New Series Introduction: How to Pick a Cooling Tower


By Chad Edmondson

Cooling towers come in many different shapes, sizes and configurations. So, with so many choices, how does one decide which is right for a given application? With this series, “How to Pick a Cooling Tower” we are going to break it down for you.

It may come as no surprise that location and the surrounding environment play a major role in cooling tower selection.  How much space do you have? What existing structures are nearby and how might they impact cooling tower performance?  Structural, natural and occupied environment(s) often dictate the design of a cooling tower system, especially when it comes to deciding between:

       -  A factory-built or field-erected tower, and

       -  An open or closed loop system

For example, if a large group of trees stands between the tower and the prevailing winds, an open tower might be subject to frequent clogging due do leaves, sticks and other debris.  Also, depending on the tonnage requirement and available space, a field-erected tower may be necessary to satisfy the load demand.

Of course, cost is a factor in any project. In particular, one must weigh the first costs and life-cycle costs with the needs and resources of the client. An accurate evaluation of first costs is an essential step in this comparison. This step can be more complex than one might think. For example, installed costs of equipment can vary significantly from one area of the country to the next when rigging requirements, structural support, and electrical and plumbing labor are factored into the first cost. The need for redundancy and cooling tower maintenance cost are also important considerations.

We will cover all of these topics and more in a level of detail that is both practical and useful in the design and selection of cooling towers.  Stay tuned – we have much to share!