You are on page 1of 3

Cooling-Tower Design Tips | Air Conditioning content from HPAC Engine...

1 of 3

http://hpac.com/air-conditioning/cooling-tower-design-tips

Comfortech Show

Subscribe

Air Conditioning

Building Controls

Fire / Smoke

Heating

Contact Us

Humidity Control

Newsletters

IAQ & Ventilation

Advertise With Us

Motors / Drives

About Us

Info-Dex RSS
REGISTER LOG IN

Piping / Pumping

Resources

HOME > AIR C ONDIT IONING > C OOLING-T OWER DESIGN T IP S

Advertisement

Cooling-Tower Design Tips


By KEITH RINALDI, CEM; Dome-Tech Field Engineering Services; Edison,
N.J. | HPAC Engineering
SHARE

Advertisement

Recommend

Tweet

May 1, 2005

COMMENTS

A cooling tower is only as good as the details of its design


and the specification of its supporting components.
Details such as pump net positive suction head (NPSH),
strainers, and pipe size can have a major impact on
performance and energy bills. Make sure the impact is
positive by keeping the following in mind.
RELATED

Finer Points of Specifying Cooling Towers


A STRAINER AT THE TOWER INLET CAN PREVENT HEADACHES AFTER START-UP

When cooling towers are replaced, the system and piping often are not. When the
system is filled and started, water flows from the tower, through the pump, through the
chiller, and to the tower spray nozzles. Eventually, pump-discharge pressure increases
and flow decreases, indicating a problem. Building personnel blow down or pull and
clean/replace the pump inlet strainers, which are loaded with dirt/scale. When the
system is started again, pump-discharge pressure still is high, and low flow persists.

Blogs & Opinions


Blogs

Columns

The Customer Isnt Always Right


by Lawrence (Larry) Clark, CEA,
GGP, LEED AP O+M
Posted 1 week ago
in Clark's Remarks

HVAC and Cloud Computing: More


Similar Than You Think
by Lawrence (Larry) Clark, CEA,

What is the problem?


The problem is that the pump inlet strainers catch only dirt and debris between the
tower outlet and the pump inlet. They do nothing to remove dirt and scale originating
between the pump outlet/chiller and the tower. There is a good chance that some, if
not all, of the tower nozzles will be partially blocked. Removing and cleaning each
nozzle will be expensive and time-consuming. Making matters worse is that the nozzles
likely will plug again as soon as the system is restarted.

GGP, LEED AP O+M


Posted 3 weeks ago
in Clark's Remarks

Getting What You Pay For


by Lawrence (Larry) Clark, CEA,
GGP, LEED AP O+M
Posted 5 weeks ago
in Clark's Remarks

For this reason, in systems with questionable water-treatment practices and systems
that have been drained or dormant, consider installing a new strainer, block valves,
and inlet- and outlet-pressure gauges on the common header just prior to the tower
inlet. Utilize a strainer that can be opened, cleaned, and placed back into service
quickly. In some systems, this new tower strainer will have to be cleaned several
times a day for the first week or two of service to remove all of the dirt and scale in the
system. However, cleaning a strainer like this usually can be done quickly with
in-house personnel.
DO NOT UNDERSIZE THE EQUALIZING LINE

4/21/2014 1:36 AM

Cooling-Tower Design Tips | Air Conditioning content from HPAC Engine...

2 of 3

Water drains out of a cooling tower's cold-water basin via gravity. Typically, between
the cold-water basin and the point of connection for the common return header is only
a few feet of vertical drop. As a result, the pressure differential between the tower and
the common header may be only a few feet (or even inches) of water column.
History has shown that even minor differences in piping geometry between cell outlets
and the point of common connection on return headers can have a profound effect on
how water drains from tower cells. In some instances, differences in cell-outlet pipe
length of only 5 to 10 ft have resulted in one cell basin running nearly empty while the
other overflows. A common field fix is to balance water flow between the two cells.
Tower performance will be affected, however, as one cell will be receiving extra water,
while the other will be receiving less and not performing at its rated conditions. This
situation easily can be avoided by paying attention to the design and sizing of the
equalizing line. Follow the tower manufacturer's recommended guidelines, and make
the tower-outlet piping from each cell identical. If it is not identical, slightly oversize it
from the cells to the header.

http://hpac.com/air-conditioning/cooling-tower-design-tips

Follow

Tweets
HPAC Engineering
@HPACEng

19 Apr

Johnson Controls recently announced it reached a


definitive agreement to acquire Canada Pension
Plan Investment... fb.me/2U5BNmIfE

Scott Arnold
@ScottArnoldHPAC

19 Apr

@johnsoncontrols to acquire Air Distribution


Technologies: hpac.com/iaq-ventilatio #HVAC
Retweeted by HPAC Engineering
E

Tweet to @HPACEng

Newsletter Signup

WATCH THE PUMP NPSH

When an existing roof structure will not support the weight of a new cooling tower
as is the case in many retrofit situations the cooling tower may be installed on a
different support platform, perhaps one adjacent to the building. Rarely does the
support platform reach the height of the building's roof. Often, the tower cold-water
basin is located only 10 to 12 ft above ground.
If pumps are to be installed on a foundation and base, only a few feet below a tower
basin, it is imperative that low-NPSH-required (NPSHR) pumps be utilized and that
there be a safety factor in the NPSH available (NPSHA)/NPSHR. A pump selected at
NPSHA is a problem waiting to happen. No one wants to tell an owner that the reason
his or her brand-new pumps sound as if they are pumping marbles is that they were
selected improperly and are going to have to be replaced.
In situations in which a tower is located on an elevated structure, but only 5 or 10 ft
above grade, avoid up and down runs of tower-discharge piping, especially to a level
higher than that of the cold-water basin. Though unusual, this has been witnessed by
the author on two occasions, causing the following problems:

Sign-up to receive our free newsletters

E-MAIL:
COUNTRY:
By clicking below, I acknowledge and agree to Penton's
Terms of Service and to Penton's use of my contact
information to communicate with me about Penton's or
its third-party partners' products, services, events and
research opportunities. Penton's use of the information
I provide will be consistent with Penton's Privacy
Policy.

SUBSCRIBE

Follow Us

When pumps were shut off, water in upward-sloped pipe ran backward into the
tower, causing it to overflow.
Elevated discharge pipe acted as an air trap. Eventually, air filled the pipe and
slugged through the system, damaging the pumps and causing the chillers to trip
off line because of lost flow. Because the suction piping often ran at a vacuum
condition, the air could not be vented by conventional means.
LOCATE THE COOLING TOWER AWAY FROM ACTIVE AREAS

Cooling towers launch water vapor and a small amount of liquid into the air, a
phenomenon known as drift loss. Depending on the amount of drift loss and the
weather, a mist may be felt in the area surrounding the cooling tower. Normally, this is
not a problem. But if a cooling tower is located on a roof directly above or adjacent to a
pedestrian thoroughfare or parking lot, mist detectable by pedestrians quickly can turn
into an air-quality issue. Is the water safe? What chemicals are used? What
microorganisms are in the water? Mist landing and then drying on parked cars also
can pose problems. Try explaining to the CEO that the mist is no big deal and that he
simply needs to get his car washed every other day.
The installation of extra or high-efficiency drift eliminators may solve the problem of
drift loss. However, it will not stop water vapor in the air from condensing and then
blowing into a parking lot. In short, do yourself a favor, and locate cooling towers as far
from active areas as possible.
Keith Rinaldi, CEM, is vice president of Dome-Tech Field Engineering Services.

4/21/2014 1:36 AM

Cooling-Tower Design Tips | Air Conditioning content from HPAC Engine...

3 of 3

SHARE

http://hpac.com/air-conditioning/cooling-tower-design-tips

Recommend

Tweet

Newsletter Signup
Sign-up to receive our free newsletters

E-MAIL:
COUNTRY:
By clicking below, I acknowledge and agree to Penton's Terms of Service and to Penton's use of my contact
information to communicate with me about Penton's or its third-party partners' products, services, events and
research opportunities. Penton's use of the information I provide will be consistent with Penton's Privacy Policy.

SUBSCRIBE

Please Log In or Register to post comments.

Related Articles
Cooling-Tower Design for Critical Applications
Maximizing Cooling-Tower Water Efficiency
UVC Helps Institute Keep Indoor Air, Cooling-Tower Makeup Water Clean
Cooling-Tower Design for Critical Applications
Relocated Plastic Cooling Tower Handles Weather Extremes

HPAC.com
Air Conditioning

Building Controls Fire / Smoke Heating

Humidity Control

IAQ & Ventilation Motors / Drives Piping /

Pumping

Site Features

HPAC Engineering Corporate

Media Center

Privacy Policy

RSS

Terms of Service

Sitemap

Contact

Site Archive
Newsletters

Search HPAC.com

Follow Us

View Mobile Site

Mechanical Systems Sites


Contracting Business Contractor HVAC-Talk Comfortech 2013 Show HVACR Distribution Business Radiant Living
Fire Protection Engineering

Copyright 2014 Penton

4/21/2014 1:36 AM