Cleaning Chillers becomes a common chore in areas with a lot of cottonwood trees, swamps with cattails, and near other high debris generating foliage. In some cases the problem can be so bad that chiller cleaning may be needed every two weeks during peak cottonwood season. The problem is the time of year this is happeneing is filled with other things that really need to get done and the distraction of having to clean coils, or chiller water in water cooled systems, causes major productivity loses. The good news is you can now PREVENT the need to continuously clean chiller coils by keeping the cottonwood from clogging them in the first place.
Cottonwood screens are not a new idea, but have been mostly been home-made solutions that create their own set of maintenance issues or do not last very long. One common solution is to take foam or polyester filter media and wrap the chiller in it - But this causes a lot of airflow restriction and is prone to sagging, it also requires time consuming cleaning or costly media replacements frequently, defeating the purpose of having it in the first place.
Having a purpose built chiller screen ensures that there is not too much airflow restriction over the coil which could cause failures or higher energy consumption. It is also important to have a good UV coating to reflect the intense UV rays that would casue premature wear on the screens. Once installed cleaning the screens is as easy as brushing them off, rinsing wiht a hose, or vacuuming with a backpack vacuum - taking a chore that would take hours and turning it into minutes or seconds.
Mounting the screening to your chiller can be done in a variety of ways. Most commonly they come with mounting clips that use self-tap sheetmetal screws, but in some cases a permanent mount using heavier duty screws and washers is advised. Also offered now are magnetic fasteners that utilize rare-earth Neodymium magnets that are so powerful the FAA won't allow them to be shipped on an airplane. These are a premium cost, but offer lightining fast installation, and are exceptional option when mounting into heavy steel of chiller supports, or on chillers using microfins as they are more prone to damage by sheet metal screws.
By keeping your chiller free of cottonwood you also allow it to operate at peak efficiency, saving energy and helping the equipment last longer because it's not stressed from having to work harder to overcome the dirty coils.
Cottonwood Screens offer the trifecta:
1) Reduces Maintenance Labor (Chiller Cottonwood Cleaning goes from hours to minutes or less)
2) Improves Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
3) Extends Equipment Life