Cooling towers are the heart of a building’s mechanical system. Without routine maintenance, they’re destined to experience problems that can lead to a complete shutdown of the entire building, making both the owner and tenants extremely unhappy.

The following is a tasklist of the crucial elements for cooling tower maintenance. When done regularly and properly, you’ll be sure to keep to keep both the system and the building’s occupants humming.

1. Water Treatment

The most critical step in cooling tower maintenance is a thorough, monthly water treatment program. If water quality is neglected, it can foul up the entire system, resulting in scaling and sludge in the pipes and condensers.

If your company doesn’t have expertise in water treatment, subcontract a company that does. Ensure that the water is tested monthly and is treated with biocide and scale inhibitors. Automatic feeders and sensors should also be installed.

2. Motor

If your motor fails, it can bring the whole building down along with it. Because these motors are extremely heavy, hoisting a new one to the cooling tower isn’t the easiest task. Here’s what to do on a regular basis:

  • Inspect starter coils and contacts (quarterly)
  • Tighten all electrical connections (annually)
  • Measure operating current and voltages, and make sure that they don’t exceed the recommended guidelines found on the motor nameplate (quarterly)
  • Check for excessive vibration (monthly). Signs include worn out bearings and fan blades out of balance.
  • Lubricate bearings as required
  • Examine motor mount resiliency (annually). If the motor sits on rubber supports, make sure they’re not dried out.
  • Check the motor’s insulation (annually). If the insulation breaks down, water can seep in and short out the motor.

3. Fan

Proper fan maintenance is equally important, as broken fan blades can destroy bearings and cause other problems. Therefore:

  • Check blades and clean dirt accumulation (annually)
  • Lubricate bearings and check for end play and wear (quarterly)
  • Check condition of drive couplings, pulleys, and belts (quarterly)
  • Replace belts (annually)
  • Check for corrosion and wear (quarterly)
  • Check the fan’s alignment, balance, and security to shaft (annually)

4. Water Inlet and Water Outlet

  • Inspect and check for leaks (quarterly)
  • Clean strainer, as required

5. Spray Nozzles

  • Clean, as required

6. Baffles

  • Inspect for corrosion and wear (monthly)
  • Clean or replace as required

7. Sump

  • Inspect for corrosion, clean (annually)

8 Drain and Overflow

  • Inspect for obstructions, clean (monthly)

9. Float Valve

  • Inspect for corrosion and wear (monthly)