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The Value of Maintaining Evaporative

Cooling Equipment
Evaporative Cooling Equipment

Cooling Tower Maintenance and upgrades whats in it for you? How

about savings in time, money, energy and longer life?

An evaporative heat rejection device enables building owners and

operators to take advantage of the operating cost savings
inherent in water-cooled systems. A well-maintained tower enables
the entire cooling system to perform at optimum efficiency by
conserving both energy and water.
A cooling tower is selected to provide a fluid (usually water) to a
system at a specific design temperature and specific flow rate
(GPM). If the delivered temperature of the fluid to the system is
higher than desired, system performance suffers.
Owners gain operating cost benefits when they implement a regular,
comprehensive cooling tower maintenance program.
Todays building owners are constantly challenged to keep operating costs down and are anxious to learn
ways to get the most out of their systems with the least expense. Therefore, owners are motivated to
purchase system equipment that is energy-efficient, reliable, and maintenance-friendly. When properly
maintained, water-cooled systems meet these objectives.
The cooling tower is often the forgotten component of the system when it comes to maintenance. Its a
good example of the phrase out of sight, out of mind. A newly installed cooling tower reliably delivers the
design fluid temperature and flow rate. However, since its heat transfer operation creates a hurricane-like
environment and is a natural air-washer, the cooling tower needs routine inspection and maintenance to
continue performing as designed.

A Cost-Saving Opportunity
Owners and operators who have a working
knowledge of cooling tower preventive maintenance
and upgrade technology will get the most out of
their cooling towers. Their efforts can yield beneficial results, including:
keeping them running smoothly and reliably
increasing cooling tower life expectancy
maintaining and potentially improving
This article will take a look at routine maintenance
and suggest ways to improve cooling tower

Baltimore Aircoil Company


Cooling Tower Basics

Similarly, in a closed circuit cooling tower or evaporative

condenser, the heat is rejected indirectly from a fluid or
vapor flowing through the coil section by spraying
re-circulated water over the coil section, again
evaporating a small percentage of the water in the

The temperature at which the cooled fluid is returned to

the system measures tower performance. This
temperature can vary depending upon the actual cooling
load, water flow, airflow, and the entering air conditions.

Preventive Maintenance
Performing routine preventive maintenance is paramount for consistently achieving the desired temperature
and flow rate, and plays an important role in maximizing cooling tower operating life. Today, those
manufacturers conscious of the importance of maintenance offer many features which simplify these
procedures, saving time and money.
To perform properly, all tower components must be kept clean and free of obstructions. The following sections
describe standard maintenance procedures for optimized operation. These procedures can prevent loss of
efficiency in the heat transfer section by maintaining proper water and air flow, as well as preventing corrosion
in the cooling tower.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

In an open circuit cooling tower, warm water from

the heat source is evenly distributed via a gravity
or pressurized nozzle system directly over a heat
transfer surface called fill or wet deck, while air
is simultaneously forced or drawn through the
tower, causing a small percentage of the water to
evaporate. The evaporation process removes
heat and cools the remaining water, which is
collected in the towers cold water basin and
returned to the heat source (typically a
water-cooled condenser or other heat

Maintenance frequency will depend largely upon the condition of the circulating water, the cleanliness of the
ambient air used by the tower, and the environment in which the tower is operating. More detailed
information is provided by BACs Operating and Maintenance Manual.

Evaporative Cooling Equipment

Fundamentally important to the performance of a cooling tower is a method to minimize contact between air
& water-borne debris and the system components. This is accomplished with strainers. Strainers in the
tower provide a means of keeping debris out of the condenser water loop. Strainers in the cold water basin
outlet prevent debris from reaching the pump. Some towers feature low-pressure drop pre-strainers
upstream of the hot water basin to prevent clogging of distribution nozzles. This added feature eliminates the
need to access the distribution nozzles. Both strainers should be routinely inspected and cleaned as
necessary. Some tower designs allow external access to the strainers, which enables maintenance to take
place without the need to turn off the unit.

Inspecting cold water basin strainer

Hot water basin strainer cleaning

Water Distribution
The water distribution system should evenly distribute water over the fill section or coil section via either a
gravity distribution system or a pressurized spray system. If the water distribution is found to be uneven, the
nozzles need to be checked. Clogged nozzles should be cleaned in accordance with the manufacturers

Pressurized spray water distribution

Baltimore Aircoil Company

In a gravity distribution system, the nozzles can be externally accessed, visually inspected and cleaned by
removing the hot water basin covers on the fan deck. Most pressurized spray distribution systems use
nozzles and branches held in place by snap-in rubber grommets, which allow easy removal to clean and
flush debris.

Cold Water Basin

Since some debris will eventually make its way into the cooling tower, the unit design should facilitate debris
removal. A well-designed cold water basin is sloped toward the strainer to keep dirt (which can accelerate
corrosion) from accumulating throughout the cold water basin. The basin should be kept clean by
occasionally flushing the dirt out of the system through the tower drain. Another way to accomplish this is to
install basin sweeper piping in conjunction with water filtration or separator devices. Water filtration saves
maintenance costs by reducing the dirt in the cooling water system, which in turn reduces the time required to
clean the cold water basins. It also reduces water treatment cost, as water treatment chemicals tend to work
more effectively in clean water. Foreign particles in dirty water can absorb treatment chemicals, thus
requiring the distribution of even more chemicals to properly treat the tower water.

Cold water basin with sweeper piping

Basin sweeper piping

Though most of the water in the system is recirculated, some water must be added to replace what is lost by
evaporation and bleed. Bleed is the defined as the water that is discharged to prevent the accumulation of
solids in the recirculated water. The make-up water system provides the means to replace the water via a
mechanical float ball and valve assembly or an electronic water level probe assembly (with solenoid valve),
which measures water depth in the cold water basin. The make-up water supply pressure should typically be
maintained between 15 psig and 50 psig to ensure proper valve shut-off and avoid chatter. If the supply
pressure is higher than 50 psig, install a pressure reducing valve.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Hot water basin with gravity water distribution

Evaporative Cooling Equipment


Mechanical water level control

The operating water level of the cooling tower will vary with system thermal load (evaporation rate), the
bleed rate employed, and the make-up water supply pressure. Some tower designs offer access to the
make-up assembly external to the cooling tower, which allows easy basin water depth inspection and
adjustment without the need to turn off the unit. The tower water level should be set in accordance with the
BACs recommendations to ensure no air enters the pump suction, but not so high that water is wasted
through the overflow when the tower is shut down.

Electronic water level control

To prevent the accumulation of solids in the recirculating water, the tower should be equipped with a bleed
line (including a metering connection and globe valve) connected to a nearby drain. In a closed circuit
cooling tower or evaporative condenser with a circulating pump, a metering valve to control the bleed rate
should be provided at the pump discharge. While a manually adjusted bleed valve is the simplest system,
getting the proper bleed rate can be a problem, as cooling tower loads vary throughout the day. A
conductivity meter connected to a solenoid valve solves this problem by maintaining the proper cycles of
concentration at all times. Also, it is recommended that a separate meter is installed to measure bleed
volume, since less water is discharged to drain than supplied to the cooling tower. This can reduce sewer
water charges.
The bleed rate should be adjusted to prevent an excessive build-up of impurities in the re-circulating water.
This is largely dependent upon the local water quality and the evaporation rate. Constant bleed and
replacement with fresh water will prevent the accumulation of impurities. To obtain specific
recommendations, contact a competent water treatment professional for your area.

Baltimore Aircoil Company


Mechanical Drive System

The mechanical fan drive system has several
components, which should be checked
regularly. Many of these components
operate at high speed. Follow proper
lock-out/tag-out procedures, including locking
out all motor disconnect switches before
working on the mechanical system.

Mechanical belt drive system

Gear drives provide reliable operation, when properly maintained. If a problem occurs, resolution may be
more involved if a gear box rebuild or replacement is required. Some manufacturers offer both systems to
meet user needs or preferences. To ensure proper operation of a belt drive system, tighten drive belts to
manufacturers specifications. In gear drive systems, the oil level and quality, as well as shaft alignment
should be checked regularly in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.
When starting up a new unit, lubrication for the fan shaft bearings is typically not necessary, since most units
leave the factory already greased. However, for seasonal start-up, purge the fan shaft bearings with new
grease (per manufacturers recommendations). Fan shaft bearings should be lubricated after every 2,000
hours of operation or every three months (whichever occurs sooner). Motor bearings should be lubricated as
recommended by the manufacturers instructions. For maximum life, it is best to install motors with a cooling
tower duty rating.

The Importance of Clean Operation

Cooling tower components must be kept clean and free of obstructions. Neglecting the cooling tower will lead
to higher than desired return water temperatures to the system, which will result in higher energy usage from
two perspectives. First, the system (chiller) will consume more energy because it must operate at a higher
than necessary condensing pressure (head) to satisfy the load. Due to the higher fluid temperatures provided
by the cooling tower. As little as 2F higher temperature can result in 6% more energy being consumed by
the chiller. Second, the tower must operate longer at higher fan horsepower while trying to attain the design
cold water temperature.

Common Problems: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

Regardless of how often routine maintenance is performed, like any other mechanical component, problems
with cooling towers may sometimes materialize unexpectedly. These include elevated leaving water
temperatures, drift, and corrosion. Should any of these problems occur, follow the actions listed and contact
the cooling tower manufacturers representative or water treatment supplier for assistance.
Check Cooling Load: If the actual cooling load exceeds the design load for which the tower was selected
the leaving water temperature will exceed the design specification.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Cooling tower fans are typically driven by belt

or gear drive systems. Both require routine
maintenance to ensure reliable, trouble-free
performance. Belt drive systems are
popular, yet reliable, offer single point
adjustment, and have no limit on turndown
capabilities for variable speed applications.
If a problem does occur,a simple change of
the belt is usually all that is required,
and replacement components are readily available.

Evaporative Cooling Equipment


Check Water Flow & Distribution: Visually

inspect the water distribution system to ensure
the spray distribution nozzles are clean and
correctly installed and are distributing a
uniform spray pattern over the fill. In
counterflow towers, measure the pressure at
the cooling tower inlet connection and compare
it to the design pressure provided by BAC.
For towers with a gravity distribution system,
the operating level in the hot water basin
(typically between 2 and 5 inches) can be
correlated to a specific flow rate.

Inspecting spray distribution nozzles

Check Air Flow: Cooling towers should be located where an unimpeded supply of fresh air is available to
the air inlets. The cooling tower air discharge should also be at least as high as any surrounding walls to
reduce the possibility of hot, moist discharge air being recirculated into the air inlets, creating artificially
elevated entering wet-bulb and leaving water temperatures. To insure full design air flow, the cooling tower
drive system must be adjusted according to the BACs Operating and Maintenance Manual.

Incorrect orientation of tower

and neighboring walls

Proper orientation of tower

and neighboring walls

The cooling tower and surrounding area should be examined for air flow restrictions which may cause
blockage of the air inlets. Check for clogging or improper distribution of water across the tower fill and
check for proper operation of capacity control dampers in centrifugal fan towers to ensure proper air flow.
The dampers, airfoil blades located in the discharge of the fan housing, help achieve tight temperature
control and energy savings by matching cooling tower airflow to actual load requirements.
Though you may encounter dampers in older existing units, todays towers tend to take advantage of
variable frequency drive technology (VFDs) to control capacity. VFDs help save energy, do a better job of
following the load, and help reduce wear and tear on the drive system.

Baltimore Aircoil Company

Check Ambient Conditions: Cooling towers are selected to produce the required leaving water temperature
at the design cooling load and entering wet-bulb temperature. Whenever the actual entering wet-bulb
temperature is higher than design conditions, the leaving water temperature will also be higher. The result
is decreased energy efficiency.
Drift occurs as air flows through the cooling tower and carries water droplets out of the tower. Drift eliminators
are installed in the discharge stream to remove water droplets from the air. In a properly maintained system,
efficient eliminators will reduce drift loss to a negligible percentage of the design flow rate.

Inspecting coil

Inspecting drift eliminator

Corrosion is always a concern with cooling towers because of their ability to wash the air of impurities. These
impurities cause scale, corrosion, and eventually damage to system components after long-term exposure.
If a constant bleed of the system is ineffective to combat scale or corrosion, chemical treatment may be
necessary. A successful chemical or water treatment program should satisfy the specific guidelines set by the
manufacturer, provide effective microbiological control, and be compatible with the systems materials of
construction as an integral part of the total water treatment program.
Potential airborne impurities and biological contamination (such as Legionella) should be controlled through
the use of biocides, and such treatment should be initiated at system start-up and continued regularly.
ASHRAE has taken proactive steps to understand and deal with Legionella through its popular publication,
ASHRAE Guideline 12 2000, entitled Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water
Systems. Contact ASHRAE to secure a copy of this important document. To obtain specific
recommendations of water treatment programs, contact a competent water treatment supplier.

Performance Improvements
Older, structurally sound cooling towers can be retrofitted with upgrade kits to:
conserve energy
restore or improve performance
facilitate maintenance
To conserve energy, two-speed motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs) or the ENERGY MISER Fan
System can be added to the mechanical drive system. VFDs offer a wide range of speeds to closely parallel
operating requirements, and pony motors provide the added benefit of redundancy in the event of a motor
failure. A popular energy conservation approach employs a pony motor system with a VFD controlling the
lower horsepower motor.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

If excess drift occurs, check drift eliminators for proper installation, spacing, and overall condition. Examine
the fill for even spacing, to insure there is no clogging or blockage, and check water and air flow as described
above. Repair or replace eliminators as necessary.

Evaporative Cooling Equipment



To improve performance on water distribution systems, kits are available to replace older, smaller nozzles or
troughs with large-orifice, clog-free design. Retrofit fill kits now exist that easily replace the original fill that
may be clogged with scale or airborne debris. Access platforms can also be added to existing
cooling towers to facilitate maintenance.

Access platforms and ladder

Installing retrofit kit

Paying regular attention to the forgotten system component, the cooling tower, through a regular,
comprehensive maintenance program can save time, money and energy while increasing the towers life
expectancy. A well-maintained tower is a candidate for retrofit kits designed to enhance performance and
lengthen its life. Owners and operators save money through preventative maintenance technology. If you
are not regularly performing routine maintenance on your cooling tower, implement a comprehensive
maintenance program today.
For more information on how to get started, contact your local BAC Representative.

Baltimore Aircoil Company


Series 3000, Series 1500 and FXT

Crossflow Cooling Towers

Included in this manual are the recommended maintenance services for start-up, operation, and shutdown
and the approximate frequency for each. Note that the recommendations on frequency of service are
minimums and where operating conditions are severe, the services should be performed more often. For
each required service, follow the procedures outlined under the "Maintenance Procedures" section of this
manual. The cooling towers are illustrated in each appropriate section with the major points of inspection
and service identified.
If you need additional information about the operation or maintenance of this equipment that is not covered
in this manual, contact your local BAC Representative. Their name and telephone number are on a label
located adjacent to the access door. The model and serial number of the unit are also located in this area.
You can also visit our web site at www.BaltimoreAircoil.com or contact us at 800-896-8097.

Model Number: _______________________

Serial Number: _________________________

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Baltimore Aircoil Company Crossflow Cooling Towers have been designed to give long, trouble-free service
when properly installed, operated, and maintained. To obtain optimum performance and maximum service
life, it is important that a program of regular inspection and maintenance be developed and carried out. This
manual is published as a guide to establishing such a program


Table of Contents.........................................................................................Page

Crossflow Cooling Towers

General Maintenance Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N11

Safety Precautions & Warnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N12
Construction Details . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N13-N15
Recommended Maintenance Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N16
Operation and Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N17
Initial and Seasonal Start-Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N17
Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N18
Seasonal Shut-down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N18
General Maintenance Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N18
Hot Water Basins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N18
Cold Water Basins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N19
Make-Up Valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N20
Fan Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N21
Fan Shaft Bearings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N21
Motor Bases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N22
BALTIDRIVE Power Train Drive System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N23
Fan Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N25
Gear Drive Series 3000 only . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N25
Corrosion Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N28
Winter Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N29
Water Treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N30
Biological Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N32

General Maintenance Information

The services required to maintain a cooling tower are primarily a function of the quality of the air and water in
the locality of the installation:

The most harmful atmospheric conditions are those with unusual quantities of industrial smoke, chemical
fumes, salt or heavy dust. Such airborne impurities are carried into the cooling tower and absorbed by the
recirculating water to form a corrosive solution.

The most harmful conditions develop as water evaporates from the cooling tower, leaving behind the
dissolved solids originally contained in the make-up water. These dissolved solids may be either alkaline or
acidic and, as they are concentrated in the circulating water, can produce scaling or accelerated corrosion.
The extent of impurities in the air and water determines the frequency of most maintenance services and also
governs the extent of water treatment which can vary from a simple continuous bleed and biological control to
a sophisticated treatment system. (See sections on "Water Treatment and Biological Control.")

Baltimore Aircoil Company


Safety Precautions
WARNING: Before performing any maintenance or inspection, or performing service on or near fans,
drives, motors or inside the unit, make certain that all power has been disconnected and locked in the
off position.
WARNING: The top horizontal surface of the unit is not intended for use as a walking surface or
working platform. If access to the top of the unit is desired, the purchaser/end-user is cautioned to use
appropriate means complying with applicable safety standards of governmental authorities.

WARNING: The recirculating water system may contain chemicals or biological contaminants, including
Legionella, which could be harmful if inhaled or ingested. Personnel exposed directly to the discharge
airstream and the associated drift mists, generated during operation of the water distribution system
and/or fans, or mists produced by high pressure water jets or compressed air (if used to clean
components of the recirculating water system), must wear respiratory protection equipment approved
for such use by governmental occupational safety and health authorities.

Safety Precautions
Only qualified personnel may operate, maintain, and repair this equipment. All such personnel must be
thoroughly familiar with the equipment, the associated system and controls, and procedures in this manual.
Use proper care, procedure, and tools when handling, lifting, installing, operating, maintaining, and repairing
this equipment to prevent personal injury and/or property damage.

CAUTION: Storage
BAC units are typically installed immediately after shipment, and many operate year round. However, if the
unit is to be stored for a prolonged period of time either before or after installation, certain precautions
should be observed. For instance, covering the unit with a clear plastic tarpaulin during storage can trap
heat inside the unit, potentially causing damage to the fill and other plastic components. If units must be
covered during storage, an opaque, reflective tarp should be used. Consult with your local BAC
Representative for additional recommendations on long-term storage. For normal seasonal shutdowns, refer
to the applicable section in this manual.

CAUTION: All electrical, mechanical, and rotating machinery are potential hazards, particularly for those
not familiar with there design, construction and operation. Accordingly, use appropriate lockout procedures
and adequate safeguards (including the use of protective enclosures where necessary) should be taken with
this equipment both to safeguard the public from injury and to prevent damage to the equipment, its
associated system, and the premises.
CAUTION: This equipment should never be operated without all fan screens, access panels, and
access doors in place. For the protection of authorized service and maintenance personnel, install a
lockable disconnect switch located within sight of the unit on each fan and pump motor associated with this
Freeze Protection: Mechanical and operational methods must be employed to protect these products
against damage and/or reduced effectiveness due to possible freeze-up. Please refer to the product catalog
or contact the local BAC Representative for recommended protection alternatives.

Warranties: Please refer to the Limitation of Warranties applicable to and in effect at the time of the
sale/purchase of these products. Described in this manual are the recommended services for start-up,
operation, and shut down and the approximate frequency for each of BACs Crossflow Cooling Towers.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

WARNING: When the fan speed of the unit is to be changed from the factory set speed, including
changes achieved by the use of a variable fan speed device, steps must be taken to avoid operation at
or near the fans critical speed which could result in fan failure and possible personal injury or
damage. Consult with your local BAC Representative on any such applications.


Crossflow Cooling Towers

Series 3000 Construction details:

Figure 1a
Fan System

Fan Guard

Fan Deck
Top Water


Hot Water
Basin & Cover

Air Inlet

Make-up Valve
Adjustable Float
Cold Water

Water Outlet

BACross Fill
with Integral Drift

Figure 1b

Baltimore Aircoil Company


Series 1500 Construction Details:

Hot Water Basin

and Cover

Fan and Fan Guard

Water Inlet with


Air Inlet Louvers

BACross Fill
with Integral Drift

Cold Water Basin

Figure 2b

Make-up Valve
Adjustable Float and
Suction Strainer

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Figure 2a


Crossflow Cooling Towers

FXT Construction Details:

Figure 3a
Plastic Metering

Hot Water
Distribution Basin
Hot Water Inlet

BACross Fill Integral

Drift Eliminators


Access Door
Air Inlet
Fan Shaft
And Bearings

Water Make-Up
Valve Assembly

Axial Fan

Figure 3b

Baltimore Aircoil Company

Water Outlet


Table 1. Recommended Maintenance Services for Crossflow Cooling Towers (1)

Type Service
Inspect general condition of the tower
unit for unusual noise of vibration


and check






Inspect and clean as necessary:


Air inlet louvers

Check and adjust water level in basins

Check operation of make-up valve

Check and adjust bleed rate

Optional BALANCE CLEAN Chamber Inlet Strainer

(Series 3000)

Check Belt Condition


Lubricate Fan Shaft Bearings

Lubricate Motor Base Adjusting Screw


Mechanical equipment system:

Adjust Belt Tension

Check and Lubricate Optional Gear Drive

See gear drive section for detailed instructions and schedule

Check Drive Alignment

Check General Condition of the Fan

Check & Unplug Fan Drain Holes (Hollow Blade Fans)


Check Fan for Uniform Pitch

Check Fan for Rotation without Obstruction

Check Fan Motor for Proper Rotation

Check Motor Voltage and Current

Clean Fan Motor Exterior

Drain Basins and Piping

Inspect Tower Finish


WARNING: Before performing any maintenance or inspection, make certain that

all power has been disconnected and locked in the off position.
1. Recommended service intervals are for typical installations. Different environmental
conditions may dictate more frequent servicing.
2. When operating in ambient temperatures below freezing, the cooling tower should be
inspected more frequently (see Winter Operation).
3. Tension on new belts must be readjusted after the first 24 hours of operation and
quarterly thereafter.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Cold and hot water basins/spray nozzles


Operation and Maintenance

Initial and Seasonal Start-up:

Crossflow Cooling Towers

Prior to initial start-up or after a shut-down period, the cooling tower must be thoroughly inspected and
1. Clean all debris, such as leaves and dirt, from inside the tower, the air inlets and the hot water basins.
2. Remove, clean and install the inlet pre-strainer on Series 1500, and the inlet strainer on Series 3000
Cooling Towers provided with the optional BALANCE CLEAN Chamber.
3. Drain the cold water basin (with basin strainers in place) and flush to remove accumulated dirt.
4. Remove the suction strainer, clean and reinstall.
5. Turn the fan(s) by hand to insure rotation without obstruction.
6. Bump the fan motor(s) and check for proper fan rotation.
7. At seasonal start-up, check and adjust the belt tension on the fan drive system. Note, during initial
start-up, the belt tension may not require adjustment since the drive has been properly tensioned at the
factory prior to shipment.
8. Check float operated make-up valve to be sure it is operating freely.
9. Lubricate the fan shaft bearings prior to seasonal start-up.
10. At start-up, when the cold water basin is completely drained, fill the cold water basin with fresh water to
the overflow level. For new installations, initiate the biocide water treatment program at this time (See
section on "Biological Control"). At seasonal start-up, and following a shutdown period of more than 3
days, resume the biocide treatment program or administer a shock treatment of appropriate biocides prior
to operating the cooling tower fans to eliminate accumulated biological contaminants (See section on
"Biological Control").
11. Set the float on the make-up valve to close the valve when the float is approximately 1/2" below the
overflow level.
12. Balance flow to the hot water basin(s) by adjusting the flow balancing valves (provided by others or
optionally supplied by BAC) on Series 3000, Series 1500 and FXT Cooling Towers. This is not required
on Series 3000 Cooling Towers equipped with the optional EASY CONNECT Piping Arrangement with
the BALANCE CLEAN Chamber. However, multi-cell arrangements will require flow balancing between
cells to obtain even water distribution.
13. Open the valve in the tower bleed line and adjust bleed.
14. Check the voltage and current of all three legs of the fan motor. The current should not exceed the
nameplate rating. Note: Current should be measured during warm ambient conditions and with a heat
load on the tower. After prolonged shutdowns, the motor insulation should be checked with an insulation
tester prior to restarting the motor.
WARNING: No service work should be performed on or near the fans, motors, and drives or inside the
unit without first ensuring the fan and pump motors have been disconnected and locked out.
CAUTION: Rapid on-off cycling can cause the fan motor to overheat. It is recommended that the controls be
set to allow a maximum of 6 on-off cycles per hour. When using a 2-speed motor, the starter should include a
15-second time delay when switching from high speed to low speed.
Inverter duty fan motors, furnished in accordance with NEMA Standard MG.1 Part 31, are required for
applications using variable frequency drives for fan motor control.
AFTER 24 HOURS: After 24 hours of operation under thermal load, the following services should be
1. Check the tower for any unusual noise or vibration.
2. Check the operating water level in the hot and cold water basins and adjust balancing valves.

3. Adjust make-up valve.

4. Readjust the belt tension.

Baltimore Aircoil Company


During operation, the tower should be inspected, cleaned, and lubricated on a regular basis. The required
services and the minimum recommended frequency for each are summarized in Table 1 on page N16 of this

Seasonal Shutdown:
1. Drain the cold water basin and all piping that will be exposed to freezing temperatures.
2. Clean and flush the hot and cold water basins with the basin strainers in place. Leave the cold water
basin drain open so rain and melting snow will drain from the tower. For Series 3000 Cooling Towers with
the optional BALANCE CLEAN Chamber, clean and flush the inlet strainer.
3. Clean the basin strainers and reinstall.
4. Cover the fan discharge opening to keep out dirt and debris on Series 3000 and Series 1500 Cooling
5. Lubricate the fan shaft bearings and motor base adjusting screw.
6. Close the shut-off valve in the make-up water line (supplied by others) and drain all exposed make-up
water piping.
7. Inspect the integrity of the corrosion protection system on the steel portion of the tower. (See section on
"Corrosion Protection").
8. On Series 1500 Cooling Towers, inspect the anti-skid tape on the internal walkway and replace as
necessary if deterioration or lifting is observed.
9. Secure the fan motor starting device in the off position. If inspection or repair requires service personnel
to work around either the fan or drives during shutdown, a personal safety hazard exists if this precaution
is not taken.
WARNING: No service work should be performed on or near the fans, motors, and drives or inside
the unit without first ensuring the fan and pump motors have been disconnected and locked out.

General Maintenance Procedures

Hot Water Basin
The system water enters the cooling tower through the hot water basin(s) Figure 4a. At design flow, the
operating level should not be less than two (2) inches or greater than five (5) inches deep. Quarterly, or
more often as required, remove any dirt or debris which may clog the nozzles. Seasonally clean and flush
the hot water basin with fresh water.

Hot Water Basin and Integral Pre-Strainer (Series 1500):

The hot water basin, the integral pre-strainer and the nozzles must be kept clean Figure 4b. The Series
1500 water inlet is furnished with a removable pre-strainer at the inlet to prevent debris from entering the hot
water basin. This strainer should be periodically cleaned as shown in the Recommended Maintenance
Schedule. This is accomplished by removing the access panel on top of the unit and then removing the
strainer basket.

Figure 4a - Series 3000 hot water basin

Figure 4b - Series 1500 hot water basin

and pre-strainer

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

The following services should be performed whenever the cooling tower is to be shutdown for more than
3 days:


Optional BALANCE CLEAN Chamber (Series 3000):

Crossflow Cooling Towers

The water to be cooled enters the tower through a single connection and passes through the BALANCE
CLEAN Chamber. This device is equipped with an internal strainer. The bottom of the BALANCE CLEAN
Chamber is a capped cleanout connection. This can be used to periodically purge the BALANCE CLEAN
Chamber of dirt and debris as indicated in the Recommended Maintenance Schedule. This is accomplished
by un-bolting and temporarily removing the chamber bottom plate and inspecting the strainer for dirt and
debris, see Figure 5.

Figure 5 Strainer for optional


Cold Water Basin and Suction Strainer:

As the water circulating though the tower is cooled, it collects in the cold water basin and passes through the
suction strainer into the system. The operating water level is controlled by the make-up valve and should be
maintained at the operating water level shown in Table 2.
The operating water level in the cold water basin will vary with system thermal load (evaporation rate), the
bleed rate employed, and the make-up water supply pressure. Because the typical winter load is less than
the summer load, the winter evaporation rate is frequently less than the summer evaporation rate. With this
reduced evaporation rate in winter, the water level in the cold water basin will increase unless the float is
re-adjusted. The operating water level should be checked monthly and the float re-adjusted as necessary to
maintain the recommended operating level.
The water level in the cold water basin of units designed for remote sump operation is a function of the
circulating water flow rate, along with quantity, location, size and configuration of the water outlet piping.
Units designed for remote sump applications are not supplied with a water make-up assembly and the basin
operating level is not adjustable during operation.
The cold water basin should be inspected regularly. Any trash or debris which may have accumulated in the
basin or on the strainers should be removed and, if necessary, the float adjusted to maintain the design
operating level. (See Table 2, "Cold Water Basin Operating Levels").

Table 2: Cold Water Basin Operating Levels

Series 3000
Model Number
3420A - 3501A
3552A - 31301A

Height of Water in
the Cold Water
Basin (in.)
8 3/4
9 3/4

Series 1500
Model Number

Height of Water in
the Cold Water
Basin (in.)

All Models

Model Number
6 - 11
16 - 33
38 - 536

Height of Water in
the Cold Water
Basin (in.)
4 1/2

The entire cold water basin should be drained, cleaned, and flushed quarterly, or more often if necessary,
with fresh water to remove the silt and sediment which normally collects in the basin.

Baltimore Aircoil Company

It is important to note that the same maintenance applies to galvanized steel basins, basins protected by the
BALTIBOND Corrosion Protection System, and stainless steel basins. If not removed periodically, sediment
can become corrosive and cause deterioration of the protective finish of metallic basins. When flushing the
basin, the strainers should be left in place to prevent the sediment from re-entering the tower system. After
the basin has been flushed, the strainers should be removed, cleaned, and replaced before refilling the
basin with fresh water.

Make-Up Valve:
A float-operated mechanical water make-up assembly is furnished as standard equipment on the cooling
tower (unless the unit has been ordered with the optional electric water level control package or is equipped
for remote sump application). The mechanical make-up assembly is located within easy reach from the
access door at the connection end of the unit on FXT and Series 3000 Cooling Tower. The mechanical
make-up valve is easily accessible from the louver face of the Series 1500 Cooling Tower. The standard
make-up assembly consists of a bronze make-up valve connected to a float arm assembly and is actuated
by a large diameter polystyrene-filled plastic float. The float is mounted on an all-thread rod held in place by
wing nuts. The operating water level in the cold water basin can be adjusted by repositioning the float and
all-thread rod using the wing nuts provided.
The make-up assembly should be inspected monthly and adjusted as necessary. The valve itself should be
inspected annually for leakage and the valve seat replaced if necessary. The make-up water supply
pressure should be maintained between 15 and 50 psig for proper operation of the valve.

Series 3000, Series 1500 & FXT

mechanical make-up valve

To set the initial basin water level, adjust the wing nuts so that the make-up valve is completely closed when
the water level in the cold water basin is 1/2" below the overflow connection. Under design thermal load and
with average water pressure (15 to 50 psig) at the valve, this setting should produce the operating water
levels stated in Table 2.
Note that if the thermal load is less than the design load at the time of unit start-up, the procedure may
produce operating levels greater than these shown in table 2. It may be necessary to re-adjust the float in
order to attain the recommended operating level. The unit cold water basin should be closely monitored and
water level adjusted as necessary during the first 24 hours of operation.
As an option, an electric water level control package is available in lieu of the mechanical make-up
assembly. The package consists of a probe-type liquid level control assembly and a slow-closing solenoid
valve. Stainless steel electrodes, factory-set at predetermined lengths, extend from an electrode holder into
the cold water basin. These electrodes should be periodically cleaned to prevent accumulations of scale,
corrosion, sludge or biological growth which could interfere with the electrical circuit.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

WARNING: Openings and/or submerged obstructions may exist in the bottom of the cold water basin.
Use caution when walking inside this equipment.


Crossflow Cooling Towers

With the electric water level control package, the water level is maintained at the recommended operating
level regardless of the system thermal load. Therefore, it is not necessary, nor is it recommended, that the
operating level be adjusted. During the start-up of units equipped with the electric water level control package,
the control unit should be bypassed in order to fill the unit 1/2" below the overflow connection.
Operation at the recommended water level will ensure that the unit basin contains sufficient water volume to
prevent air entrainment in the circulating pump during system start-up and to provide sufficient excess basin
capacity to accept the total system pull-down volume. ("Pull-down volume" is defined as that quantity of water
suspended in the tower during operation plus that contained in the hot water basin, fill, external piping, and
any heat exchangers which could drain to the tower cold water basin when the circulating pump is shut down.)

Fan Motors:
The standard fan motors used on BAC Cooling Towers are Cooling Tower Duty Motors, either a TEAO (Totally
Enclosed, Air Over), or a TEFC (Totally Enclosed, Fan Cooled) configuration, with permanently lubricated ball
bearings and special moisture protection on the bearings, shaft, and windings. The only servicing required
during operation is to clean the outside surface of the motor at least quarterly to ensure proper motor cooling.
Additionally, after prolonged shutdowns, the motor insulation should be checked with an insulation tester prior
to restarting the motor.
Series 1500 & Series 3000: The fan motor(s) is totally enclosed, air-over (TEAO), single-speed, single-winding, reversible "squirrel cage", ball bearing type, designed specifically for evaporative heat rejection service.
Series 3000 (Option): The fan motor(s) is totally enclosed, fan-cooled (TEFC) ball bearing type,
single-speed, single-winding, and suitable for outdoor service. A TEFC motor(s) is standard when the cooling
tower is provided with gear drive and externally mounted motor(s).
FXT: The fan motor(s) is totally enclosed, fan-cooled (TEFC), single-speed, single-winding, suitable for
outdoor service.
WARNING: When the fan speed of the cooling tower is changed from the factory-set speed, including
changes achieved by the use of a variable fan speed control device, steps must be taken to avoid
operating at or near the fans "critical speed", which could result in fan failure and possible injury or
damage. On most fan drive systems, it is not uncommon for one or more resonant speeds to exist.
Consult with your local BAC Representative on any such applications.

Fan Shaft Bearings:

The fan shaft is supported by two pillow block ball bearings, each equipped with a lubrication fitting and a
slinger/locking collar to keep out moisture. The bearings should be lubricated as follows:
Initial Start-Up: Normally, no lubrication is required since the bearings have been lubricated at the factory
prior to shipment. However, if the cooling tower has been stored at the job site for more than one year,
bearings should be lubricated with new grease before initial operation. When lubricating, purge the old grease
from the bearing by gradually adding grease until a bead of new grease appears at the seal on the underside
of the bearing.
Seasonal Start-Up: Purge both bearings with new grease prior to start-up.
Operation: Lubricate bearings every 2,000 hours of operation or once every three months, whichever
occurs first.
Seasonal Shutdown: Purge bearings with new grease prior to any prolonged storage or downtime.
CAUTION: The fan shaft bearing should be lubricated only with a hand grease gun. Do not use high pressure
grease guns since they may rupture the bearing seals. Lubricate the bearings with only one of the following
water resistant greases which are suitable for ambient temperatures ranging from 65F (-53.9C) to +250F
(121.1C) .

Baltimore Aircoil Company

Amoco - Rycon Premium #3
Mobil - Mobil #28
Shell - Alvania 3
Texaco - Regal AFB 2

Chevron - SRI
Mobil - SHC 32
Shell - Dolium "R"

Locking Collars (FXT Cooling Towers)

Each eccentric locking collar should be checked every six months to ensure that the inner bearing race is
secured to the fan shaft. The locking collar can be set using the following procedure. (See Figures 6 & 7).

Figure 6

Figure 7

FXT Bearing with locking collar

Adjustable Motor Base:

The motor base slides and adjusting screws (see Figures 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13) should be coated twice
a year using a good quality grease such as those recommended for lubricating the fan shaft bearings.

Figure 8- Adjustable Motor Base

FXT Models 26-68.

Figure 9- Adjustable Motor Base

FXT Models 74-142 and 230-284.

Figure 10- Adjustable Motor Base

FXT Models 160-268 and 320-536.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

1. Loosen the set screw.

2. Using a drift pin or centerpunch, tap the collar (in the hole provided) tangentially in the direction
of rotation while holding the shaft.
3. Retighten the set screw.


Fan Belt Adjustment (3000, 1500 and FXT):

Models FXT-26 thru FXT-536 use V-belts, Series 1500 and Series 3000 use powerbands. Belt tension should
be checked and adjusted at least quarterly, or as needed. To properly adjust the belt tension, position the fan
motor so that the belt will deflect 1/2 when moderate pressure (approximately 15 lbs.) is applied midway
between the sheaves.

Crossflow Cooling Towers

NOTE: There should be no "chirp" or "squeal" when the fan motor is started.
The position of the fan motor can easily be changed by adjusting the rod which extends from the frame to the
motor base. Loosen the locknut on top of the frame and rotate the nut under the frame with a wrench as
necessary. Then retighten the locknut (see Fig. 12 and 13).
NOTE: Direct drive units (FXT-6 thru FXT-20) do not employ fan shaft bearings, adjustable motor bases, fan
drives or belts. The fans are driven directly by the motor and there is never a need for any adjustment.

Figure 11 Series 1500

adjustable motor base

Figure 12 Series 3000

adjustable motor base

Figure 13 FXT
fan belt adjustment

BALTIDRIVE Power Train (SERIES 1500 and SERIES 3000):

The BALTIDRIVE Power Train consists of a specially designed belt, with corrosion-resistant fan motor
sheaves (see Figures 11 and 12). The solid-backed, multi-groove, neoprene/polyester belt provides the
premium quality necessary for cooling tower service. The corrosion-resistant sheaves extend the life of the
belt by minimizing any possibility of rust or corrosion. These components provide a highly reliable system with
low maintenance requirements. The only service required on the BALTIDRIVE Power Train is to periodically
check the condition of the belt and, when necessary, adjust the tension. The recommended service intervals
are specified below:
Initial Start-Up:
No servicing is required prior to initial tower start-up since the drive has been tensioned and aligned at the
Seasonal Start-Up:
Re-adjust the tension on the belt.
After the initial tower start-up or the installation of a new belt, the tension must be readjusted after the first 24
hours of operation. Thereafter, the condition of the belt should be checked monthly and the tension adjusted
as necessary, but at least once every three months.

Baltimore Aircoil Company

To check the belt tension, place a straight edge along the belt from sheave to sheave as shown in Figure
15a or use a tape measure as shown in Figure 15b to measure belt deflection. Apply a moderate force by
hand (approximately 40 lbs) evenly across the width of the belt in the center of the span between the
sheaves. If the belt deflects between 1/4" and 3/8" as shown in Figures 15a and 15b, the belt is adequately
If belt tensioning is required, proceed as follows:

NOTE: There should be no "chirp" or "squeal" when the fan motor is started.

Figure 15a

Figure 15b
Belt Tension

The drive alignment should be checked annually to ensure maximum belt life. This can be done by placing a
straight edge across the driver and driven sheaves as shown in Figure 16a for standard drives and in Figure
16b for ENERGY-MISER Fan System drives. When the drives are properly aligned, the straight edge will
contact all four points as indicated. There should be no more than 1/16" deviation from four points of
contact. If realignment is necessary, loosen the motor sheave and align it with the fan sheave. Allow
approximately 1/4" for draw-up as the bushing screw is retightened.

Figure 16a Standard Drive Alignment

Figure 16b ENERGY-MISER Fan System

Drive Alignment

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

1. Loosen the lock nut on the motor base adjusting screw.

2. Turn the motor base adjusting screw clockwise to tension the belt, or counterclockwise to relieve belt
tension. During adjustment of belt tension, the drives should be rotated several times by hand to
evenly distribute the tension throughout the belt.
3. When the belt is properly tensioned, retighten the locking nut on the motor base adjusting screw.


Crossflow Cooling Towers

Fan Assembly:
1. If the unit is already in operation, check while the fan is running for any unusual noise or vibration.
2. With the fan off and the motor locked out and tagged, check the general condition of the fan:
a. Inspect for any loose or missing bolts in the fan shaft bushing, the fan hub and the fan shaft
b. Check the fan blades for looseness, first by twisting the blade by hand and then by moving the
blade tip up and down.There should be no play or slippage whatsoever.
c. Inspect along each blade for excessive scale build-up that could cause vibration
d. Check each blade, in the area of the shank, for any signs of cracking. If cracking is
found, the fan should be locked out immediately. Contact you local BAC Representative for
3. Tip Clearance Check the clearance between the tip of the blade and the fan cowl. This should be
between 3/8 and 1-1/8.
4. Drain Holes On hollow blades, the drain hole in the blade tip should be unobstructed. (Hint: Use a
piece of wire to probe the hole).
5. Blade Pitch Check to ensure that the blades are all at the same pitch. If uncertain, measure the pitch
with an inclinometer. All blades should be within +/- 1/2.
6. Rotation Turn the fan by hand to ensure that it moves freely with no rough spots, binding or other
malfunctions that could cause vibration or fan motor overload. While rotating the fan, check the blade
tracking. All blades should track within a 1" band at any single point around the cowl.
7. Direction of Rotation On initial start up, or if the fan motor has been rewired for some reason, bump
the fan motor and note the direction of rotation. It should rotate in the direction indicated by the arrow
on the fan cowl.
8. Operation On initial start up, run the fan in the manual position for several minutes and check for any
unusual noises or vibration.

Gear Drive System (Series 3000):

Inspection: All gear drives are shipped with oil installed. The initial oil level should be at or near the middle of
the oil level sight gage, and should be maintained so that the oil level is always visible in the sight gage
window when the unit is idle or not energized and the oil is at ambient temperature. See Figure 17 for
locations of the gear drive fittings. Prior to start-up, check all fittings on the gear drive to ensure that there are
no visible leaks. The standard oil provided in BAC gear drive systems is mineral oil. Synthetic lubricants are
also available as an option. Refer to the unit nameplate for the oil type provided with the gear drive system.

Name Plate

Breather Plug

Oil Sight Glass

Drain Plug

Figure 17 Single reduction gear drive

Gear drive units with internally mounted motors are properly installed and aligned at the factory. All fasteners
are factory tightened, but should be checked after installation. For units supplied with externally mounted
motors, install and align the motor and driveshaft in accordance with the customer assembly instructions
included with the unit. It is recommended that alignment and all external fasteners be rechecked after two
weeks of operation.

Baltimore Aircoil Company

Operation: No special break-in procedures, other than rechecking alignment and external fasteners, are
necessary except as noted under the Lubrication section.
Excessive noise or vibration at initial operation is an indication of one or more of the following:

Imbalance of the fan or other rotating parts
Improperly adjusted fan blades
Operation at mechanical equipment resonant speed

On installations with two speed motors, when slowing from high speed, allow a minimum 15 second time
delay for the fan to slow down before energizing the low-speed winding.
CAUTION: When reversing the direction of rotation, allow the fan to come to a complete stop before restarting the motor.
Variable Frequency Drive Operation:
CAUTION: On installations with variable speed motors, do not operate standard gear drives below 450 RPM
motor speed (gear input speed). Modifications to the lubrication system or special gear oil pumps are
required for operation at input speeds lower that 450 RPM.
CAUTION: Continued operation at a resonant speed condition will result in torsional vibrations within the
gear which can be damaging to all components of the system. The most common indicator of torsional
vibrations is an unusual rumbling or grinding noise from the gear drive at a sharply defined speed. The
noise will disappear when the speed is increased or decreased. This noise is not indicative of a defect but
results when the vibratory torque exceeds the drive torque causing the gear teeth to separate and clash
together very rapidly. On variable speed applications, operation close to a resonant speed should be
avoided and transition through a resonant speed range should be swift.
At start-up, the variable frequency drive should be increased through the range from 0 RPM to maximum
motor speed. As the speed is increased, the gear drive system should be observed to note the onset of
any unusual rumbling or grinding at specific speeds. These resonant speeds (+/- 10%) should be "locked
out" by the variable speed drive. Please refer to the variable frequency drive manufacturers
recommended start-up procedure for further information.
Lubrication: Use only rust and oxidation inhibited gear oils in accordance with AGMA (American Gear
Manufacturers Association), Standard 9005-D94. For general operating conditions, AGMA lubricant number
and corresponding ISO Grade should be as shown in Table 3 for mineral oils and Table 4 for synthetic
lubricants (reference the cooling tower nameplate to determine if synthetic lubricant was furnished). For
operation under extremely hot or cold ambient conditions, contact your local BAC Representative for specific
Start-up at an ambient temperature less than 20F (-7C ) requires either the use of lube oil heaters (for
mineral oils) or synthetic oil (ambient temperature to -20F (-29C)). Each unit has provisions for an internal
oil reservoir heater. Heaters and synthetic oil are extra cost accessories and can be ordered with new units
or may be ordered and installed in existing units.
The vertical and horizontal shafts are equipped with grease-lubricated dual seals. Relubrication is not

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

WARNING: If noise or vibration persists, shut the unit down and correct the cause before further


Table 3: Recommended Mineral Oils

Crossflow Cooling Towers

Ambient Temperature at Gear Drive:

AGMA Lubricant Number:
ISO Grade:

Atlantic Richfield Co.

Chevron Oil Co.
Cities Service Oil Co.
Exxon Co.
Gulf Oil Co.
Mobil Oil Co.
Philips Petroleum Co.
Shell Oil Co.
Sun Oil Co.
Texaco Inc.

20F to 120F (-7C to 49C)

Oil Type**

Duro 220
Machine Oil A W 220
Citgo Pacemaker 220
Hydroclear Multipurpose R & O Oil 220
Teresstic 220
Harmony 220
Pennzbell R & O 220
Magnus 220
Morlina 220
Sunvis 999
Regal 220 R & O, Code 1531
Carter 220

Table 4: Recommended Synthetic Lubricants

Ambient Temperature at Gear Drive:
AGMA Lubricant Number:
ISO Grade:
Chevron Oil Co.
Exxon Co.
Mobil Oil Co.
Shell Oil Co.

-20F to 150F (-29C to 66C)

Oil Type**
Clarity 220 Synthetic
Syncon 220 - R70 Oil
Teresstic SHP 220
SHC 630
Omala RL220

** List of brand names is for purpose of identifying types and is not to be construed as exclusive
Synthetic Lubricants: Synthetic lubricants offer advantages such as extended service life, a broader
operational temperature range, reduced friction, and the ability to maintain a higher film strength which can
extend the service life of the gear drive. For general operating conditions, AGMA lubricant number and
corresponding ISO Grade should be as shown in Table 4. Synthetic lubricants can be made of various base
stocks which are incompatible with certain gear drive components; therefore, any synthetic lubricant not listed
in this manual should not be used without first consulting your local BAC representative.
Change Interval: The original oil should be replaced after 500 hours or four weeks of operation, whichever
comes first. It is recommended that the oil be drained through the drain plug when it is at operating
temperature. Refill the drive through the air breather port with the recommended type (Tables 3 & 4) and
amount of lubricant (Table 5). See Figure 17 for locations of the gear drive fittings.
Maintenance: Check oil level weekly with the unit idle. Add oil if level is below oil level indicator. Normal operating oil capacity of each gear drive is given in Table 5. Specific gear model number for each unit can also be
found in Table 6, or on the gear drive nameplate. Daily visual inspections and observation for oil leaks and
unusual noises and vibrations are recommended. If any of these occur, the unit should be shut down and the
cause found and corrected.
Periodic checks should be made to ensure the proper alignment of all system components and that all bolts
and external fasteners are tight.
Special precautions are necessary during periods of inactivity. When the internal parts are not continually
bathed by the lubricant as during operation, the gear drive is susceptible to corrosion. For best results, let the
drive cool for approximately four hours after shutdown, start the fan and let run for approximately five minutes.
This will coat the internal parts of the drive with cool oil. Thereafter run the fan for five minutes once a week
throughout the shutdown period to maintain the oil film on the internal parts of the gear drive.
On seasonal shut down, it is recommended that the drive unit be completely filled with oil. This can be
accomplished by filling through the air breather port. Cover the drive with a tarpaulin or other protective covering.

Baltimore Aircoil Company


CAUTION: Drain the excess oil before returning the gear drive to service.
By following the above procedures, each BAC gear drive system will provide years of useful service.

Table 5 Normal Operating Oil Capacity














Unit Model (HP)

Gear Model

Unit Model (HP)

Gear Model






3333A (20)

3412 A





















31132A (50)














31132A (75)
31213A (75)



Corrosion Protection
BAC cooling towers are constructed of corrosion-resistant materials. The fill is made of an inert synthetic
material, which requires no protection against rot, decay, rust or biological attack. Other materials used in
construction of the equipment, which are listed below, should be inspected regularly.
Galvanized Steel Components
Galvanized steel components should be inspected for blemishes or corrosion. Affected areas should be wire
brushed and recoated with a cold galvanizing compound such as Zinc Rich Compound (ZRC).
BALTIBOND Corrosion Protection System Components
Galvanized steel components protected with the BALTIBOND Corrosion Protection System may develop
scratches, scrapes or blemishes. These may be touched up with a repair kit (BAC Part No. 16-133P). In the
unlikely event that the damage is more extensive than simple scratches or minor blemishes, contact your local
BAC Representative.
Stainless Steel Components
Stainless steel components should be inspected for signs of blemishes or corrosion and cleaned with
stainless steel wool as necessary. If more extensive corrosion is prevalent, contact your local BAC
Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (FRP) Components
Series 3000 Cooling Towers are provided with FRP casing panels as standard. These components should be
inspected for accumulation of dirt and cleaned with soap and water as necessary.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Gear Model

Table 6 Gear Model/Unit


Winter Operation
BAC cooling towers can be operated at ambient temperatures below freezing provided proper operating
methods are established and diligently followed.
Precautions that must be taken to ensure satisfactory operation include:

Crossflow Cooling Towers

Freeze protection of the water in the cold water basin and elimination of water in the optional BALANCE
CLEAN Chamber (Series 3000) and in all internal piping when the tower is idle.
Freeze protection must be provided for the cold water basin during shutdown since ice formation in the
basin can severely damage the cooling tower. A remote sump located indoors in a heated space is an ideal
method since the water in the tower and connecting piping will drain by gravity whenever the circulating
pump is stopped. Where a remote sump arrangement is impractical, the cold water basin heat must be
provided in the tower itself. Electric immersion heaters, steam injectors, or steam coils, controlled by a
thermostat in the cold water basin, may be used. Consult your BAC Representative for details. Additionally,
all exposed make-up lines and water piping that does not drain at shutdown should be traced with electric
heater tape and insulated.
EASY CONNECT Piping Arrangement with BALANCE CLEAN CHAMBER (Optional Series 3000):
Draining the water from the BALANCE CLEAN Chamber and internal piping is essential whenever the
potential for freezing temperatures exist. This can be accomplished by utilizing the 1/2" NPT drain port
located on the inboard side of the BALANCE CLEAN Chamber. There are 3 recommended methods for
draining the piping:
1. The preferred approach is to install a normally open 1/2" solenoid valve on the 1/2" drain connection of
the BALANCE CLEAN Chamber. This valve should be wired in the pump circuit such that it closes
when the pump is energized. The solenoid valve must be selected to operate with a minimum pressure
differential of zero PSI. The zero pressure differential valve is required due to the limited static head
imposed on the valve from the water column.
2. A 1/2" manual valve can be installed on the 1/2" drain connection of the BALANCE CLEAN Chamber.
The valve should be opened during cold weather operation. CAUTION: The valve must be closed
during warm weather to obtain full thermal performance.
3. Remove the 1/2" plug from the 1/2" drain connection of the BALANCE CLEAN Chamber during cold
weather operation. CAUTION: The plug must be reinstalled during warm weather to obtain full thermal
When operating at subfreezing ambient temperatures, the cooling tower will normally produce leaving water
temperatures appreciably below design. However, low leaving water temperatures tend to promote ice
formation. Therefore, when operating in subfreezing ambient temperatures, the leaving water temperatures
should be maintained as high as possible. The recommended minimum water temperature in the cold water
basin is 43F (6.1C). Additionally, frequent visual inspections should be performed to detect potential icing
The first step in maintaining a high leaving water temperature is to ensure the tower operates with the
maximum possible heat load. Next, reduce the tower capacity by cycling fans, which modulates the air flow
through the tower. Modulating the water flow rate to the tower is not recommended as a method for cooling
tower capacity control. (CAUTION: Rapid on-off cycling can cause the fan motor to overheat. It is
recommended that controls be set to allow a maximum of 6 on-off cycles per hour.) If the tower is equipped
with two-speed motors or VFD, operation at a lower speed may be sufficient to prevent icing.
Note: When two speed motors are used, the motor starter should include a minimum 15 second time
delay when switching from high to low speed.

Baltimore Aircoil Company

However, it may also be necessary to cycle fans off periodically to prevent ice formation and/or to melt ice
that accumulates on the intake louvers and face of the fill of the Series 3000 and Series 1500 Cooling
Towers. Under severe conditions where fan cycling is insufficient to prevent icing, it may be necessary to
operate the fan(s) in reverse for short periods of time to remove any ice accumulation by forcing warm air
through the fill.
WARNING: DO NOT operate the fans in reverse any longer than is necessary since extended reverse
operation may cause ice to form on the fan blades, fan cowl, or eliminators and damage the tower.

1. Ensure all controls for capacity and freeze protection are set properly and functioning normally.
2. Prevent excessively high water levels and possible overflow of the cold water basin due to over
pumping clogged strainers, or make-up valve malfunction.
3. Discover any icing conditions that may develop before they reach the point where the tower or
supports are damaged or system performance is impaired.
For more detailed information on winter operation and for recommended operating procedures on specific
installation, contact your local BAC Representative.

Water Treatment
A proper water treatment program, administered under the supervision of a competent water treatment
specialist, is an essential part of routine maintenance to ensure the safe operation and longevity of evaporative cooling equipment, as well as other system components.
In evaporative cooling products, cooling is accomplished by evaporating a small portion of the recirculating
water as it flows through the unit. As this water evaporates, the impurities originally present in the water
remain behind and, if not controlled, the concentration of dissolved solids will increase rapidly. This can lead
to corrosion, scale or biological fouling which may negatively affect heat transfer as well as the longevity of
the unit and other system components.

Corrosion Red rust on steel components and "white rust" on galvanized surfaces will affect the
longevity of the unit.
Scale formation Scale not only reduces heat transfer and system efficiency, but may lead to under
deposit corrosion.
Biological Fouling Slime and algae formations may reduce heat transfer, promote corrosion, and
harbor pathogens such as Legionella.

Each of these aspects of water quality is discussed in greater detail below. Since the quality of the ambient
air and make-up water varies significantly from job site to job site, BAC strongly recommends obtaining the
services of a competent water treatment specialist prior to the initial start-up of the evaporative cooling
equipment. Additionally, to protect against the risk of Legionella contamination, the cooling equipment
should never be operated without adequate biological control.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Because of this possibility, cooling towers using reverse fan operation for ice removal should be equipped
with a vibration cutout switch and the duration of reverse operation should be limited to a maximum of 30
minutes. A time delay of approximately 40 seconds between forward and reverse direction should be
incorporated into the motor controls. Lastly, the importance of performing frequent visual inspections and
routine maintenance services during operation in subfreezing weather cannot be overemphasized. These
must be carried out on a routine basis to:


Crossflow Cooling Towers

Corrosion and Scale Control

To control corrosion and scale, the water chemistry of the recirculating water must be maintained within certain
parameters. The specific measures required vary from system to system and are dependent on the chemistry
of the make-up water, the metallurgy of the piping and heat transfer devices exposed to the recirculating
water, and the temperatures at which the system will be operating. Bleed/blowdown, the continuous flow of a
small portion of the recirculating water to a drain, is used to control the concentration of dissolved solids. On
rare occasions this may be adequate to control scale and corrosion. More often, however, chemical scale and
corrosion inhibitors are necessary, which raise the allowable level of dissolved solids without the risk of scale
and corrosion.
Chemically treated water should be kept within the guidelines given in Table 7. In cases where bleed/
blowdown alone is being employed for corrosion and scale control, without chemical treatment, your water
treatment specialist may recommend more conservative limits than those shown in Table 7.

Table 7 Quality Guidelines for Chemically Treated Circulating Water

Property of Water

Recommended Level

Hardness as CaCO3

30 to 750 ppm2


Alkalinity as CaCO3

Total Dissolved Solids


6.5 to 9.0*

500 ppm maximum2

1500 ppm maximum

2400 micromhos3

250 ppm maximum as Cl

410 ppm maximum as NaCl

250 ppm maximum
150 ppm maximum

Chemical treatment programs must meet the following requirements:

1. The chemicals must be compatible with the unit materials of construction as well as other materials used in
the system (pipe, heat exchanger, etc.)
2. Chemical scale and corrosion inhibitors, and particularly acid (if used) should be introduced into the
circulating water through automatic feeders at a point in the system where total mixing and dilution occur
before reaching the evaporative cooling equipment. The preferred injection point for chemical scale and
corrosion inhibitors is on the discharge side of the system circulating pump(s). These chemicals should not
be batch fed directly into the units cold water basin or water distribution system, as this can severely
damage areas directly contacted.
3. When chlorine is added to the system, free residual chlorine should not exceed 1 ppm, except as noted in
start-up and shut-down section. Exceeding this limit may accelerate corrosion.
When new systems are first commissioned, special measures should be taken to ensure that galvanized steel
surfaces are properly passivated to provide maximum protection from corrosion. Passivation is the formation of a
protective, passive, carbonate layer on galvanized steel surfaces. To ensure the galvanized steel surfaces are
passivated, the pH of circulating water should be kept between 7.0 and 8.2 for four to eight weeks after start-up,
or until new zinc surfaces turn dull gray in color. If white deposits form on galvanized steel surfaces after the pH
is returned to normal service levels, it may be necessary to repeat the passivation process.
NOTE: Stainless steel units and units protected by the BALTIBOND Corrosion Protection System do not
require passivation.

Baltimore Aircoil Company


Biological Control
The warm, oxygen and nutrient rich environment inside evaporative cooling equipment provides an ideal
environment conducive to the growth of algae, slime, and other micro-organisms. Uncontrolled, this can
reduce heat transfer, promote corrosion, and promote the growth of potentially harmful organisms such as
Legionella. To avoid biological contamination and minimize the risk of Legionella, initiate the biocide
treatment program at start-up and continue on a regular basis thereafter in accordance with the treatment
suppliers instructions. Bleed/blowdown or chemical treatment used for corrosion and scale control alone is
not adequate for control of biological contamination.

Start-up, Initial and Following a Shutdown Period

To minimize the risk of biological contamination during a shut-down period of three days or more, it is
recommended that the entire system (evaporative cooling equipment, system piping, heat exchangers, etc.)
be drained. To resume operation of a drained system and at initial start-up, clean all debris from the cold
water basin and fill the system with fresh water. Then execute one of the following biocide treatment
programs while operating the circulating pump(s) and prior to operating the unit fans:
1. Resume treatment with the biocide that was used prior to shut-down. Then run the pump only while
maintaining the maximum recommended biocide residual for a sufficient period of time (residual and time
will vary with the biocide) as recommended by the water treatment supplier. Only after this treatment
period is completed should the fan(s) be started.
2. Check the pH of the circulating water and, if necessary, adjust it to 7.0 to 7.6. Then, running the pump
only, treat the system with sodium hypochlorite to maintain a level of 4 to 5 mg/l (ppm) free chlorine
(as Cl2) over a six (6) hour period. Test kits that can be used to measure the free residual of chlorine are
commercially available. Only after this treatment period is completed should the fan(s) be started.
When it is not practical to drain the system during shut-down periods, a by-pass line with shut-off valves
should be installed to permit the recirculating water to be circulated throughout the system, including the unit
basin, while bypassing the fill section of the evaporative cooling equipment (fans should remain off). The
system should be treated per one of the two methods described above prior to restarting the unit.

...because temperature matters

Operating and Maintenance Manuals

Solid or granular biocides should be introduced through a chemical "pot" feeder installed in parallel with the
system circulating pump(s). Dilute liquid biocides may be added directly to the cold water basin. If ozone
water treatment is used, at no point should concentrations exceed 0.5 ppm.