Steps to Chemical Cleaning of Cooling Towers

Tips & tricks
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Cleaning Towers

Scalebreak® quickly removes deposits like lime, scale, and rust that otherwise drastically reduce efficiency, increase expenses, and damage vital components.

The fourth edition of our series, Cleaning With ScaleBreak®, features the steps for cleaning cooling towers with ScaleBreak.

When cleaning cooling towers, you will first need to visit our calculation tool at!/cooling-tower, so you know the proper amount of ScaleBreak needed and how long to perform the circulation. The information in the calculation tool allows you to adjust the amount based on the thickness of scale specific to your tower system. Please keep in mind that when cleaning a cooling tower, you are also cleaning (the load). This is the equipment that the tower is cooling.

  1. Turn off all water treatment chemicals, pH & conductivity meters. Once the ScaleBreak is added to the basin, it will give false readings to these devices, and in turn, they will try to make corrections to the system. You do not want a blow-down of the system initiated where the ScaleBreak will be needlessly purged out. It is equally important to shut off or disconnect any non-chemical systems, especially alternating high-frequency electric types, as leaving this technology can cause unintended damage to the unit during cleaning.
  2. Close the make-up water valve to the basin.
  3. If possible, lower the water volume of the basin, but be cautious that you avoid cavitation of the pump. This action will minimize the dilution level of your ScaleBreak once in the system and allow it to dissolve the scale deposits faster.
  4. If the basin contains loose scale or debris, it is good to remove it before a descaling. This can be accommodated by utilizing our Cooling Tower Vacuum (CTV), so the ScaleBreak is not needlessly wasted on these deposits.
  5. If possible, turn off the fan during the duration of your cleaning. It is possible that the foam generated as a result of the ScaleBreak dissolving the scale could be sucked up and blown out the top.
  6. Slowly start to add the prescribed amount of ScaleBreak to the water in the basin, preferably on the opposite side of the pump suction. This action will allow the ScaleBreak to dilute first with the water. Please note: do not pour ScaleBreak onto the hot deck. Only add it to the basin with the water.
  7. The foaming reaction is a natural occurrence when ScaleBreak is dissolving the scale deposits in the system.
  8. If you have a heavily scaled unit, add 25% of the recommended amount, wait 20 minutes and add the next 25%. Follow this procedure until all the ScaleBreak is in the system. If you encounter a substantial foaming reaction, you can wait 30-45 minutes or until the foaming subsides to controllable amounts before adding more ScaleBreak. Defoamers are not recommended as the foaming can be controlled by minimizing the overall concentration of ScaleBreak within the system.
  9. During your ScaleBreak cleaning, you will want to make sure your solution remains active. For this step, please follow our “Testing ScaleBreak’s Effectiveness” procedure.
  10. Should all your ScaleBreak become neutralized during the cleaning process, this is an indication you had more scale in the system than anticipated. Additional ScaleBreak will be required to complete your cleaning. What happens is every descaling product has a saturation point. Once it dissolves its maximum ability, it becomes neutralized.
  11. Upon completion of the cleaning, shut off the pump and check the pH of the cleaning solution in your basin. Though ScaleBreak is a biodegradable solution, most facilities need to conform to pH discharge limits. ScaleBreak Neutralizer can be utilized to safely elevate your pH to meet your discharge limit so it can be flushed to the drain. Please follow the instructions for this process in the ScaleBreak Neutralizer information sheet.
  12. If you need to neutralize your remaining solution, shut off the tower pump and add a neutralizer to the basin. Once the solution meets your release limit, the basin can be drained. Caution: do not run the neutralizer thru the entire system as the dissolved scale solids can fall out of suspension upon a quick elevation of the pH value.
  13. Once the system has been flushed, you can reestablish pH & conductivity meters, turn on non-chemical treatment systems or water treatment chemical feeds.
  14. After the cleaning, if some heavy debris were released and is now in the bottom of the basin, you can utilize our Cooling Tower Vacuum (CTV) to vacuum this debris out.

Please note:

  • Follow all local regulations for discharge.
  • Follow all plant personal protective equipment guidelines as determined by your health & safety team.
  • ScaleBreak formulas have very minimal corrosion rates. However, the application of ScaleBreak may reveal pre-existing under-deposit corrosion (UD). This type of corrosion can present itself in pitting, pinholes, or similar types of damage.

Please contact Goodway Technologies with any questions.