Sidestream Filtration: Is it Time to Upgrade Your System?

HVAC UnitsCooling towers and water systems are responsible for rejecting waste heat to cool liquid. Despite their name, a cooling tower doesn’t necessarily need to be large; commercial air conditioning units, for example, have stouter and smaller cooling towers. Regardless, they essentially function the same way.

Your business’ cooling tower already has a sidestream filter; the system itself may already be several years old and may no longer be functioning at the same optimal capacity. You might wonder – is it really necessary to upgrade your sidestream filter, and for those without them, is it worth the investment?

Cooling Towers and Bacterial Contamination

HVAC suppliers, such as Masterflow Solutions, describe sidestream filtration systems as mechanical systems that filters the liquid in a system; in this case, the air conditioning unit. The size of this filtering system depends on the actual size of the air conditioning or HVAC unit; commercial units usually have small to medium-sized filtration systems while industrial cooling towers have sidestream filters roughly the same size as the tower itself.

The main reason why these units have a sidestream filter is that the water originating from a cooling tower tends to be accommodating to airborne contaminants – contaminants that can make their way into the actual air conditioning or HVAC unit.

Perhaps the most common (and notorious) contaminant that can easily make its way into a cooling tower is Legionella, a bacterium that can cause a very serious form of lung infection as well as Legionnaires’ disease in more serious cases.

What Does a Sidestream Filter Do?

The fact that air-conditioning cooling towers are very susceptible to becoming infected by bacteria, such as Legionella, is why it’s important that you have a sidestream filtration system for your HVAC cooling towers and systems.

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The filter, using a porous medium, removes any suspended matter on the cooling tower to prevent bacterial growth and contamination. It also reduces suspended solids, such as algae and fungi that would otherwise corrode the cooling tower, to a more acceptable and manageable level.

Whether you have a commercial cooling tower or one built for industrial purposes, it’s necessary to check if your existing sidestream filter is still functioning properly the next time you do a routine inspection. Even if it still functions pretty well, it might be time to upgrade it, as newer systems have the ability to filter more suspended solids and matter and are relatively more compact and easier to install than older models.