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Understanding Your Cooling Treatment Control Ranges

Cooling Systems

Introduction Many factors such as the system design, operating conditions, makeup water quality, chemical feed and control equipment, on-site monitoring program, and treatment chemicals are considered when specifying the control ranges for a cooling treatment program. Operation outside of these design control parameters can result in problems that increase operation and maintenance costs, damage the cooling and/or chiller system, and result in system failure. Below is a description of some common cooling treatment control ranges and their importance to the water treatment0 program.

Sample Test Purpose / Corrective Measures Consequences
Makeup Hardness and Alkalinity Water source(s) and water quality can change. Changes impact the control limits for controlling scale and corrosion in cooling systems. Unexpected makeup changes can result in scale deposits or corrosion in the cooling / condenser system
Conductivity Used to establish control range for maintaining desired cycles of concentration. Periodic checks of makeup water confirm the basis for establishing bleed control limits.
Chlorides Use silica if makeup chlorides are too low for accurate field measurement or to double check cycles based on conductivity.
Cooling Tower Water Conductivity These parameters are used to monitor bleed requirements. If low, bleed should be reduced. If high, bleed should be increased. Note that increasing bleed will decrease the chemical levels while decreasing the bleed will increase the chemical levels. Low levels (excessive bleed) wastes water, and treatment chemicals, and can cause corrosion. High levels (inadequate bleed) can cause scale deposits and excessive fouling. Scale deposits can result in cooling system failure.
Inhibitor Tests: Molybdenum, Phosphate, Phosphonate If low, increase feed rate of inhibitor product. If high, decrease feed rate. If phosphate requirements increase significantly, check for hard water. Low inhibitor levels can allow scale deposits and corrosion to occur. High inhibitor levels wastes chemicals and can result in phosphonate deposits. Deposits and corrosion can result in cooling system failure.
Microbiological Testing Regular testing to monitor the effectiveness of the biocide program. High bacterial counts: adjust biocide dosages and/or frequency of biocide additions. High bacterial counts and/or algae accumulation can lead to fouling, increased energy costs, and excessive corrosion.
Halogen (Free Halogen Residual) High halogen residual: decrease feedrate of halogen donor product. Low halogen residual: increase feedrate of halogen donor product. Low halogen level can lead to excessive microbiological growth. High halogen level can lead to degradation of inhibitor and excessive corrosion.
pH Maintain within recommended limits with proper bleed (if not using acid) or pH control (if using acid). Low pH can cause corrosion and iron deposits and result in equipment failure. High pH can cause scaling in heat transfer areas.

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