Cooling Tower Maintenance is essential

Have you discovered a problem with your cooling tower? Not sure what could be wrong with it? There are a lot of cooling tower issues that go largely unnoticed, which is why ChillAction believes it is critical that cooling tower owners are properly educated.

In this blog, we explain why it’s so crucial to get your cooling tower cleaned and checked properly by professionals. A lot of people don’t bother to get their cooling tower components regularly checked and cleaned as they see it as an unnecessary added expense. However, it is also essential to understand that keeping up to date with maintenance can save you more money than you probably realise, rather than simply waiting for something to break or having a Legionnaires Disease outbreak and dealing with it then.

In fact, we have discovered that this is the norm, that most people have the if it isn’t broken, just leave it alone attitude, however, eventually this will be costing them a lot more money or damage their brand.

Now cooling towers are a very niche topic that not a lot of people are well versed in even though most of us rely on what they do, for each and every day, mostly without even knowing it. They cool the air-conditioning system in a lot of large buildings and cool process water in industrial factories.

For this reason, and to better understand this very detailed, technical space we sat down with Darren Driscoll as the owner of ChillAction, a 100% Australian owned and operated company specialising in the cleaning of cooling towers and cool rooms of commercial and industrial premises throughout Australia.

Did you know that it is now law from 2019 to clean all interior surfaces of a cooling tower system in Victoria, so why not do a full maintenance report at the same time?

Yes, it’s a legal requirement to clean the interior surfaces of all cooling towers in Victoria, so while this is being done why wouldn’t you get the company cleaning it to provide you with a comprehensive maintenance report at the same time?

The short answer to this question is that there are not many cooling tower or water treatment companies that offer a maintenance report – inspection at the same time they are cleaning all the interior cooling tower surfaces.

ChillAction do offer a comprehensive report to their clients, one that includes

– Checking each interior and exterior component, rating them as good, fair or poor.

– Checking and clearing spray systems to get the water and chemical treatment all over the fill pack which is the heat exchange medium

-Removing cleaning and inspecting the Drift eliminators, and they can advise if the are compliant, damaged or faulty at the same time

– Checking Grommets that hold the pipe and nozzles in

-Checking the fans and motors to ensure they are working correctly and alert you if they could fail

– Checking for reasons why your cooling tower may be leaking or losing water

– Taking photos of your cooling tower components and the interior surfaces to show cooling tower inspectors and auditors that it was cleaned in accordance with Victoria State Law

After ChillAction have completed the cooling tower cleaning and maintenance report, they are able to take their knowledge and recommend/diagnose what your cooling tower needs, whether it is maintenance, repairs, or services that needs your attention.


Other Reason to Maintain your Cooling Tower:

We found out that regular maintenance of cooling towers ensures health and safety, performance, durability, efficiency, and compliance. Failure to do so can be costly and extremely dangerous. ChillAction recommends routine checks to maintain the condition of your cooling tower. This will help you get the most out of your equipment while also providing a clean, safe, and compliant work environment.

Over time, nutrients, airborne dirt, and inefficient operation will cause the temperature of the cooling tower to rise and debris collect within different components of cooling towers. If not properly cleaned, these contaminants can cause blockages and corrosion, which impair the operating efficiency and can lead to significant damage and possibly failure of the system.

Darren explains that cooling towers are one of the most prolific spreaders of Legionnaires’ disease, a severe and potentially fatal illness caused by Legionella bacteria. If you are not keeping up with maintenance, it provides the right environment for breeding because it is protected from the chemicals that are used to treat it.   

Darren highlighted that some cooling tower owners and operators think that the water treatment companies are responsible for cooling tower maintenance, but this is not the case. Cooling tower manufactures provided a cooling tower operation and maintenance instruction document that should be followed but this document addresses component maintenance, not water treatment, and is not relevant to state or commonwealth laws.

If cooling tower maintenance is not carried out correctly and there is a case of death, injury, or illness, the government officials, WorkSafe, EPA, and lawyers will consider action against the Owners of the land that the cooling tower is located on, directors, operators, mechanical service providers, refrigeration contractors, water treatment companies and cooling tower cleaning companies.      

Darren Also noted that in some cases, if there was 25mm of dirt at the bottom of the cooling tower, chemicals cannot get into the dirt to treat the bacteria within the dirt. This can result in severe corrosion of steel, and a safe place for the Legionella bacteria to grow is it is protected from the water treatment chemicals.


 Why Experience Matters:

With more than 33 years of experience in the cooling tower service cleaning and maintenance industry, means that they really know everything that there is to know about cooling towers.

They provide a complete, end to end solution when it comes to cooling tower maintenance, from start to finish, their services include post-completion guarantees as well.


What happens if your cooling tower needs mechanical or parts replacement?

ChillAction highly recommends and strongly encourages their clients to speak to Flowmatrix, a company that specialises in repairs and services, that includes arranging new parts for your cooling tower.

They can also install or just sell them to you, however whatever the situation they will provide you with any advice needed.


More about ChillAction:

ChillAction pride themselves in their knowledge, and their customer care policy that ensures that they provide amazing customer service. Darren details that “it is critical to help individuals achieve the best results they possibly can by providing”

“Our approach is simple, we look out for our clients, treat their cooling towers as if they are our own”

ChillAction will also:

  • Recommend when and how frequently to clean your cooling tower which is around 6 months.
  • Understand the builds, makes, models, and manufacturers of all cooling towers in Australia to be able to set up their clients with what is most suitable for them.
  • Be responsible in adjusting and balancing all chemicals appropriately for pre and post disinfection. Balance water treatment chemicals on completion.
  • Understand how to examine and check all components of the cooling towers.
  • Offer a full comprehensive service/condition/maintenance report.
  • Take photos of components that are faulty and include them in your cleaning report
  • Work safely, wearing the appropriate.
  • PPE gear that protects everybody, and the environment.
  • Be compliant, and work within government cooling tower cleaning regulations, like cleaning all interior surfaces.
  • Work smart, efficiently, and in ways that cause minimal disruption to your business, building employees, or the public.
  • Have experience understanding how to disassemble various parts of cooling towers, for successful cleaning outcomes.
  • Know how drift eliminators, fill packs, air intake splash louvres and water nozzles work so that they can report faults during a clean.
  • Have the training to run a confined space entry, permit writing and a rescue plan

They will also refer clients that have service or repair issues to nationwide, trusted providers like Flowmatrix to ensure standards are maintained.


 The Steps Required to Clean a Cooling Tower:

Step 1: Safely procedure 

The first step before cleaning a cooling tower is to inspect the tower. Ensure that there is safe access to all access panels and that they can be removed safely. Check the isolation procedures for the site, complete the SWMS and JSEA, understanding permits such as confined space entry requirements, working at heights, using EWP / scaffold, correct wastewater disposal, and understanding the building or site rules can be accomplished.

The ChillAction team are also all 3 times COVID vaccinated….

Step 2: Cooling Tower Treatment process. Pre-Disinfection

Carry out the disinfection of the cooling tower for at least a one hour period.

The Victorian state law states that 10ppm, of free chlorine must be held within a pH range of 7 to 7.6 for a minimum of one hour.

The bacteria/fungus that grow in cooling towers may cause harm or illness to humans, and so it is necessary to disinfect with proper chemicals as per State Government Regulations.

This makes the cleaning process safer and easier while eliminating excessive growth.

Step 3: Cooling Tower interior cleaning

All Interior components and surfaces such as drift eliminators, water nozzles, splash louvers, fan drives, casings, and basin surfaces need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to function properly.

To do this, all access panels must be removed to get inside which is why safe access and confined space entry regulations must be addressed prior to the clean. Not having safe access is not an excuse to not do the interior clean, as that is law. ChillAction find ways to to do the work correctly, both short team solutions and long team options

ChillAction takes photos and attaches them to the service report that is provided.

This ensures nothing was damaged or done incorrectly in the process.

Step 4: Reassemble

Ensure all components of the cooling tower that were disassembled are properly reassembled into place. To prevent faults such as water splashing, drift, bacterial growth, electric motor failure, melting of plastic components, and damage to a chiller, heat exchanger, or process.

Step 5: Final Cooling Tower Post Disinfection

After the cleaning and inspection are completed, bacteria have been successfully disturbed so it must be disinfected to eliminate regrowth by a final disinfection procedure.

Carry out the disinfection of the cooling tower for at least a one-hour period

The Victorian state law states that 10ppm, of free chlorine must be held within a pH range of 7 to 7.6 for a minimum of one hour.

This step is enforced as Legionella Bacteria could have been living and growing deep in the fill pack, on casing surfaces, in the drift eliminators and in pockets of dirt in the basin, Making the final disinfected procedure critical to the maintenance steps.

Step 6: Cooling Tower Cleaning Service Reporting

The after-cleaning safety report is created with the data that has been taken from examining and cleaning the cooling tower. Also included are the levels of chlorine and Ph, as well as when the cooling towers needed to be treated again based on these results. Photos are added from the interior cleaning process of the components and surfaces such as drift eliminators, basin casing and fill pack.

Apart of the after-service reporting, if your cooling tower needs further repairs or services, ChillAction will refer you to a reputable company who are a service provider, ensuring a proper cooling tower service.

Get up to date with your cooling tower maintenance and give the guys at ChillAction a call Darren and the ChillAction

team are always looking out for their clients, providing the highest quality service possible.

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