Keeping Your Cooling Tower Safe

Cooling towers are essential to the efficient operation of air conditioning systems and electric power generation as well as other manufacturing uses. Since cooling towers extract heat and discharge it via water evaporation into the atmosphere, they are valuable tools for businesses, apartment houses, and medical facilities. Maintaining your cooling tower properly is essential to its safe performance.


Improperly maintained cooling towers have given the equipment a bad name. Cooling towers do not cause disease, but poor maintenance of them does. "Dirty" towers can be a source of bacteria like Legionella that causes Legionnaires Disease, a condition that often presents with flu-like symptoms that can be quite dangerous in people with compromised immune systems. At-risk populations include those over 50 years old, heavy drinkers, chronic illness sufferers, and smokers. People become infected by the disease when they inhale the bacteria-laden mist of the compromised unit. When cooling towers do not receive the proper attention and maintenance, they can spread the bacteria to a large population. 

Maintenance and Inspection

Your cooling tower will be safe if you follow the correct procedures. OSHA has developed maintenance steps that include the following:

  • Use chemical biocides according to the manufacturer's suggestions.
  • Remove any debris, including organic matter, from the tower so that the biocides will work properly.
  • Keep the sump water at 68 degrees Fahrenheit as a deterrent to Legionella bacteria.
  • Have the tower cleaned and disinfected at least twice a year or four times if it's used continually. 
  • Document the maintenance and use of the tower in a log book.

This cooling tower treatment will ensure that the device is working efficiently. To make certain your system is operating properly, you also need to have it inspected by professionals on a regular basis. They will check water distribution, the cold water basin, the bleed line, and overall cleanliness. They will also help your cooling tower use less energy. They can work to restore or improve the unit's performance level. Professional inspections will help keep your cooling tower free of dangerous bacteria while making it more cost-efficient to operate.

Cooling towers are an essential part of different manufacturing and cooling processes. Cooling towers by themselves are not a health issue. However, you must practice routine maintenance and order regular inspections to keep your cooling tower clean, healthy, and running smoothly. The danger is never in the cooling system itself but in poor maintenance of that system. By acting responsibly, you can prevent most types of cooling tower problems. Protect your cooling tower, and you will protect the people who live and work around it.