Cooling Towers

Cooling tower

What is a Cooling Tower? 

A cooling tower is a heat removal device; it removes heat from water through heat exchange and heat transfer by water circulation. The cooled water is then used in whatever process is needed. 

Commonly found in industrial and commercial locations, cooling towers can be used for two purposes: 

  • First, towers are used as part of the production process in industrial locations, including refineries, chemical plants, glass plants, tobacco plants, and other manufacturing companies. In these facilities, flowing water is used to cool fluids and absorb heat from materials. This flowing water, once it has absorbed the heat from the manufacturing process, is run through a cooling tower to remove the heat and reuse the water. 
  • Cooling towers also provide cost-effective and energy efficient systems for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC systems). When partnered with a chiller unit, cooling towers are used to air condition large industrial and commercial buildings (manufacturing plants, hotels, hospitals, and schools).   
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Types of Cooling Towers 

Natural Draft Units 

This tower style is open and resembles a big chimney that curves inward. The bottom of the structure has openings for fresh air to get inside.  

Inside the tower, nozzles spray hot water, which the air cools. Heat escapes the sprayed water, rises, and goes out of the top; while the cooled water drops to a basin and pumps out.  

No mechanical assistance is used. It costs less to maintain but is less energy efficient.


Mechanical Draft Towers  

Mechanical Draft Towers can be identified by fans, electric motors, and gearboxes that are used for air circulation. Machines with mechanical components are more efficient, but they also come at higher operating and maintenance costs. 

This mechanical group consists of two styles: 

  • Induced Draught (Draw-through): Tower has a fan at the top (discharge) to pull air through the structure  
  • Forced Draught (Blow-through): Tower has a fan at the bottom (intake) that forces the air through the structure. 

The location and direction that air enters the tower and crosses the water can be categorized as crossflow and counterflow: 

  • Crossflow units have air enter from the sides and cross the water perpendicularly. They’re cheaper and smaller in size, but this style is prone to freezing and more dirt build-up. 
  • Counterflow units have air enter from the bottom, which runs opposite to the water. They’re high cost and noisy but are more freeze-resistant and efficient. 


Cooling Tower Field Service 

Cooling Towers are a major investment and critical to maintaining a comfortable and productive work environment, for both the workforce and machinery. It’s therefore important to keep towers in tip-top shape and running optimally, as breakdowns can impact operational efficiency. 

As part of our field services, Square One can perform maintenance and repairs on your industrial cooling tower.  

We have the know-how to work on all makes and models of both natural and induced draft cooling tower systems, including SPX Marley, Evapco, and Baltimore Air Coil (BAC). 


Whether you have an inside factory-assembled unit, a rooftop unit, or a field tower, we can help with repair services and parts replacement. 

Cooling Tower Preventative Maintenance 

Preventative maintenance is essential in ensuring that the water circulating in your cooling towers is clean.  

Towers hold large amounts of water. When left unattended, bacteria can thrive and cause serious health issues in individuals who are constantly exposed to the cool air from the units. Outbreaks of Legionnaires disease, a type of lung infection, is an example. 

Besides water, all the tower motors, fans, and pumps require regular cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, and adjustment to stay functional and efficient. 

Below are the cooling tower maintenance services we offer. Additionally, as part of our Predictive Maintenance (Corrective Maintenance) procedures, we correct any issues that we find when we find them, if possible.  

Electric Motor and Gearbox Testing and Cleaning 

Machinery will inevitably trap dust and other particles, which may cause electrical stress and lead to a system breakdown.  

Both the electric motor and gearbox should be kept clean, adequately lubricated, and the hardware tight in order to ensure your equipment’s constant and continuous peak performance.  

Our team of experts will check them thoroughly, including alignment and belt condition.  

Cooling Tower Fan Inspection 

We check for signs of damage and corrosion on the steel parts of the fan deck and air leaks between the adjoining panels. In addition, we test the reliability of the support components and ensure that their connections are tight.  

Overlays are also inspected, and we attach them properly if they are loose. Damaged components will be reported and quoted for replacement.  

Belt Inspection and Replacement 

Correct belt tension and alignment, adequate lubrication, properly fitted bearings, and stable pulleys are integral in the optimal performance of a cooling tower’s system.  

We make sure that all of these are in place, checking for corrosion, wear, gouges, damage, and loose connections along the way. We lubricate, tighten, and replace as necessary.  

Hardware Tightening 

Loose hardware not only creates more noise and vibration but also shortens the lifespan of a cooling tower. That’s why tightening loose parts is one of the basic tasks on our maintenance checklists.  

We tighten: 

  • Hardware attaching the casing to the structure 
  • Loose threads and bolted connections 
  • Bolted joints in both fiberglass and steel basins 
  • Bolted joints in pipes 
  • Fan bushing between the hub and the shaft, hardware attaching the blades to the hub, connections between the hub and its cover, and the joints between the motor mount and its support 
  • Fan cylinder assembly and hold-down hardware 
  • Hold-down hardware in the driveshaft and couplings 
  • Connections between the mechanical component and its support and between the tower structure and its support 
  • Sealing materials 

We tighten based on the manufacturer’s recommended level and procedure as part of our hardware tightening best practices. 

Structural Integrity Inspection 

Cooling towers are built from a combination of steel, cast iron, wood, and fiberglass or plastic. Each of these materials deteriorates at its own pace. Steel and cast iron will corrode, wood will decay, fiberglass will crack, and plastic will tear.  

Fasteners, connectors, and bolted joints will also loosen over time. Therefore, each preventative maintenance schedule we conduct includes an inspection of all materials.  

Equipment Alignment 

We understand that misalignment leads to premature equipment wear and failure. In addition, overtime, equipment will wear and create alignment changes. 

Our field technicians will check and perform laser alignment as needed in the motor and gearbox coupling, belts and pulleys to maintain peak performance. 

Vibration Check 

Vibration is not always detectable with the eyes and ears. It’s important to monitor equipment vibration to discern early signs of problems and take corrective measures.  

Any issues, small or large, that our technicians find will be corrected at that point, if possible. Otherwise, we will make our recommendation for the next course of action to prevent further or more serious issues. 

Routine Preventative Maintenance 

Our thorough routine maintenance ensures your cooling towers work efficiently and have a longer service life. Our systems also eliminate potential damage as well as minimize repair and replacement costs. 

At Square One, we offer three regular maintenance schedules, each one covering different tasks required at every stage:  

Monthly Routine Maintenance 

  • Water Treatment: Check for poor water quality to prevent scaling and sludge in the system. 

  • Observe the operation of the mechanical system, including the electric motor, fan, and drive mechanism. 

  • Fan assembly: Check fans and drive belts for wear and tension. 

  • Gearbox: Check fluid levels and fill as needed; check lines for blockage or leakage. 

  • Baffles: Inspect for corrosion or wear. 

  • Inspect and clean (as needed) the air inlet, PVC drift eliminators, fan motor exterior, distribution basin, nozzles, and collection basin. 
  • Float valve: Inspect for deterioration. 
  • Spray nozzles: Clean as needed. 
  • Observe the cooling tower operations, looking for any changes in vibration or sounds that may indicate a problem. 

Quarterly Routine Maintenance 

  • Electric motor: Check connections, vibration, and bearings. 

  • Fan assembly: Lubricate fan shaft bearings. Inspect blade clearance, check the blades for wear or cracks, clean blades, and weep holes. Analyze the shaft and drive coupling and pulleys. Inspect belt tension and condition. 

  • Check the fan shroud for the correct connection between the hub and blades. 

  • Check alignment. 

  • Tighten all bolts in assembly and structure. 

  • Water inlet & outlet: Look for leaks and clean the filter. 
  • Check for scale build-up. 
  • Inspect and clean contamination from basin heater sensor (if equipped).  

Annual Routine Maintenance 

  • Fan assembly: Replace the belts, couplings, and pulleys, then align. 
  • Electric motor: Recondition with stator steam clean and bake, rotor balance, and bearing replacement. 
  • Sump: Clean and check for corrosion. 
  • Fill (Packing): If the tower has splash-type fill, check the bars for sagging, breaks, spacing, or other issues. For film fill, look for contaminant build-up, like algae or scale, as well as damaged sheets.   
  • Casing: Inspect for leaks, cracks, holes, or general deterioration, including corrosion or scale build-up. Check wood for rot or decay and brittleness in fiberglass.  We’ll also inspect the hardware. 
  • Structure: Inspect the overall structure for corrosion; and the wood for cracks, fractures, or softness in support and cross beams and decking. Also, check bolted joints, stairways, walkways, ladders, and access doors. 

Proactively Eliminate Problems And Risks Before They Happen! 

Need expert care for your cooling tower? Contact us for equipment inspection or a site visit.