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30 Jun

Replacement Fill: Block vs. Hanging

While each crossflow cooling tower installation presents its own unique challenges to maintenance and performance, one common issue all installations eventually share is fill replacement. No matter how good the preventive maintenance and water treatment program, over time, the cooling tower fill will begin to degrade and heat rejection capability will suffer. With a less efficient cooling tower, there are greater electricity costs at the chiller and, on design days, the HVAC system may not be able to keep up with the building load.

In order to correct this and bring the tower back to its original capacity, owners should replace their cooling tower fill after 10-14 years of use. But what fill should they use? BAC sells replacement hanging fill, while competitors sell block fill replacement – sometimes at a lower price. Which is better – for the tower and for the wallet?

BAC replacement hanging fill is easier to access and inspect and can reject more heat, not only over block fill, but also sometimes over the original fill in the tower, thus providing a larger cooling tower capacity. With increased capacity, the cooling tower can return even cooler water to the chiller, saving the owner even more money in electricity. Typically, this means that the customer has saved more money in electricity than the initial cost of the replacement hanging fill in two years or less.* On the other hand, replacement block fill only comes close to the original performance of the tower. Block fill does have other significant short-comings as well. Block fill clogs faster than hanging fill, is very difficult to access, and will ultimately degrade the cooling tower performance again after only a few short years.

So, to provide the most value to building owners, BAC replacement hanging fill is the only long term fill replacement solution in crossflow cooling towers. Anything less would mean faster fill degradation and larger electricity bills through the continued life of the tower.

*Based on using the most efficient chiller electricity usage, $0.12 kW/hr electricity (national average), and 1500 equivalent full load hours per year.

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