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Issue with tower water level

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zepfan
zepfan Member Posts: 398
The attached pictures are of a level control (BAC part EWLC-4) The tower is Baltimore air coil VTL130 installed in 1992. The level control, and solenoid were replaced about 5 years ago, this issue just starting occurring in the past few weeks. The issue is that this foam like substance gets between the probes, causing the level control to not send the signal to the fill solenoid. The tower runs low, the pump eventually stops pumping, and then the units go off on high head pressure. I remove the level control from the stand pipe wipe the probes dry, and then the controller calls for the fill solenoid to come on. The operation is normal for about two weeks, and then the process repeats. I have drained the tower completely thinking that this was something that was added by the water treatment company, but the issue occurred again. With both the pump, and fan on their does not appear to be excessive vibration that would cause some type of water surging. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks to all.

Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,888
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    Chemicals are out of wack!
    zepfan
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,624
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    I agree, sounds like a problem for the water treatment guy. Maybe check the PH, foam just like boilers
    zepfan
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Did any one acid clean the tower or condenser barrel. I know that most do not let the tower over fill because of excessive water use but a old timer once told me you should being it helps all the pollen and surface debrie run out of the over fill no one really does this much . Possible clean and flush the sump and hose off the tower baffles and and distribution nozzles assembly . I ve always been told that those electronic sensor probes for towers water levels need to be cleaned on a regular schedule due to water chemistry and make up water more make up water higher tds and more build up on baffles and heat exchangers and probes . I really don’t service any tower any more . I would check the ph and tds usually foaming is from left over cleaning agents possible add some anti foam. You could add a water meter to the water feed which would help you keep track of water evaporation and lose from blow downs of strainers and a idea of water treatment . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    zepfan
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,624
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    Towers are supposed to be set to constantly bleed off water.
    zepfan
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 696
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    Most of the time when I see foaming in the cooling tower it's because someone added a descaler chemical. Or they used a descaler chemical on the chiller's condenser barrel and didn't flush it well. It is okay to use descaler like this, there is a procedure for it, but you also need to use an anti-foaming additive as well. Your best bet would be to flush the tower and piping.

    The tower should also have a bleed line (usually at the piping in the mechanical room) that has a solenoid on it controlled by a controller that senses TDS.
    Never stop learning.
    zepfan
  • zepfan
    zepfan Member Posts: 398
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    Thanks to all that responded to this post. The bleed line that is on the system is controlled by the water treatment system’s conductivity controller. There is no chiller on the system, just a plate and frame heat exchanger. The tower is on one side, and the heat pump loop is on the other side. I am going to have to get a hold of the water treatment company, and have them verify that their equipment is working, and that the bleed interval is set correctly. We cleaned the heat exchanger last year, and the system performed fine all of last summer, and this winter. Thanks again and stay safe.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,006
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    Take a good hard look into your water chemistry habits. This problem when looked into will go away when the water treatment is corrected consistantly.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,888
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    zepfan said:

    The attached pictures are of a level control (BAC part EWLC-4) The tower is Baltimore air coil VTL130 installed in 1992. The level control, and solenoid were replaced about 5 years ago, this issue just starting occurring in the past few weeks. The issue is that this foam like substance gets between the probes, causing the level control to not send the signal to the fill solenoid. The tower runs low, the pump eventually stops pumping, and then the units go off on high head pressure. I remove the level control from the stand pipe wipe the probes dry, and then the controller calls for the fill solenoid to come on. The operation is normal for about two weeks, and then the process repeats. I have drained the tower completely thinking that this was something that was added by the water treatment company, but the issue occurred again. With both the pump, and fan on their does not appear to be excessive vibration that would cause some type of water surging. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks to all.

    Also be advised some of those probes are 110 Volts. Lots of fun in a damp wet environment!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,442
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    I have seen foam very like that in wastewater treatment plants. It is always related to water chemistry problems, but, perversely, may be related to several at once. High pH is one. Any presence of surfactants -- even in very small quantities. Some anti-corrosion compounds. Some oxygen scavengers...

    Not something in the HVAC trade, but in the wastewater business... float valves or switches or ultrasonic probes, thank you.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England