As the summer heat intensifies, so do your Data Center temps:

Your cooling towers are fundamental in the performance of your data hall’s cooling system. Properly maintaining your cooling towers help sustain the desired lower condenser water temperatures resulting in better energy efficiency, lower utility bills and eliminating downtime.

Whether you are managing the site yourself or having someone manage it for you, creating a maintenance plan that includes preparing for seasonal weather extremes means you will be protecting your cooling system from costly summertime fatigue. Here are 5 steps to include in your summer cooling tower maintenance program:

1. Clean & Disinfect

  • According to OSHA’s Technical Manual all cooling towers should be thoroughly disinfected and cleaned at a minimum, twice a year. This means removing scale deposits that have built up on your fill from the systems evaporating water. Limescale buildup can decrease the efficiency and performance of your system and can lead to premature deterioration of your unit. Disinfecting the unit on a regular basis will prevent algae and biofouling growth. If left unattended, algae growth can lead to legionella growth. Legionella is the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease which is a dangerous and potentially fatal illness. It also can hurt your cooling system’s efficiency by blocking screens and distribution decks, interfere with water flow and drive up cooling costs. Creating a water management team (in-house or hired) to prevent deposit buildup, algae and biofouling growth with a water management plan will be helpful in maintaining your units.

   2. Water Treatment

  • A cooling tower water treatment system is a series of technologies that remove damaging impurities from your tower’s feed water, circulation water and/or blowdown. Cooling tower maintenance is more than just making sure the components are in adequate shape, you must also pay attention to your water quality. There are several cooling water treatment programs including scale and deposit control, corrosion inhibitors, biocides, chlorine dioxide and legionella control. By checking your maintenance program for your water treatment you will increase your cooling tower productivity which will help you reach your sustainability goals by reducing water and energy use while making your data hall safe for your employees and clients.

      3. Routine Inspection & Service

    • Pumps
      • Inspect the water pump to ensure it is operating properly. This means to check if it is on and off when it should be. Your pumps should run when the chiller does. Most chiller systems rely on a water pump to carry warmer water to the chiller for cooling. Efficiency during the pumping process can greatly increase the performance of your air cooling system in your data hall. To service the pumps make sure to lubricate the pump, motor bearings and water seal, as well as periodically check the alignment.
    • Fans
      • Poor airflow reduces the transfer of heat from water to air. Airflow interruptions can occur because of loose components, improper fan alignment and lack of gearbox maintenance. Damage to your fan blades can also reduce airflow. Whether your cooling tower has belt-drive or direct-drive fans, both require routine maintenance to ensure reliable, trouble-free performance. To ensure proper operation of a belt-drive system tighten drive belts to the manufacturer’s specifications. In gear-drive systems the oil level and quality, as well as shaft alignment should be checked regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

        For seasonal startup, purge the fan shaft bearings with new grease, fan shafts should be lubricated after 2,000 hours of operation or every three months (all per the manufacturer’s recommendations.)


       4. Sensors Calibrated & Accurately Functioning

    • Temperature
      • Temperature sensors are a vital component of your mechanical systems. When it comes to the functionality of a data center cooling system, these sensors determine how the overall system functions to provide your equipment loading, fan speeds, pump speeds and even how much capacity is online. If your equipment is not being controlled based on accurate sensors, you can be losing efficiency and capacity.
    • Flow
      • Most cooling tower systems are monitoring the flow to and/or from your cooling tower and within the systems. These determine how much of your capacity is in use. If they are not accurately  calibrated, they can lead you to believe you have more system capacity or less without knowing any different.
    • Water level
      • Ensuring that your water level controller is functioning properly is very crucial to your operation. Validating that it is both controlling properly and the alarm is working as it should in the event of a low water condition will save your operation if there is a mechanical failure.


    5. Automated Valves Working Properly

    • Modulating
      • Modulating valves are often overlooked. It is not uncommon to find them out of calibration or not able to modulate through the full range of motion as required. If the valve does not fully open or fully close it can easily have negative effects on your system and even rob you of efficiency and capacity.
    • Fixed Position
      • These are also an important component of your mechanical system. If the valves are not operating as intended, they too, can take away from your efficiency and capacity. Many of these valves provide isolation of equipment, if they do not fully close they will cause more challenges and problems for your system.

      Protecting You and Your Clients

      SiTESPAN is your expert partner in creating a custom summer maintenance plan specific to your facility’s needs. Contact us for more information on the services we provide and how we can assist you and your team in protecting your investment.


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