What is Scale? How Does it Affect My Cooling Tower?



Scale is the formation of calcium carbonate in your cooling tower. Calcium carbonate is a naturally occurring substance, it's in all of our water. Here in Indiana where IWC is based, we have very high calcium carbonate in our water because of the limestone that we are known for. So what you see when you look at your cooling tower where there's black fill media on the outside, there'll be a white coating, that's scale. When you look into the basin when it's dry, you can see a sandpaper-like texture-- that's scale.

Scale has multiple implications of issues. One, it's a great place for biology and bacteria to attach to because the little tendrils off the back of the biology, just grab onto this rough surface, and now they can live long and prosper and proliferate. Additionally, it makes it hard to heat because this scale is rock, so you've got water coming through that's trying to push heat out, and now there's a tube that used to be able to really easily conduct that energy, and now there is liquid rock on the outside. There is a rock formation on the outside and it's got to heat up the tube, then the rock, then the water falls on the rock and dissipates the heat.

So it creates some heat transfer issues and then under deposit corrosion. So when you get that scale build up, you'll start seeing metals being liberated from underneath it because there's a nice, good environment for bacteria to grow that can start eating your metals. So it creates a lot of issues in cooling towers. And then additionally when scale's building up in your fill medias, it can damage the fill media itself. Scale can be scary, but with proper water treatment and personnel, it's an easily mitigated problem.


Worried about scale? Let IWC Innovations handle it!