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November 3, 2010 -
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Today's tip comes from James Piper, contributing editor for Building Operating Management.
When HVAC water circulation systems go unattended, problems can develop rapidly. If those problems are not swiftly detected and corrected, they can cause downtime, reduce operating efficiency and shorten equipment life. Proper water treatment is warranted. Without proper water treatment, both open and closed systems are at risk for three types of problems: corrosion, scale and biological fouling.
Corrosion is the process of metal dissolution. Uncorrected, it can lead to the loss of system integrity.
Scale occurs when suspended solids precipitate out and become attached to interior surfaces of pipes and heat transfer equipment. Scale can significantly reduce the efficiency and capacity of the entire system.
Biological fouling occurs when bacteria, fungi and algae grow in the circulating water. Uncorrected, it can foul heat transfer surfaces, plug lines and contribute to corrosion.
Water treatment requires careful planning, a commitment of resources, proper training of maintenance personnel and a focus on safety. But a properly implemented program can reduce or eliminate the effects of corrosion, scale and biological fouling.