Keeping Cooling Towers Legionella Free

Cooling towers have much to offer in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, but legionella scares have left some specifiers and building managers reticent to choose this type of cooling. Popular globally, cooling towers can be a safe choice; as long as they are maintained and care is taken to ensure airborne debris doesn’t cause fouling and system clogging.

Cooling tower applications

Well suited to industrial applications, such as power stations, petrochemical refineries and food processing plants, cooling towers are also a good solution for HVAC systems in hospitals. High profile legionella outbreaks can put healthcare establishments off, however, with fears that vulnerable patients will be put at risk.

How do cooling towers work?

A cooling tower is basically a heat exchanger designed to lower the temperature of water so that residual heat can escape through evaporation. As water flows through the tower it is exposed to air circulated by a fan, the process of evaporation is what causes the cooling action. The cooled water is then pumped back to the condenser or process equipment where it absorbs heat, this water is then returned to the cooling tower to be cooled again.

As well as offering comfort in HVAC applications, cooling towers also prevent overheating of other machines. This reduces the expense associated with breakdowns and ensures there is no disruption to production in industrial processes.

Preventing legionella, improving cooling

Legionella bacteria like warm water, so one of the key ways to prevent its proliferation is through ensuring water is kept cool. This is also the primary function of cooling towers – a win, win situation. ECEX Air Intake Screens, which act as pre-filtration media, are an excellent first-line of defence that will contribute to temperature maintenance and even enhanced cooling.

By stopping airborne debris, such as pollen, leaves and dust, from entering the air intake, contaminants are kept out, allowing the system to run at its optimum, improving energy efficiency and whole life costings. In preventing system fouling components last longer and maintenance requirements are reduced, by as much as 75% in some instances.

As well as improving system efficiency, water treatment requirements are also reduced as fill components and strainers are kept from clogging, reducing the risk of micro-biological debris entering the system. And, by using ECEX Air Intake Screen, sunlight is also diffused, helping to restrict algae growth.

Preventative approach

Using ECEX Air Intake Screens combined with Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) should ensure Legionella risk in cooling towers is kept to a minimum, giving UK specifiers and building managers confidence in what is an effective and efficient mode of cooling.

For more information about ECEX Air Intake Screens, click here.