There are several tower designs available as classified by airflow generation method: natural draft, mechanical draft, crossflow and counterflow. The principal styles used in most markets are: induced draft crossflow, forced draft counterflow, and induced draft counterflow. Add to these the hybrid of inserting a coil in place of fill media and you have closed circuit fluid coolers.

Crossflow Cooling Towers

The Induced Draft Crossflow (IDFX) is one of the oldest styles of towers on the market. It offers the benefits of easy service and maintenance, low pumping head requirements, best available performance in sub zero weather, and best energy efficiency throughout its operating life. Conversely, IDFX requires a large footprint and can be more expensive to buy.

detailed sketch of the interior of crossflow tower
Image 1

Counterflow Cooling Towers

Counterflow has two styles to move air through the enclosure: Forced Draft using centrifugal fans at the base of the enclosure; and Induced Draft using a propeller fan at the top of the enclosure.

Forced Draft Counterflow (FDCF) usually has the smallest footprint and is typically a lower first cost option. It has the benefit of fitting into confined airflow spaces. Conversely, it uses the most energy; it has the highest noise rating; requires higher pump horsepower; and is leaks profusely from the multiple seams in the pressurized enclosure. This leakage can be disastrous in winter conditions.  This tower is only available in packaged steel.

Detailed sketch of a forced draft counterflow tower
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Induced Draft Counterflow (IDCF) is the simplest tower to build, initial low energy input, typically low first cost, and has a smaller footprint as compared to IDXF. Conversely, difficult to service; water distribution systems nozzles are prone to clogging; requires higher pump horsepower; and difficult to operate in winter conditions. This tower is available in steel, wood, or fiberglass.

drawing of a induced draft counterflow tower
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