Cooling Tower Filtration

LAKOS Basin Sweeping System installed at Cooling Tower

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Problems Created in Cooling Towers

Biological Growth

  • Evaporative coolers and cooling towers offer a warm, moist environment for biological activity to thrive and multiply creating a biofilm. Biological activity contributes to increased fouling of heat transfer surfaces (including tower fill) leading to corrosion of various parts of the cooling system and can create health hazards such as legionella.


  • In a cooling towers basin, less than 1/16” (1.58mm) of solids accumulation interferes with the effectiveness of water treatment with respect to under-deposit corrosion. In this vicious cycle, solids congregate allowing sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB) to multiply unchecked. The SRB’s reduce sulphate’s in the water to hydrogen sulfide resulting in aggressive pitting corrosion, commonly known as under-deposit corrosion that decreases equipment life by as much as 75%.


  • Scale is characterized by the plating-out of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) on heat transfer surfaces. These deposits are created through precipitation of dissolved minerals from cooling tower water. As CaCO3 mixes with silica and water it forms a hard, concrete scale on heat transfer surfaces reducing a system’s ability to efficiently transfer heat. The formation of scale is the most common reason for the need to punch and clean chiller tubes.

Fouling Factors and Energy Costs

To translate what solids accumulation and fouling can do to a cooling tower take the following example. A 1,000-ton cooling tower operating at 0.65 kW/ton with a typical load factor of 70% operating 2,500 hrs/yr at $0.19 per kWh would equal $216,125 in operating costs per year.

These numbers are based on a new unit with no fouling using a kWh cost for California.

Taking this value and adding a typical fouling factor of 0.002 (22% power increase), the additional power needed to maintain the same system operating efficiency will increase energy costs by $47,548 a year.

Solids Removal in Cooling Tower Systems
No Filtration

Solids continually accumulate in tower basins and heat transfer efficiency is greatly impacted.

Manual Cleaning

Labor intensive removal of solids that never addresses the underlying problem.

2% Side Stream

Removes a portion of solids; solids still accumulate in the basin where the bulk of material settles.

Basin Cleaning

Attacks problem at the source by directing and removing solids directly from the basin.


Side Stream Installs on Cooling Tower


Benefits for Cooling Tower Water Filtration
  • Reduce under-deposit corrosion, remove food source for biological activity, and extend life of the basin

  • Minimize manual cleaning, maintenance, downtime and risk of injury

  • HydroBoosters™ sweep cooling tower basin to remove suspended solids at the source

  • Maintain downstream thermal efficiency of heat transfer surfaces

Basin Sweeping Layout

Basin Cleaning Videos

Configure a Basin Sweeping System or Separator
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Downtime Eliminated & Reduced Maintenance Costs on Cooling Tower Basin Cleaning

A Regional Laboratory for a leading environmental agency in Houston, Texas was having problems with dirty cooling tower water. The dirty water lead to HVAC loop system downtime, increased labor, and maintenance costs. The agency acted fast to find a solution for their dirty cooling water problem as well as set an example of water and energy conservation. To meet the agencies needs, they installed a LAKOS TCX-0280-SRV and were able to filter out sand, silt, scale, and rust from their cooling tower water with a zero liquid loss approach to filtration. The solution also reduced maintenance and downtime costs while improving thermal efficiency in downstream equipment. Learn More


Cooling Tower Eliminates Routine Maintenance with LAKOS Separator

At National Wire Products Corporation in Baltimore, Maryland it was a big job to keep their ejector-type cooling towers in operation. Normally, they would need to clean the system at least once a week, but once they installed in three LAKOS In-Line Separators, they do the cleaning themselves. The LAKOS separators now reduce cooling tower problems by about 95%, allowing for a reduction in downtime and maintenance costs. Learn More


Full-Stream Cooling Tower System Reduces Maintenance

A General Electric plant in Cleveland, Ohio producing tungsten wire and powder constantly suffered from contaminated, dirty cooling water. Their cooling water was contaminated with airborne grit and would  accumulate in their large cooling tower, which required constant maintenance and inspection at least once every shift. General Electric began looking for a more efficient way of keeping their water and cooling towers free of grit. General Electric first installed a side-stream LAKOS Separator and then added two Industrial Model Separators. In no time, the LAKOS Separators were paying for themselves, removing up to 98% of all solids and reduced cleaning cycles to every six weeks. Learn More