So you have all of your chemical feed equipment installed and you’ve implemented a comprehensive, well-designed water treatment plan. Now it’s time to focus on operations and maintenance. As a facility manager, you will be working alongside your water treatment specialist as they offer guidance and support. But, in order for your boiler and cooling systems to run at maximum efficiency long-term, it will be crucial for operators to know how to perform water tests and how to take corrective action if the results are out of range.
Enter the control chart (see below). A control chart is a tool we customize for each facility and post in the power plant. Operators manage multiple systems, each with its own set of parameters. The parameters are in place to prevent catastrophic failures, as well as negative effects including scaling, corrosion, pitting, microbiological contamination, and poor heat transfer. Posting a control chart gives operators all the answers they need, right at their fingertips.
Following are the three most important water tests and common corrective actions that will put your system back on track.
- Conductivity. If conductivity is not in range, many people wrongly assume that chemicals are too low or too high. But conductivity relates to the cycles of concentration in a boiler or cooling tower and is not affected by chemicals. Instead, look for mechanical failures, water blockages, or uncontrolled loss of water.
- Total Hardness. The presence of hardness is directly tied to the water softener, so first check to see if it is functioning properly. Is there salt in the brine tank? Does the unit have power? Is the bypass valve open? If water softeners are working well, then check for possible contamination from the facility, a process or a heat exchanger. Keep in mind, high chlorine and iron levels can give a false positive for hardness testing.
- Chemical Residuals. There are several factors that could cause chemicals to be out of range. Since most facilities have automated chemical feed systems, the culprit could be a malfunctioning chemical pump, water meter, sensor, cracks in the tubing, or a depleted chemical supply. If the chemical feed system is in working order, check conductivity. High or low conductivity will cause high or low readings.
Operating within set parameters of water quality protects your investment and keeps your water treatment program running as efficient, smooth, and safe as possible. Not only will your equipment last longer, but you will avoid system failures, prevent service interruptions, and minimize water, energy, and chemical use.
Ready to learn more? Register for one of our free Watertech U training sessions.