While the need for evaporative cooling systems is ending for the season, it’s important to remember that investing time now to properly winterize your system can significantly contribute to optimal functionality in the spring.
Given the hot summer we’ve had, cool cell pads on many farms are likely in need of some attention. Over time, minerals build up on pads, limiting performance. A recent study has clearly demonstrated the extent of this challenge, especially on farms with high calcium and magnesium concentrations in the water. While mineral build up on pads is clearly visible, the extent of the buildup can be best understood by weighing pads.
Average new cool cell pads that measure at 12” x 5’ weigh approximately 5.5 lbs. Field observations have discovered scale build up to the extent that pads weigh in at 12-18 lbs. On one farm, new cool cell pads measuring 24” x 5’ weighed 9 lbs. After one flock, these pads weighed in at 11 pounds.
In addition to mineral buildup, continual use and lack of drying time has likely caused challenges with algae as well as decay or breakdown of the cellulose paper within the pads.
Start and Finish with Clean Cool Cell Pads
It’s important to finish the cool cell season with clean, dry pads and no water in the trough. If pads are left dirty, the dirt and debris that’s present can harden and begin to hold water from rain or snow over the winter.
Begin with a full cleaning of the entire evaporative cooling system and doghouse, including the removal of any scale present on the pads. In the trial mentioned above, the pads that had increased in weight by two pounds over one flock were treated with SWASHCOOL-CELL™ for three days. Following the treatment, the pad weight had decreased by one pound improving airflow and system efficiency.
Once all possible dirt, debris and mineral scale has been removed from pads:
- Flush out the header, trough, and sump, and then empty the water
- Clean and empty all pumps and filters
- Talk to your equipment manufacturer to ask if your system could benefit from the addition of antifreeze to the pump, based on your equipment and location
- Check seals on tunnel doors or flaps on curtains, replacing any necessary to ensure the doghouse seals off
Failing to winterize evaporative cooling systems now will put producers behind in the spring, just as systems are needed once again. By following these simple procedures, producers can simply dust off their pads and dog house, and jump into the spring growing season.