Five Best Practices for Cooling Tower Installation

Especially in the summer, nobody wants to stay in a building with bad air conditioning. For industrial and commercial facilities, keeping cool is essential—not just for the comfort and productivity of your workers. 

Read on to learn more about why a cooling tower could be the right fit for your building over other types of HVAC and climate control systems, as well as tips and best practices for getting the most out of your cooling tower installation.

Why are cooling towers installed?

Cooling towers are essential parts of refrigeration and climate control systems for facilities in industries such as power plants, chemical processing facilities, steel mills, and other manufacturing companies. Industrial cooling towers are extremely powerful heat exchangers that use water to transfer waste heat from industrial processes into the atmosphere.

Installing a cooling tower prevents the buildup of waste heat in your facility, enabling processes and machines to continue running smoothly and reducing the chances of mechanical failure. In other words, cooling towers mean fewer repairs to keep important process machines running and keep your facility productive.

Cooling towers are also useful for climate control for large buildings such as airports, schools, hospitals, or hotels. People generate a lot of waste heat, and the more people you have, the more waste heat is produced. Large commercial buildings need extra strong heat-removal systems, then, to keep everybody comfortable. 

Anybody who’s spent time in an office building, school, or airport can imagine how miserable these places can be when the AC isn’t working properly—and for hospitals, climate control can literally save lives!

Where should a cooling tower be installed?

The decision to install a cooling tower in your building isn’t to be taken lightly. Cooling towers are expensive, powerful, high-efficiency climate control machines and essential to many industrial and commercial HVAC and climate control solutions. When it comes to cooling tower installation, the choices you make will impact the efficiency of your climate control system for years to come.

Much research has been done to determine where a cooling tower should be installed. Pick a sub-optimal placement, and your building won’t keep cool as effectively as it should. Cooling towers can also produce a lot of noise, and putting them in the wrong location might expose your building’s occupants to irritating or distracting noise.

Picking the perfect location for cooling tower installation is all about carefully assessing your property and the needs and comfort of its occupants. Five best practices for cooling tower installation include:

  • Cooling towers work best in shadow, where you won’t have to worry about direct sunlight impeding the heat transfer process. Picking a location that gets regular shade, whether from your building itself or from nearby buildings, or from trees and other topographical features. The north and east sides of your building or property are often good choices.
  • The cooling tower system consists of two parts—the tower itself, which expels heat from the building into the atmosphere, and a chiller tank, which absorbs the heat from the building and sends it out to the tower. The chiller is often located in a basement level, but if it must be placed outside, placing it within the flow of natural wind around your building can help boost performance. 
  • The location you choose for cooling tower installation should be tested in comparison to air intakes and wind patterns for maximum efficiency. Cooling towers should be kept at least 25 feet away from any air intakes. 
  • Cooling tower installation should also take building acoustics into consideration. Nobody wants to spend all day hearing the noise a cooling tower and chiller produce. When identifying the location for a tower, think carefully about how easily the sound can reach your building’s occupants. 
  • Cooling towers can be roof mounted or ground mounted. The structural integrity of your building, especially if your cooling tower is being placed on the roof, is also an important consideration for cooling tower installation. The location of your cooling tower should be strong and sturdy enough to support its weight.

Choosing the correct location for a cooling tower installation is not something to be taken lightly. Cooling towers can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and making the wrong decision is essentially throwing money away.

Choosing a location that gets ample shade, is within the natural wind flow around your property, is far away from air intakes, insulates your occupants from the noise of the tower’s operations, and can permanently support the tower’s weight requires the expertise of HVAC and cooling experts, as well as your building’s engineers and architects.

Cooling Tower Installation Procedure

Once you’ve decided on the right place to install a cooling tower for your building, it’s time to begin the cooling tower installation process. The procedure for installing a cooling tower on your building or property requires making many more decisions to optimize your cooling tower’s performance.

There are several types of cooling tower to choose from, including:

  • Crossflow cooling towers 
  • Counterflow cooling towers 
  • Forced draft cooling towers 
  • Factory assembled cooling towers 
  • Induced draft cooling towers

Step 1: Install the cooling tower fill and dripping device

Your cooling tower depends on a variety of essential components, such as the cooling tower fill. Fills are plastic sheets that increase the surface area of your tower available for exchanging heat. Fills come in many shapes, sizes, and patterns to maximize water evaporation. Examples of fill types include diaphragm, paper honeycomb, dot wave, and ramp pattern types.

Another essential component is the water dripping device, which also comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each type of dripping device has its own considerations for installation. Some are made from wood or plastic. Some can be directly mounted on angle steel or flat steel bracket. Some can be directly mounted to concrete supports.

Step 2: Install the water distribution system

There are two types of water distribution system that can be installed in your cooling tower: fixed and rotary pipes. In fixed pipe water distributors, the nozzle is angled downward. The orientation, angle, and distance between nozzles should all be taken into consideration.

Step 3: Install the cooling tower’s ventilation equipment

The cooling tower’s ventilation equipment is essential to its operation. As in the previous two steps, choices must be made in determining the best ventilation equipment for your needs. There are two types of ventilation equipment for cooling towers—the blowing type and the induced draft type. 

The blowing type requires a minimum distance of two meters between the tower and the fan, and the induced draft type requires more stringent waterproofing measures for the rotor and motor cover.

SEE ALSO: Improving Indoor Air Quality and Indoor Air Quality Services

Step 4: Install the cooling tower drift eliminator

The final step of the cooling tower installation procedure is to install the cooling tower drift eliminator. The drift eliminator plays a crucial role in blocking water droplets from causing damage to other cooling tower components.

How long does it take to install a cooling tower?

A cooling tower installation procedure can typically be completed in five to seven days once an ideal location has been determined. Once installed, a cooling tower can deliver peak performance for up to fifteen or even twenty years or more as long as it’s properly maintained.

At Chiller, our technicians help you with every part of the cooling tower installation process. We specialize in every brand and have the expertise to help you make all the right decisions regarding your installation, from which type of equipment and parts to use to the best placement for your cooling tower on your property.

We get it done right, we get it done fast, and we’re on call 24/7 for repairs, maintenance, and everything else you need to keep your new cooling tower in tip-top shape for as long as possible. To learn more, reach out to us today.

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