Cooling tower performance is key to ensuring that the cooling demands of your operation are met. When cooling towers are not maintained properly, they can halt production, reduce productivity, increase maintenance costs and become a health hazard.

At Baptist Healthcare System, Louisville, Ky., two cooling towers had to be taken out of operation for scheduled maintenance twice a year. According to Gilbert Fister, properties manager for BHE's campus buildings, "In the spring and summer, Mayflies, pine needles and other matter would seriously clog our fill material and basin strainers and trigger a series of other operational problems."

Although the cooling towers are equipped with water filtration systems, they required weekly monitoring and cleaning and did little to protect debris from getting into the cooling water in the first place.

On several occasions, debris got through the basin strainer, resulting in the solenoid blow-down valve getting stuck in the open position; this triggered automatic release of water treatment chemicals and prematurely drained the treatment chemical tank, requiring BHE to call for emergency refills. Other times, the strainers got clogged and the blow-down valve stuck in the open position, resulting in the makeup water running until it caused the makeup water valve to shut off. When this would happen, the system would neither blow down nor release makeup water.

While consulting with its maintenance contractor in Louisville, Ky., BHE realized it needed a solution that would prevent debris from getting into the cooling towers in the first place. The contractor suggested air-intake filters could be mounted to the towers' air-intake openings. Gilbert researched this option and contacted Air Solution Co., Milford, Mich.

Air intake filter media is constructed of a UV- and weather-resistant, plastic-coated polyester fiber material that resists mold and mildew, does not require changing and is cleaned using a brush, broom or shop vacuum.

Since their installation in 1999, BHE has eliminated sludge buildup and has not experienced strainer or blow-down valve clogging. The facility also reduced its chemical consumption by more than 100 percent and reduced its makeup water consumption by 35 percent. Because air-intake filters now keep debris out of the system, BHE has not required unscheduled service due to system fouling, saving thousands of dollars in labor and service cost.

For more information on air-intake filtration technology, call Air Solution Co. at (248) 676-9418 or visit