Here is my snow day story for large cooling towers.
Many large motel complexes will use chilled water loops to the individual rooms. Heating water supplied from a hot water boiler through it own loop.
Single or multiple reciprocating or centrifugal chillers can be supplied with condenser cooling water from one single cooling tower depending on its size.
Can be located on the ground level or roof mounted. Roof mounted has it’s own set of problems such as structural support for the weight. Leakage problems.
Essential items for a properly maintained and operational cooling tower.
An automatic control water valve (such as a float controlled valve) all automatic valves are not float controlled some have a water level sensing tube that control the water level within the tower basin.
Should have an basin overflow pipe installed above normal operating level of the basin and should not be connected to a sanitary sewage drain system and should not be allowed to discharge onto the ground surface. Most usually will discharge into the storm drainage system unless a lagoon is specifically designated. I would note in my inspection report where this water is being discharged to.
Most large cooling towers can and will be operated 365 days per year if operated during the normal cooling season only should be drained during the off season. If operated year round and located in cold outside ambient weather there will be an ambient temperature control either of the fan cycling speed (Hi Low) speed or the off on mode. Some towers to control the ambient temperature within the basin will have a water by-pass valve that will open on temperature and will short circuit the warm water from the chiller condenser directly back into the basin. I would simply note in my inspection report the type of temperature control for the basin.
Large towers can have multiple fans installed and should have anti-vibration switches installed near each fan. Some of these fan blades can be 8 to 12 feet in diameter, even though relatively speaking operate at low RPM’S as compared to a smaller system. You would not want to be within 100 yards of a cooling tower if the blades came apart and the vibration switches failed to shutdown the power down. Would look like a war zone. I would note in my report if vibration switches were installed. Vibration test are a standard preventive maintenance procedure normally preformed by specialized inspection companies or trained in-house maintenance personnel.
Water treatment; cooling towers must be treated chemically to maintain proper PH balance. In my report I would simply note the type of chemicals presently being used and if a log was present documenting daily PH levels. Many cooling towers will also have a chemical anti-foaming agent added as needed and I would note if this was present for use. Acid is one of the basic chemicals added to a cooling tower basin for proper PH I would note in my report how it was being added such as automated pump and the safety PPE present for its use such as rubber gloves, rubber apron full length and goggles. Cooling towers that have automated chemicals added and controlled by sensors will also have an automated blowdown valve and I would note its presence or lack of.
Pumps can and do range from as small as 25 horse to as large as multiple 100 horse power. I simple note the voltage, type of pump horizontal or vertical, what type of shaft packing; mechanical sealed or rope type packing glands. Note the presence of or lack of suction screens for the pump inlets from the tower basin and the accessibility for cleaning.
7 General appearance I note the condition and the type of air distribution louver fins wood or plastic and the water distribution pans at the top of the towers this is usually all treated Redwood and the pans will normally be covered to prevent excessive rapid algae growth due to sunlight exposure.
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