The Effects of Scale on Your Facility’s Cooling Tower

One proven way to reduce spiking temperatures in industrial systems is by deploying cooling towers. Once embedded, a cooling tower becomes the crucial component in rejecting heat from process equipment into the towers bulk water. Likewise, the process equipment is dependent on a tower’s performance to then further reject that heat out of the system.

So, it’s important to control scaling in your cooling tower through a regular preventative maintenance program. If the tower fill has scaling, that deposit minimizes the amount of air the tower fan can pull through to efficiently cool the bulk water. Failure to protect your cooling tower and its associated equipment from scaling can have a corresponding result in downstream failures in your process. Wondering what those might be? Read on and learn about the risks of uncontrolled scale and what you can do about these threats.

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Air Conditioning Makes You Smarter: Increasing the Bottom Line with Better HVAC Maintenance

CareerBuilder.com released a 2018 survey stating that 46% of employees think their office is too hot to too cold. Despite untold millions of dollars spent on heating and air conditioning systems, almost half of everyone in a building is uncomfortable. Year after year complaints about office temperature outrank dirty bathrooms, noise levels, no parking, or even bad indoor quality. It seems being uncomfortable is what is on people’s minds and for good reason. Several studies have shown a direct link between an employee’s comfort and their productivity, which is one of the many reasons why proper HVAC maintenance is so critical.

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HVAC Maintenance Implications of Nearby Fires

The West Coast is again facing epic wildfires filling the air with soot and ash settling onto roads, cars, and buildings, sometimes hundreds of miles away from the fires. For managers of commercial buildings, the flying ash increases the possibility of HVAC maintenance problems particularly in facilities with open cooling towers. Some building managers close to the fires have reported increased microbial growth in their open cooling towers as a result of the additional airborne particulates. The algae growth is clogging up the tower fill and wet ash is being drawn into the piping systems restricting the flow of tower water. If not immediately corrected, pipe fouling in open towers is an expensive and disruptive situation to correct.

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Engineering Staff at the Forefront of Patient Safety

In hospitals and healthcare facilities, the responsibility to clean and maintain HVAC systems goes beyond just keeping the equipment from breaking down. HVAC maintenance can involve serious health concerns, especially for those working in buildings where the occupants may be sick or have weakened immune systems. In 2014 the CDC published its major Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) Study noting that in 2011 there were roughly 722,000 cases of HAI’s in U.S. hospitals, and about 75,000 of those patients died. 2011 was a wakeup call and the survey prompted increased precautions on the part of designers and maintenance staff regarding hospital infection control. Now, nearly all large clinics and hospitals have infection control plans that include standards for HVAC maintenance and construction. The CDC’s “Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities” has infection control requirements related to cooling towers, air handlers, ductwork, and water treatment and can be used as a guideline for local facilities.

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How Maintenance Reductions Can Put Student Health at Risk

Every parent knows from experience that classrooms are swarming petri dishes of runny noses, coughs, and pink eye. Between wiping their noses, putting fingers in mouths, or just close contact, germs and infections spread very quickly among school kids. There’s little school employees can do about the inevitable transmission of colds between students, but school maintenance staff can make sure the building itself isn’t the source of additional infections. As such, less maintenance staff can mean higher risk of illness for students.

Maintenance technicians are at a school not just to fix things. A large part of their job is to perform routine preventative maintenance (PM) to keep equipment from breaking in the first place. For heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, PM includes changing air filters, wiping out drain pans, and cleaning cooling coils. These PM tasks not only keep HVAC equipment operating efficiently, but keep the equipment clean reducing the likelihood that mold or bacteria will grow inside.

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