Updated: May 4
One of the biggest questions we get asked here at ATEC is, when should I replace my evaporative cooling media?
We want to go over with you media replacement and why it is SO important. We realize it is important for you to keep going and keep cooling. This means it is VITAL to check your media to make sure it is in good running condition. Not only will clean and fresh media help with air flow, but it will also help with efficiency, longevity of your equipment, energy, and more. Today we will go over when to replace, how much it costs if you do not replace and other common things to look for as your media ages.
When it the time to replace?
Media manufacturers design the pads to have an average lifespan of about 3-5 years when maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendations and used during a typical cooling season of 6 months/year.
This life expectancy may lower in severe applications (improper pH, high mineral content in water source, etc.) or the life expectancy my even exceed 5 years if the system is very well maintained in an optimal environment (proper pH, good water distribution/flushing, etc).
In general it is wise to keep an eye on your media, especially during start up and shut down seasons of your equipment. Always remember that every situation is different so some may have to replace sooner than others, but in the end keeping up with replacement may be what saves you the most.
How much is it costing you?
Assume that old, warn out pads with significant clogging reduces air velocity by 10% and reduces efficiency by 5% that your system's cooling capacity decreases 15%. Thus costing you money, energy, and performance. Not only that but having old and clogged media can effect the longevity of your equipment. Media is so much the heart of evaporative cooling equipment.
What to look for?
We also get a lot of questions about what to look for as your evaporative cooling media gets older. So when we say; "go look at your media" these are the things to look for.
We like to think of the THREE S's when we check ours...
Due to the fact that media is so involved with water, it is often, if not always left with scale build up. This is due to the minerals and chemicals found in most waters. As the water evaporates you will notice that the scale will appear more and more until you start to see increased clogging. Just like any other filter media needs to be cleaned and maintained and sometimes as scale get worse, it needs to be replaced.
What you can do: There are a number of things you can do to help with scale build up:
-Take them out and clean them when you start to notice scale build up.
-You can work to make sure you have proper flushing and run off for your system.
-There are also certain supplements for purchase you can apply to your system to help. (Call us for more info)
-When things get bad then REPLACE!
SOFT (and hard)
After time and continuous water exposure your media can become soft. This can be caused by a number of different issues, typically it is the natural breakdown from the chemicals and minerals found in a lot of water. So, check often if your pad is growing increasingly weak and soft, it may be time to replace. Another thing to watch for is when it grows super hard. We have some pieces at our testing facility that almost feel like concrete because they were left too long in calcified water.
Last in our three S's is smell. This what is especially important, especially if you have customers frequenting your establishment. After time mildew and just age can get to you media and cause an unpleasant odor. It may become musty of mildew smell may occur. This happens when scale builds up and softening is gone out of hand.
Some things to try before replacing is;
-Cleaning you media regularly.
-Purchasing special formulas offered by manufacturer to help. (As mentioned earlier, feel free to call)
-Re-adjusting water flow and not allowing for water build up.
-Of course replacement is always an option for those older pads.
We hope this blog will help answer any questions you may have on when the best time is to replace your evaporative cooling media. Remember, each situation is different and each system is different so keep that in mind as you check your media regularly. You can always reach out to us if you need help or any further questions concerning replacement or any other evaporative cooling needs.
Thank you and have a cool day!
Below is a small album with different examples of scale and clogging:
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Special thank you to our manufacturers for their continuing information concerning replacement:
Munters Corporation, Manufacturer of CELdek and GLASdek
Portacool LLC, Manufacturer of Kuul and FirePro