Commercial cooling towers’ role in HVAC systems 

When it comes to keeping commercial buildings comfortable, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems play a crucial role. 


In this article, we are diving deeper into the role of commercial cooling towers in HVAC systems. To do so, we sat down with “THE” commercial cooling tower expert and one of FlowMatrix’s owners, Darren Driscoll who has more than 33 years of experience in the cooling tower industry.


​​Darren also has extensive knowledge of all things cooling towers; indeed Darren comes from a background of designing and manufacturing all types of Cooling Towers in NSW ACT and Melbourne, now how is that for the experience?


What are Commercial Cooling Towers?


So you might ask what is a commercial cooling tower? 


They are a heat rejection device that removes waste heat to the atmosphere from an HVAC system by cooling hot water, typically from a chiller to a lower temperature. The cooled water is then reused cool the system again. Cooling towers come in various sizes and designs, but they all function on the same basic principles of heat transfer.


What are HVAC Systems?


HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and it refers to the system that provides thermal comfort and indoor air quality in commercial, buildings. A HVAC system typically consists of a furnace or boiler for heating, an air conditioning unit for cooling, a ventilation system for air exchange and filtration, and a thermostat for temperature control. HVAC systems are essential for modern living and play a vital role in maintaining the comfort of occupants in buildings.

There are several types of HVAC systems, including:


  1. Split Systems: Consists of an outdoor unit (containing the compressor and condenser) and an indoor unit (containing the evaporator).
  2. Packaged Systems: All components (compressor, condenser, and evaporator) are in one unit and installed outside.
  3. Ductless Systems: Also known as mini-split systems, they have separate indoor units mounted on the wall or ceiling, connected to an outdoor unit.
  4. Hybrid Systems: Combine a traditional furnace and an electric heat pump for efficient heating and cooling.


Why are Commercial Cooling Towers Important in HVAC Systems?


Commercial cooling towers are important in HVAC systems for several reasons:


  1. Efficient Heat Rejection: By removing waste heat from the system, commercial cooling towers help increase the efficiency of HVAC systems and reduce energy consumption.


  1. Maintaining Optimal System Performance: Cooling towers help prevent overheating of HVAC systems, which can lead to reduced performance and efficiency, and in some cases, damage to system components.


  1. Cost-Effective Solution: Commercial cooling towers are a cost-effective solution for removing waste heat, compared to other methods, such as air-cooled condensers.


  1. Improved Indoor Air Quality: By removing waste heat from the system, commercial cooling towers help improve indoor air quality and keep the building environment comfortable and healthy.

Different types of Commercial Cooling Towers for HVAC Systems


There are 6 different kinds of commercial cooling towers that you may have for your HVAC system!


  1. Natural draft cooling towers: rely on natural airflow to cool the water.
  2. Forced draft cooling towers: use fans to force air over the water, increasing cooling efficiency.
  3. Induced draft cooling towers: use fans to suck hot air out of the tower, pulling cool air in.
  4. Counterflow cooling towers: water flows in the opposite direction of the airflow, maximizing heat transfer.
  5. Crossflow cooling towers: water flows perpendicular to the airflow, with the air and water never mixing.
  6. Hybrid cooling towers: a combination of two or more cooling tower designs, offering improved efficiency and versatility.


Commercial Cooling Tower         Industrial Cooling Tower


Difference between commercial cooling towers and industrial cooling towers


The difference between commercial cooling towers and industrial cooling towers lies mainly in their size and the type of applications they are designed to support.


Commercial cooling towers are typically smaller in size and are used in commercial air conditioning systems, such as those in office buildings, apartment, hotels, hospitals, and shopping centres.


FlowMatrix have a slightly different approach when working between commercial and industrial colling towers. Darren stated: “it is important to be cautious when we work on commercial colling towers as we are working in closer proximity to people. We have to make sure everything is extra clean, that there is access, and that we are sensitive to how people may be working or are in their living environments”.


On the other hand, industrial cooling towers are larger and more robust in design. They are used in heavy industrial processes, such as chemical production, power generation, and petrochemical refining, which generate significant amounts of heat as a by-product. Industrial cooling towers are designed to handle the high heat load generated by these processes and are often built to withstand harsh environments and corrosive materials.

Importance of maintaining a commercial cooling tower


Commercial cooling towers play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency and performance of HVAC systems, which are used to keep commercial buildings comfortable. However, it’s important to regularly maintain these cooling towers to keep optimal performance. FlowMatrix specialists can assist you in maintaining, servicing, and repairing your commercial cooling to help prevent system failures and breakdowns, which can result in costly repairs and disruptions to residents of the building, guest, shoppers, anybody that frequents or lives in these places.


Maintaining a commercial cooling tower is important for ensuring its optimal performance, reducing operating costs, extending equipment life, and complying with regulations. More benefits include:


  1. Improving Efficiency: Maintaining a commercial cooling tower can improve its efficiency and performance, reducing energy consumption and operating costs. This can be achieved through regular cleaning and inspections, which help remove the build-up of contaminants and Fowled damaged scaled such as algae and mineral deposits, that can decrease the efficiency of heat transfer surfaces.
  2. Extending Equipment Life: Regular maintenance of a commercial cooling tower can extend the life of the equipment, reducing the need for replacements and saving money in the long run.
  3. Compliance with Regulations: Maintaining a commercial cooling tower is also important for complying with regulations, such as those related to water treatment, which can vary depending on the location of the building.
  4. Maintaining Indoor Air Quality: Regular maintenance of a commercial cooling tower can also help maintain indoor air quality by preventing the growth of mould and bacteria, which can contribute to indoor air pollution.

Parts for commercial cooling towers


It’s extremely important that when it’s time to repair or replace parts in your commercial cooling tower you’re doing it with the right parts and the right practice.


FlowMatrix suggests using Brentwood parts for your commercial cooling tower due to their superior reliability and high-quality engineering. The Brentwood parts that FlowMatrix supplied are Compliant with Australian Standard AS 4180.1—2008. Material exceeds Cooling Technology Institute (CTI) Standard 136. It is Brentwood Industries USA quality so you know it will perform to the design requirements of your cooling tower, and it will last a long time as the plastic material is top-end quality.


FlowMatrix has been able to install and supply Brentwood parts in commercial cooling towers all over Australia including Victoria, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne.


Manufacturer FlowMatrix can supply for:








Here is a list of parts that are typically supplied and installed by FlowMatrix for commercial cooling towers:


  • Fill pack for any shape, Square, rectangular, or round
  • Steel supports, fibreglass components and treated timber
  • Fan drives, forced draft or induced draft
  • Electric motor, fan, shafts bearings, pulleys, belts
  • Drift eliminators to suit fibreglass steel, or timber cooling towers
  • Air intake splash louvers for steel, fibreglass, and timber cooling towers


FlowMatrix are commercial cooling tower experts 


FlowMatrix are NSW and Victorias leading specialist in producing high-quality, long-lasting results, which is critical if you want to achieve the best cooling results, correct heat rejection, save time, money, and of course, keep your residents happy and comfortable!


Darren mentioned a story from a local shopping centre in Victoria that did not correctly maintain their commercial cooling tower, resulting in a complete system failure. No cool air could be circulated through the building making it completely unbearable. He also mentioned how “the entire centre had to close for around 3 days so all the damages could be repaired which obviously resulted in a big money loss for the owner through zero of trade, tenants food and other stock that perished, some rent paid back, loss of business, and then the actual repairs to the cooling tower itself.


Darren discussed FlowMatrix’s process of coming out to your cooling tower to access and diagnose it, which is an extremely detailed cooling tower analysis that includes “sketches and photos”. 

FlowMatrix takes pride in their expertise, Darren said “we like to personalise each and every inspection to ensure your cooling tower is up to the correct standard”.


These procedures can include:


  • Whether or not the part you’re looking for will actually work.
  • What is the best replacement part for a specific type of cooling tower?
  • How to recommend a high-performance component or parts
  • What the government or Australian standards are, and that their parts are always certified, approved, and up to date. AS/NZS 3666 is an important cooling tower standard.
  • The most effective options and solutions


With so many options available for commercial cooling towers, FlowMatrix has the experience and engineering data to understand the best outcomes that ACTUALLY work for you and your commercial cooling tower.


FlowMatrix 6 Quality Targets


  1. Bacteria Control / Risk Control
  2. Government Compliance
  3. Performance Maximisation
  4. Water Savings
  5. Energy Savings
  6. Environmental Protection



FlowMatrix now has a certification to work on sites such as CM3.


Many commercial cooling towers can be found in some of the harshest environments, creating an extremely dangerous environment for anyone who needs to inspect the tower.

Furthermore, cooling towers frequently house critical components that require routine inspection maintenance and repair, such as water distribution systems, drift eliminators, fill packs, coils, and fan drives, all of which require entry into the cooling tower to reach. 


Maintenance providers and inspectors cannot perform their duties safely if they are exposed to unacceptable safety hazards such as confined spaces, slips and falls, electricity, chemicals, and even potentially harmful bacteria and chemicals.

Be safe when it comes to your commercial cooling tower, and let the professionals handle all your needs, allowing you to always have peace of mind for yourself, your employees, and your business.


Call Darren or the guys at FlowMatrix to come out and have a look at your cooling tower today.

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