How Does a Cooling Tower Work?

Cooling tower

A cooling tower is a heat exchanger, inside of which heat is withdrawn from the water by contact between the water and the air. The heat transfer occurs through the heat exchange between air and water and through the evaporation of a small part of the water that needs to be cooled. This will allow to cool down to a temperature lower than the ambient temperature, which is an important advantage compared to dry coolers.

Consequently, a cooling tower is not a chimney producing smoke. The mist which can be seen above a cooling tower is regular steam with the same composition as a normal cloud.


Cooling towers can be divided into types in different ways: based on the fan type, shape, water flow or efficiency, cooling water quality, ... The main classification tends to be based on the cooling circuit type, which determines the exact operation of the cooling tower.

More about the different cooling tower types.

Importance of cooling tower maintenance

A polluted cooling tower will soon lead to a reduced cooling capacity and negatively influences the reliability of the installation. This can however be easily avoided by performing a regular, preferentially yearly, preventive maintenance. A regular maintenance will also minimize the risk of legionella.

More about the importance of cooling tower maintenance.

Almeco NV-SA - Royennestraat 51, rue de la Royenne - B-7700 Moeskroen-Mouscron
Almeco Nederland BV - Postbus 32 - NL-5550 AA Valkenswaard
Almeco France SARL - 67, Rue de Luxembourg - F-59777 Euralille