Preventing Seasonal Water System Damage

Winter is fast approaching. It is a well-documented, but often misunderstood fact that water system damage can and does occur when systems are NOT IN OPERATION.  The default belief is that problems only need to be controlled while a system is under flow and transferring heat.  Not true.  Some would argue that PM treatment is easy while things are flowing.  However, the water treatment professional should worry equally as much about what might happen in a semi-wet, or partially drained scenario.  For example, those facilities’ who operate seasonal cooling tower systems, particularly in colder climates, have an opportunity now to positively support waterside protection. What specifically should seasonal operation’s be concerned about?

  1. Freeze-Thaw of external Condenser Lines
  2. Semi-Wet, unprotected, stagnant cooling water left within the piping infrastructure and heat exchangers for several months.
  3. Cooling towers being drained (and/or started back up) without first being disinfected.
  4. The selective use of glycol to lay-up coils exposed to outside air

A proper chemical treatment regimen should address these concerns fully.  If a water system is seasonal, Facility Managers should develop and implement a plan which addresses the cleaning and lay-up protection of their systems in preparation for the ‘off-season.’  Make sure the water treatment professional on your team is on-board with these efforts, and that these practices are not overlooked.

Written by:
John D. Caloritis, CWT
Technology Director
The Metro Group, Inc.
John is Chair of the AWT (Association of Water Technologies) Cooling Water Committee and a Member of the Association’s Legionella Task Force.