Minimizing Your Cooling Tower’s Environmental Impact

3 Cell crossflow industrial towers newly repaired

Minimizing the environmental impact of your cooling tower is very simple…Preventative Maintenance!

Regularly scheduled maintenance is the first priority to ensure your system is running on design. When your system is dirty or not working properly there are both financial and environmental costs.


  • Minimizes Water Usage and Chemical Costs
  • Helps to control bacterial growth
  • Reduces Energy Use – For every 1% rise in return water temperature to the chiller = 1.2% rise in operating kW of chiller
  • As an operator what can you do? Include a tower check as part of your weekly routine.


  • Check motor amperage
  • Belts or gearboxes
  • Fill
  • Makeup valve(s)
  • Casing for leaks
  • Eliminators
  • Spray system(s)


Beyond regularly scheduled maintenance there are specific systems to consider upgrading to further reduce environmental impact of your tower.

  • Access Ladders with Safety Cages and Catwalk Platforms with Railings – In order to keep costs low these items are often not included when the cooling tower is installed thus requiring operators and service technicians to use step ladders to access the equipment. How is a building operator expected to routinely inspect the cooling tower if there is no safe way of accessing the machine? Fixed ladders and catwalks drastically increase the likelihood that the cooling tower will be regularly inspected by building operators and maintenance staff.
  • Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) – A variable frequency drive helps keep energy costs down by operating the fan at the lowest possible speed required to achieve the desired water temperature. A typical start/stop application will engage the cooling tower fan motor when the condenser water temperature exceeds it’s set point, and then once that set point has been achieved the fan motor powers off. The amount of energy required to start the fan motor from a dead stop far exceeds the amount of energy required to keep the fan turning at a lower speed; therefore, a variable frequency drive will have the fan run at a fraction of its maximum speed and slowly increase speed until set point is achieved. Once set point is achieved the VFD will gradually slow down in order to maintain the desired water temperature. VFD’s can also be integrated into the building automation system which will allow operators to remotely control and monitor the cooling tower fan motor from their terminal.
  • Electronic Make Up Water Probes – Most towers use a float ball and valve assembly similar to what you’d see in a toilet to provide make-up water to the cooling tower. Electronic probe assemblies with a normally closed solenoid valve allow for a building automation system to monitor the water level at their terminal. In the event the water level drops below the probe setting, it will close a contact and the alarm automation tells the operators that there is an issue with the make-up water line.
  • Or if noise pollution is the problem, Low Noise Fans could be the solution. Moving large volumes of air at high speed makes a lot of noise which can become an issue for the surrounding neighbourhood. In many applications, CTM is able to retrofit the existing cooling tower with low noise fan solutions in order to reduce the overall sound power of the cooling tower while operating at high speeds.

These tactics will help keep your tower in tip top shape which will, reduce unnecessary repairs, extend the longevity of your tower, save money, and minimize the environmental impact. Everyone wins!