Causes of Cooling Tower Failure

Cooling tower, as the name suggests, is a setup to cool the unwanted heat from an industry. It effectively discards the excess heat from any plant or industry, saving the setup from any mishap. It is an essential part of an industry and needs acute attention in order to get the most from it. The components which are used to construct the tower like fill made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), walls of FRP or Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic, fan decks, fan blades, fan stacks, louvers, partitions, and catch basin, are prone to catch fire. Even when the cooling tower is offline, it might catch fire. Hence, the cooling tower repairing is of utmost importance, to make sure all the components are working fine.

What are the Reasons of Cooling Tower Failures?

There are various factors like corrosive water, harsh atmospheric condition, lack of proper monitoring, etc. which contribute to the failure of the cooling tower. Let’s have a look at the prime reasons for the failure of the same.

Most of the cooling towers are exposed to the environment and the pollution in the air contaminates the water. The contaminated water in the cooling tower is in a concentrated form and when comes in contact with the pure water vapor in the atmosphere, corrosion occurs. The corrosion process is directly proportional to the velocity of water. Hence, when the water flows with a great velocity, the oxygen and particulates present in the water increase the rate of corrosion in a great way. The pH balance of the water gets disturbed due to the presence of impurities and particulates in it, making it highly polluted.

The water in the cooling tower gets accumulated from different sources, which has various properties. Due to the dynamic sources, the pH balance of the normal water gets distracted, making it either too alkaline or too acidic. The measure of the pH balance decides the amount of corrosion, which leads to the failure of the entire system. If the scale of pH balance indicates 6 or lower, the liquid becomes acidic that elevates the corrosion to a great extent.

The deposition of calcium or magnesium can cause the formation of scales. Scale buildup is the microbial growth between the scales and pipes and can trap oxygen in it, which causes corrosion. By proper inspection, this can be identified and the necessary steps can be taken to avoid any fire event. In addition to the scale problem, the corrosion can also occur on pipes, also known as Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC).

A warm environment is a perfect medium for the microbes to grow. Temperature is also directly proportional to the rate of corrosion.


The aforementioned factors contribute to the corrosion of the fire protection pipe. Since, the cooling tower needs to operate round the clock the inspection procedure can be tenacious. However, a proper inspection must be done to avoid the formation of scales and corrosion. If the problem is detected at an early stage, the cooling tower repairing process becomes easier. With routine maintenance, the longevity of the tower also increases.

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