Cooling Tower Maintenance

Cooling towers are critical equipment in most industrial processes; they may be used for refineries, chemical plants, manufacturing, air conditioning, or power generation. The primary purpose of industrial cooling towers is to remove heat from circulating cooling water for processes.

There are basically two families of cooling towers: natural draft and induced draft. 


  • Natural draft units, as the name suggests, uses natural airflow to cool water without the use of mechanical assistance. They cost less to maintain but are also less efficient than mechanical towers.


  • Mechanical draught towers, however, utilize mechanical assistance such as fans, electric motors, and gearboxes for circulation. Without a doubt the more effective process, but it comes at a higher operating and maintenance price. This 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 one of the following:


  • Crossflow units have air enter from the sides and cross the water perpendicularly. Typically lower initial cost and smaller equipment needed; but this style is prone to freezing and more dirt build-up.

  • Counterflow units have air enter from the bottom and runs opposite of the water. Typically high cost and noisy, but this style is more freeze resistant and efficient.

It's easy to forget about cooling towers until something goes wrong.


Although there aren't many parts to cooling towers, even a small issue can shut down production and disable the facility, so it is critical to perform maintenance. From water treatment to mechanical equipment, it is important to stick to routine inspection for early problem detection.

Square One Electric Motors has been called in to assist with both routine maintenance and emergency service. We work on units throughout the Delmarva Peninsula: the entire state of Delaware and surrounding parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey. 

But whether you have small factory-assembled tower or a massive field-erected unit, Square One can help.

Most frequently overlooked maintenance:

  • Electric motor and gearbox testing and cleaning

  • Fan inspection

  • Belt inspection and replacement

  • Alignment

  • Vibration check

  • Hardware tightening

  • Structural integrity inspection

Square One Electric Motors offers on-call and routine service. We will work with you to put together a plan that fits your needs and budget.

Here is a rundown of monthly, quarterly, and annual cooling tower repair and maintenance procedures that we recommend and perform:




  • Water Treatment: Poor water quality can lead to scaling and sludge in the system

  • Electric motor: Insect motor bearings for wear and lubrication, but do not over grease or premature failure will occur.

  • Fan assembly: Quick check on fans and drive belts for wear.

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

  • Baffles: Inspect for corrosion or wear.

  • Drain: Clean and check for blockage.

  • Float valve: Inspect for deterioration.

  • Spray nozzles: Clean as needed.

  • Observe the cooling tower operations, looking for any change in vibration or sounds that may indicate a problem.




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

  • Fan assembly: Inspect blade clearance; check the blades for wear or cracks; clean blades and weep holes. Also analyze the shaft and drive coupling, pulleys, and belts for wear. 

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

  • Check alignment.

  • Tighten all bolts in assembly and structure.

  • Water inlet & outlet: Look for leaks and clean strainer.

  • Check for scale build up.




  • 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 spash 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 buildup. Check wood for rot or deterioration, and brittleness in fibreglass.  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. 


Contact Us to discuss your maintenance needs or to get a quote.

Cooling Tower Maintenance
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