Quieter cooling tower operation is critical as more stringent sound standards are adopted by facilities and communities. Minimizing sound from the fan is often the first step. However, lowering fan sound alone is not equally beneficial for all cooling tower configurations. It is important to understand when minimizing fan sound is the best option to achieve the desired sound level.

There are two main components that can contribute to cooling tower sound: fan and splash. Fan sound is generated at a lower frequency and has a greater influence on far field receptor locations (50 or more feet away). Splash sound is higher frequency and has the most impact on near field receptor locations (closer than 50 feet). Inlet sound levels of many crossflow cooling towers are directly impacted by fan sound. Crossflow film fill is designed to be in contact with the water surface in the cold-water basin, so water does not splash. Counterflow cooling towers have a splash sound characteristic, so there is a point of diminishing returns when decreasing fan sound. Eventually, splash sound from the inlet becomes dominant, which is especially true for near field sound, necessitating inlet or splash attenuation.

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