What are the Best Chemicals for Cooling Tower Treatments?

Cooling towers are immensely efficient, cost-effective tools for controlling temperature in industrial sized buildings. The size of the towers alone can make the task of cleaning them feel daunting, but the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly recommends a minimum of twice-per-year deep cleaning in order to prevent bacterial growth, as microorganisms like Legionella can thrive in the hot, damp environment. The most effective way to clean the towers involves using a combination of manual solutions and chemical treatments, as this allows for both debris to be cleared out and bacteria to be cut off at its source. Equipment for manual cleaning can include industrial vacuums and pressure sprays, and the chemical cleaning is best done through a formula expertly created with chlorine.

1. Sodium hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is composed of chlorine and sodium hydroxide, and it’s more commonly referred to as bleach. The solution exists in many home cleaning products and can be scaled to an industrial size for cleaning larger structures, such as cooling towers. The compound is an effective antimicrobial agent and can work to eliminate bacteria like Legionella at its source. However, sodium hypochlorite can result in discoloration and corrosion on a number of surfaces, including stainless steel and other metals. Thus, one should proceed with caution when looking into bleach options for controlling bacterial growth in cooling towers.

2. Calcium hypochlorite

Calcium hypochlorite (Ca(OCl)2) is an oxidizing agent commonly used in oxidizing and bleaching disinfectants. Calcium hypochlorite is a solid that dissolves easily in water, and it’s stable, meaning that it has a long shelf life and can be bought safely in bulk in preparation for multiple seasons of cleaning. Calcium hypochlorite is indeed an appealing chemical for water tower treatment, but often is only part of a more comprehensive solution and cleaning product. 

3. Chlorine dioxide

Chlorine dioxide, a compound made of chlorine and oxygen, is a very effective agent in controlling bacterial growth in cooling towers. It’s been proven to kill Legionella bacteria, yet is less corrosive than bleach and is often used on its own, unlike calcium hypochlorite. PureLine is home to an expert staff of engineers, chemists, and technicians who work to build chlorine dioxide disinfection solutions across a number of industries, including water treatment for industrial-sized cooling towers. PureLine’s 25+ years of experience in biofilm control in cooling towers equips the team well to build custom chemical treatments for these large-scale buildings. To learn more about how PureLine’s products could play a part in chemically treating your cooling tower, fill out the form below.