During hot months, evaporative cooling systems are crucial to maintain target temperatures within broiler houses, turkey barns, and sow farms to help producers eliminate the costly effects of heat stress in animals. Heat stress can not only cause welfare challenges and mortality, it also decreases production and reduces profits. Common signs of heat stress are reduced feed intake and growth rates, panting, weakness and watery droppings.
With everything that’s riding on the effectiveness of evaporative cooling systems, maintaining maximum system efficiency is vital. But what are the signs of decreased system and pad performance? And how can they be addressed?
Working with countless producers, integrators and academics, the team behind the SWASH™ brand have identified five questions producers can ask to better understand the challenges they might not be seeing or steps they might not have considered concerning their cool cell pads.
1. How old are pads? Most cool cell pad manufacturers state that pads have an expected life span of 10 years. However, if not properly maintained, pads can only be expected to perform for five to six years tops. At approximately $5,000 per broiler or turkey house, we’re not talking about a small investment. Tracking age, properly maintaining the pads and system, and taking the time to understand the special challenges pads might face based on water quality is time well spent.
2. Do pads have scaling or mineral build up? Are you sure? Scaling is clearly visible on some pads, such as this image of a pad that is only 4 years old and weighed 18+lbs.
However, we have discovered that sometimes what isn’t visible can hurt performance the most. This can often be seen on farms facing static pressure issues when evaporative cooling systems run frequently. Pads may not show visible signs of mineral build up, but the inability to maintain static pressure is a sign of a blockage. Airflow is restricted and there’s not enough air being brought in to meet the demands of the tunnel fans. Buildup deep in the pads is unseen. Pictured below is a pad less than 6 months old and already had gained 2lbs of scale.
3. Don’t feed the algae. Iron is commonly found in water sources on farms. It can buildup on pads, restricting airflow and limit their life span. However, the bigger challenge is when iron builds up on filters, pipes and other areas of the system, providing a food supply for bacteria. The result is thick algae or biofilm that can clog pads and pipes, and coat the system as seen in this image. This is especially true for farms with a water pH outside the target range of 6.5 to 8.5.
4. Understand water composition. The best solution to address mineral and algae buildup is to understand the source of the issue with a water quality analysis. Producers can send in water samples to a local authority, often the local extension agent, and receive a report similar to the sample below. Note that this farm is experiencing hard water as evidenced by their high levels of calcium and magnesium, and can expect mineral buildup on pads as water evaporates.
5. Don’t assume a course of action. A water analysis is vital to understand the challenges and identify what steps to take as well as what steps not to take that could be costly. For example, many producers use chlorine tablets to address pH and/or algae issues. However, this could result in damaging the resin within the pads and negatively impact pad performance.
Address Mineral Buildup with SWASHCOOL-CELL™
When added to clean sump water, SWASHCOOL-CELL™ works to extend the life and maximize the efficiency of pads by:
- Removing mineral scale and stains from algae to improve airflow and system efficiency
- Shortening cleaning time, allowing for adequate cleaning between flocks or groups even with tight turnaround times
- Reducing drying time between cycles, keeping pads drier, longer so they can quickly return to full cooling capacity without developing algae stains
Want assistance understanding the water quality challenges on your farm and how SWASHCOOL-CELL™ can help? Contact us now to learn more.