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What to do with cooling towers in the winter?

It is getting cold, and it is time to start asking should the cooling tower be shut down or operating during the winter? This decision will dictate how you prepare the cooling tower for the cold weather. Many buildings require cooling year-round, so it is best to understand what the building needs before taking the necessary steps.

Frost

Seasonal Shutdown

If the cooling tower needs to shut down for the season, below are some steps to be taken:

  • Have a professional chemical treatment performed and cooling tower cleaned

  • Shut off and drain the make-up water lines

  • Drain the basin and piping from the lowest point

  • Close vents

  • Close supply valves and open drain valves

  • Turn on heat tracers or heaters for pipes and water basins that may still contain water

  • Check and lubricate any bearings, if required.

Tip: Keep in mind that residual water and stagnant water is what you want to avoid, especially if it is not heated.


Winter Operations

If your cooling tower is capable of running during the winter, please take proper precautions, consult with the manufacturer, and follow the operating manual to prevent any icing and freezing conditions.

  • Proper chemical treatment and cleaning

  • Maintain a water flow rate at or above the minimum design at all times

  • Do NOT operate without a heat load. Ensure that heated water reaches the tower.

  • Manage airflow appropriately according to the manufacturer's guidance.

  • Monitor your cooling tower regularly to observe for any indications of freezing


Cooling towers are vital equipment for maintaining the cooling of the building. Taking the proper steps will protect it from any costly repairs. These are some recommendations, but it is best to consult a professional for what your building needs.

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