If you have a steel HVAC cooling tower with corrosion issues, don’t scrap it and replace it without considering a full professional coating system both inside or and, outside. There is a great chance of you saving a small fortune by the application of the RepelCoat coating system.
Want to know more?
We sat with one of FlowMatrix’s owners Darren Driscoll who has more than 33 years of experience in the cooling tower industry and got the opportunity to ask some questions to get an insight into how cooling tower coating systems will save your steel cooling tower and keep your money in your pocket.
The summer months can be too hot to carry out steel cooling tower coating, but this is the time to plan to do this work in Autumn Winter and early Spring. Summer can be far too hot to shut off the cooling tower for 4-5 days in commercial places like hospitals, shopping centres, airports buildings (etc), however, it’s import to start thinking about an action plan before it starts to cool down (Autumn) for the colder months like May, June, July, August, September as this is the recommended time to get a FlowMatrix expert out to inspect your cooling tower for any necessary cooling tower coating repair and maintenance!
Process of coating a HVAC commercial cooling tower
The process of coating a cooling tower is very complicated and quite tedious which is why it must be done perfectly, expertly, and by professionals.
FlowMatrix usually starts by completely disassembling the steel panels, opening up access hatches and carrying out a confined space entry procedure to gain complete access to carry out the coating system procedure.
Surface preparation is by sand /abrasive blasting or hand preparation using bristle blasters, grinders and wire wheeling. This is the critical stage to get the surface clean and ready for a primer.
The application of the primer is critical to ensure that the bonding is sound, so mixing the products correctly must ensure the correct curing rate based on the temperature of the day and the humidity.
The mid-coat is a specialised product that bonds to the primer and the top chemical-resistant coating to allow movement without cracking the coating. This is critical as cooling towers move, shake, and vibrate due to the fan drives, water hammering from pipework and pumps, and maintenance people walking on the surfaces.
The top chemical-resistant coating is there to withstand the constant attack from chemicals, acid, alkaline, hard water, soft water, high pH, low pH, corrosion inhibitors, biocides, sodium hypochlorite, chlorine, erosion from water and dirt pounding against the surface like sandblasting.
It can be really hard to replace a steel cooling tower: Why?
Location Location Location
Commercial buildings tend to install their HVAC cooling towers on the roof of the building This is easy during the building stage as there is a large crane on the side of the building to get the cooling tower on the top of the roof. Once completed the crane is removed forever.
To replace a roof top installed cooling tower, we need to consider how to get if off the roof and how to get a new cooling tower on the roof. Cranes for this type of work are mobile.
This needs to drive to the building and use the crane arm to reach the cooling tower. This can be impossible is some cases if the building is too high, the crane cannot get close enough to reach, the crane is too heavy for the roads and bridges around a building
What if a crane cannot be used
Well, now we have a real problem that is also costly.
Steel cooling towers are heavy and hard to cut up. They need to be cut into sections small enough to get them down stairways and into lifts. Labour and safety costs are high. Then just imagine having to carry the new replacement cooling tower, up to the roof, in parts. Same problem as the one coming down, everything needs to be sized to go up the the lift and through the stairways.
Now the cooling tower needs to be assembled, sealed, new supports, new plumbing, new electrical connections, chemical controllers installed, commissioning and testing.
Can you save your corroded steel HVAC cooling tower without the cost to replace it?
Images of corrosion inside and outside of cooling tower
Yes. RepelCoat coating system for saving corroded steel commercial cooling towers. Completed without removal
- Long-term corrosion and erosion protection
- Good compressive strength
- Not affected by biocides such as chlorine
- Great resistance to a wide variety of chemicals and high or low pH
- Reduced safety and health risks due to clean and smooth finished surfaces
- Stops water wastage
- Allows expansion, does not shrink or distort
- Environmentally friendly
- Can be cured and applied at room temperature within 2 hours
- Includes surface preparation to AS 1672.4
- Leaves an extremely hard-wearing long-life surface
- Bonds to steel will not lift away; any physical damage will be localised to the affected area
- Designed to withstand cooling tower water treatment programs
- Able to withstand high or low pH, high salt levels, acid, alkaline
- Reduces the growth of Legionella bacteria by eliminating corroded surfaces
- Stops water and chemical leaks into the environment
Coating maintaining and repairing your cooling tower can add an extra 10-20 years of life to your tower, saving you anywhere between $70,000 – $400,000 to replace it.
Still not convinced yet?
Signs you require new cooling tower coating
RUST NEVER SLEEPS
Is your cooling tower interior is corroding, rusting, leaking, flacking, scaling, or cracking? These are all tell-tale signs you’re heading to require a new cooling tower if you do nothing. As a cooling tower owner, FM or air conditioning contractor, you need to be able to catch the signs of corrosion at an early stage because the longer you leave these problems the more catastrophic, they WILL get, not to mention the harder and more expensive it is to fix. Darren commented: “rust never sleeps”. It will be twice as bad a year later and repeat this every year. Before you know it you have holes in the cooling tower basin, the cooling tower is leaking water and chemicals onto the roof, down the drains, into the river. Next the EPA comes to investigate.
Don’t worry if you’re not a cooling tower expert, in fact, most water treatment companies don’t have the skill set to be able to spot these signs either, which is where FlowMatrix come in
They can diagnose your current steel basin corrosion problem of your cooling tower and advise you of what must be done
They also have with check-ups they perform every 12 months so you can sleep at night knowing your cooling tower is in safe hands.
Why you need cooling tower experts
Darren explained just how severe and volatile cooling towers are, comparing the conditions to a marine setting, where waves and salt water completely ruin timber, metal, concrete, and fibreglass structures over time.
This is why when it comes to cooling towers, FlowMatrix has an abundance of knowledge and experience, having expanded across many fields. They don’t just service and repair cooling towers, instead, they utilise their knowledge and technical expertise to help companies get the best possible outcomes, for each situation and cooling tower type.
FlowMatrix 6 Quality Targets
- Bacteria Control / Risk Control
- Government Compliance
- Performance Maximisation
- Water Savings
- Energy Savings
- Environmental Protection
Repair and coat your cooling towers to comply with today’s regulations
Back in 2018, FlowMatrix took a big step forward in terms of developing their very own coating system just for cooling towers, they called it RepelCoat, a now registered trademark in Australia.
Jason Christensen the General Manager of FlowMatrix had a very big part in creating and designing RepelCoat. Jason has 10 years of experience in water treatment chemistry, 3 years of specialised coating experience AND 8 years of cooling tower experience, so he understood more than anyone what this industry really needed for coating cooling towers.
RepelCoat consists of a range of coating products that have been designed specifically for cooling towers, with the goal of providing specialised coating systems for:
- Coating system that moves with the cooling tower
- Cooling tower steel repairs to stop corrosion and leaks
- Fibreglass cooling tower repairs to stop leaks and repair cracks/holes
- Sealing water leaks in basins pits and tanks
- Protecting pipework from chemical damage
- Stopping steel support corrosion
- Cooling tower plant room floors membranes
- Steel roof surfaces under cooling towers membranes to stop corrosion and leaks
- Pipework penetrations sealing through floors and roofs to stop water damage below
- Cool store panel sealing
- Grouting systems for concrete plinths and fibreglass to stop water leaks and damage, hollow core filling of cooling tower legs in cooling towers with coils.
Jason discussed FlowMatrix’s extremely detailed process which involves firstly coming out to look at your cooling tower, to access and diagnose it. This cooling tower analysis includes everything from sketches and photos, a detailed scope work procedure, a current condition report, repair action plan, reasons why the work should be done, and much more.
FlowMatrix takes pride in their work which is why they like to personalise each inspection to ensure your cooling tower is truly up to standard, meeting all government regulations and that your risk management plan is complete and accurate.
Want to see an example of what you will receive:
An Audit Report:
An individual risk management plan and custom-designed solutions to your problem. In each report, FlowMatrix includes a detailed sketched-out diagram with photos that were taken on-site.
They then get back to you promptly with a very personalised quote explaining what needs to be done and why it needs to be done, you can then confirm what FlowMatrix has diagnosed for your cooling tower then they will come back and provide you with exactly that. A quote with a scope of work, parts required, recommendations, compliance information, and photos that show faulty components.
Start saving your cooling tower and your money today book in your next inspection with Flowmatrix, or give them a call to get some free advice.
The entire team are very knowledgeable and will most definitely be able to assist you!