Understanding Cooling Tower Corrosion

In a wide variety of industries, cooling towers are highly important. As such, facility managers should be aware of cooling tower corrosion. 

Most importantly, site managers should know what preventative measures exist. This is because corrosion can impact cooling tower performance, which has a knock on effect for the entire facility. 

Thankfully, cooling tower corrosion, for the most part, can be prevented and sometimes reversed. As a team with a wealth of maintenance experience, we can attest to this. 

Today, we at COVAC are providing you with an extensive overview of cooling tower corrosion. We are going to explore how it occurs, as well as common preventative maintenance which can be performed. Continue below for more information. 

The Purpose of Cooling Towers

If you work in, or oversee, a facility that benefits from a cooling tower, you will be familiar with their purpose and how advantageous they are. 

However, we want to quickly summarise what a cooling tower is, exactly, as well as what they are responsible for. 

Simply put, a cooling tower is responsible for removing excess heat from a facility by way of evaporative cooling. It is commonly used to cool water, as well as being a huge heat exchanger. 

To reiterate then, ‘’A cooling tower is a heat removal device that uses water to transfer excess waste heat into the atmosphere. Likewise, an industrial cooling tower operates on the principle of removing heat from water by evaporating a small portion of water that is recirculated through the unit’’.

Now we understand what they are, as well as what they are responsible for, let us take a look at the causes of corrosion and preventative measures that can be implemented. 

What Causes Corrosion?

Corrosion in these systems is of course bad, as it impacts performance. For an industrial facility, for example, a cooling tool plays a vital role in ensuring optimal temperatures. Thus, they need to be well maintained and certainly free of corrosion. 

There are a number of reasons that corrosion can occur. Regardless of the cause, it is important as a facility manager that you are able to diagnose and fix the issue promptly. Failure to do so could result in the above. The chief causes are: 

  • Oxygen Exposure

If oxygen is able to enter, it can react with the metal thus initiating oxidation. 

  • Water Quality

The minerals in poor quality water can lead to scale formation. Moreover, ions like chlorine and sulphate can increase the corrosion rate. In either case, the quality of water can accelerate or decelerate the corrosion process. 

  • Microorganic Activity

Bacteria, algae and fungi can promote and speed up the corrosion process. 

Ultimately, a number of factors can impact and cause cooling tower corrosion. Understanding them as well as the steps which can be taken to reduce their potency is important. Below we have outlined a number of preventative measures which can be implemented. In most cases, this will guarantee the longevity of your cooling tower.

Important Preventative Measures

  • Implement Cooling Tower Lining

One thing which can be done is to enlist the help of an expert in cooling tower lining. This is a vital maintenance step in which a protective coating is added to your cooling tower, thus reducing the likelihood of bacteria growth and corrosion. 

  • Regular Maintenance

Having someone outside of your company, with experience, perform maintenance on a regular basis is essential. Not only is this able to prolong the life of your tower, but it can help to identify issues such as corrosion before it has any detrimental effect. Maintaining an asset as important as a cooling tower is important. 

  • Water Treatment

As stated, water can play a vital role in the early degradation of cooling towers. As a result, it is important that facility managers have water regularly examined and treated. The monitoring and adjustment of pH levels, as well as chemical treatment, can ensure the water quality is sufficient and not likely to initiate corrosion.

  • Filtration 

In some cases, filtration may help to clear bits of debris or other items which may compromise the contents of the cooling tower. 

Thus, ensuring filtration is completed can help to preserve the quality of the water and subsequently decrease the chances of corrosion.

Cooling Tower Maintenance by COVAC

As mentioned above, if you are looking to invest in the longevity of your cooling tower, and avoid corrosion, it is highly recommended to have someone perform regular maintenance. 

The team at COVAC offers both maintenance and lining for cooling towers, which can preserve the quality of the asset as well as decrease the likelihood of premature corrosion. If you would like to enquire about the following services, contact us today and speak to an advisor. We are available to guide you through the process, as well as answer any questions you may have.

  • Cert No. 22946

  • Cert No. 22946