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    June 28, 2022

    How ZRC Products Make Cooling Tower Maintenance and Repair Easier


    The summer months are here again and for nearly everyone this means a renewed focus on how their HVAC system is working. Air conditioners make our lives more cool and comfortable, and it's something that many people take for granted will simply always work. For large buildings that rely on a commercial system, thinking about the HVAC system is all the more important – and all the more complex as well. 

    As you worry about the efficiency of your unit and whether it can make it another summer or two, we encourage you to take a closer look at the cooling towers. Far too often, these are left as an afterthought while building managers, the facilities team, and engineers focus on fan blades and vents instead. This is a mistake! As you'll see below, ignoring the cooling towers because they are out of sight and out of mind leads to far more costly and time-consuming repairs down the line. If you don't keep up with the needed maintenance of your cooling towers, it isn't if you'll be faced with a tough decision about replacing it but when.

    Why You Should Be Proactive About Cooling Tower Maintenance and Repair

    Cooling towers are prone to rust. It's not difficult to understand why. They're made from galvanized steel. They're also consistently wet. Some areas inside the cooling tower are submerged, totally wet all of the time. Others alternate between wet and dry as the water is moved and cooled.

    Between the external weather, the heat being generated, the water inside, and the fluids being moved along the inlet louvers, the steel is constantly being barraged with fluids. It's important to point out that this isn't pure, clean H20 but water mixed with harsh chemicals. If this sounds to you like the ideal environment for rust and corrosion, you're right!

    It's always better to be proactive rather than reactive, particularly when it comes to your cooling towers. We know it can be tough to do, especially due to the fact that you probably don't see them or think about them that often. There are other, more-immediate needs to address. If you wait and only concern yourself with your cooling towers when rust is already a problem, you'll be kicking yourself. This is because you'll be faced with:

    Expensive Repairs

    What would happen if you never got the oil changed in your car? Maybe not today and maybe not next month, but eventually you'll wind up broken down on the side of the road, facing a repair bill that is much more costly than what a simple oil change would have been. The same is true for your cooling towers!

    Sometimes, by the time the contractors drain the tower they find perforations for the corrosion that then need to be repaired before the new coat of zinc-rich cold galvanizing compound can be applied. In these cases, the area of the cooling tower must be welded and a ZRC product would need to be used for this application as well. You certainly cannot have brand new, un-galvanized steel up against water!

    In extreme, worst-case scenarios, contractors must essentially cut out the whole base and re-fabricate an entire basin to be put in place. This is the direct result of letting your cooling tower go too long without re-galvanizing it.

    Even More Costly and Time Consuming Replacements

    As bad as needing to re-fabricate the basin sounds, that actually isn't the worst case scenario. You may need to not repair but actually replace the entire cooling tower! This entails replacing the base, as well as all of the framework and everything pulling it all together. If you need to replace the cooling tower, you're looking at using a large crane or even a helicopter to get the job done. Imagine telling your boss you need funds for a helicopter, because you let maintenance and simple repairs go too long without being addressed!

    ZRC Cold Galvanizing Compounds Can be Applied Over the Weekend

    No matter how well your cooling towers were originally galvanized, they can only last so long in an environment that corrosive. Rather than let your cooling towers degrade to the point of no return, you can use a ZRC product and take care of the issue over the weekend.

    Late on a Friday, when everyone else has left, your team or contractors can drain the towers. This is the time to get the area completely dry, as well as scrape off any rust or corrosion that has begun to form. Saturday morning is a great time to do this surface prep, cleaning all the loosely adherent corrosion. Once you get it clean, you can apply the first coat of ZRC. Many times, the team will apply a second coat on Sunday morning, then refill the tower Sunday night. This quick turn-around makes it possible to have it ready to keep the building cool for Monday.

    Our recommendations for dry times are a bit longer than this in other use cases. A weekend turnaround isn't ideal, but it works! This is still the best way to handle it. The alternative would be taking it down off the building to work on it, which really isn't a viable option.

    Simple Paint Isn't Good Enough – Plain and Simple

    Some misguided people know they need a barrier in between the steel and the fluids, and opt for regular paint. Regular paints acting as a barrier, but only temporarily. Once that barrier is breached, corrosion starts quickly and take a hold of the tower.

    Not only is regular paint not good enough, it can lead to even worse problems down the road than leaving the cooling tower alone! This is because regular paint won't last long in an environment this corrosive. When moisture gets underneath the paint, it comes off kind of a big chips. Not only will it begin to break apart, it can slough off in massive sections. These can clog up the system's filters, leading to – you guessed it – costly repairs. This is not a concern if you use a ZRC cold galvanizing compound; it's literally impossible for this to happen with a product that is 95% zinc and only 5% resin.

    Save Money in the Long-Run With ZRC

    There's a pattern emerging: trying to skimp and save on your cooling tower maintenance always leads to paying more in the long run. The only way to truly save time, money, and stress is to do the job correctly, before it actually must be done.  The cost of a ZRC cold galvanizing compound is minuscule compared to major repairs and replacing the equipment.

    ZRC is an industry leader because no one can compare to what our products deliver – not regular paint, not other zinc compounds, and certainly not hoping and wishing your cooling towers will make it another summer in good condition on their own. If you have any additional questions about ZRC cold galvanizing compounds, how they can be applied to your cooling towers, or where to buy them, don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We don't just sell cold galvanizing compounds; we take pride in educating our customers as well. We're always here to guide you in the right direction!

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