation, the level of the water in the basin can be monitored and alarms can be set to notify plant personnel if the levels get too high or too low. This is a great means to ensure the proper flow of the water through the system and give notification if some part of the system is not functioning properly.
How can I avoid cooling tower failures for the future?
Since any one of these catalysts can be the last straw for your cooling tower, it’s essential that you abide by the normal maintenance routine recommended by your instruments. However, to avoid failures for the future, the best way to achieve this is by automating your system to accurately show the correct maintenance program and real-time readings of flow levels and temperatures.
To learn more about solutions for cooling tower failures, visit our ultrasonic flow or level websites.