Marco Hurtado – Industrial Division Manager Meras Water Solutions

A proper cooling tower lay-up is a key function for the longevity of your system. Protecting your cooling systems is an important, full-time job, year-round. This is true across the board, including industries such as packing sheds and cold storages, who take their cooling systems “off-line” as the production season comes to an end and the colder months begin to approach. Why is this? Cooling systems are a dynamic environment where large-scale dysfunction, such as mineral scaling, metallurgical corrosion, and microbial fouling, can occur, even when the system is on stand-by. For this reason, it is critical that a proper chemical treatment program is put into place, including plans for a lay-up procedure at the end of your active season.  

During the warm operating months, you and your water treatment provider spend a large amount of time and effort to run tight chemistry and water parameters to prevent scale, corrosion, and microbiological fouling. Unfortunately, all of this hard work and effort can be in vain for protecting your cooling systems

if that same care is not put into protecting your system during the stand-by season. To combat this, we can implement a lay-up procedure, also referred to as a winterization procedure, wherein we prepare your system to be placed in standby mode for an extended time.

As your systems sit idle, they run the serious risk of undergoing serious corrosion and microbiological fouling. These risks can lead to other issues, such as: 

  • Increased operational costs 
  • Increased utility costs 
  • Decreased equipment longevity 

If cooling water corrosion inhibitors are not consistently and accurately maintained, metal surfaces become susceptible to pitting and accelerated corrosion. Water conditions in offline systems can also loosen iron oxide particles and create further complications in strainers, pumps, and spray nozzles. Furthermore, a stagnant, wet environment with the proper amount of nutrients and anaerobic bacteria can lead to biofilm formation on your cooling system surfaces. Such organic contamination can also contribute to your corrosion rates and will create concerning inefficiencies when you start up your system once again. 

When it comes to properly shutting down and storing your cooling systems, specific steps must be taken to ensure that your equipment is protected and ready for the following season. Before performing a lay-up procedure, you must follow a two-step process to begin removing dissolving suspended solids from your cooling tower. The first step involves lowering your cycles of concentration and the second step involves chemically shocking the system to address any foulants that may remain. Once your cooling system has undergone this first part, you are now prepared for a lay-up. 

A lay-up can take two forms: dry or wet. A dry lay-up means that you are emptying out your cooling system and sealing it shut once it is properly dried out. A wet lay-up means you are leaving water in your cooling system during the stand-by season. While a dry lay-up is usually recommended for long-term storage, a wet lay-up is recommended for short-term storage. In today’s industry, you can find a variety of product offerings that are specifically designed for this sort of protocol.  

You work hard to keep your system running most of the year. Ensure that that valuable time and effort will not go down the drain by staying one step ahead. Lay-up your system today so that you can begin your active season with a running start.

If your stand-by season is approaching and you are interested in protecting your cooling systems the right way, feel free to contact us for a free site visit. We are always happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.  

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