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Comparison between Counter Flow Cooling Tower and Cross Flow Cooling Tower

Oct. 08, 2018



Counter flow cooling tower-The air is vertically upwards, counter current with the hot water falling downwards.The coldest water comes in contact with the coolest and most dry air,optimizing the heat transfer and obtaining the maximum performance.

Cross flow cooling tower-The air flows horizontally and the water falling downwards meets the air at different temperatures. Therefore the heat transfer is not always optimized.


Counter flow cooling tower-The tower area required is comparatively much smaller. The air water contact is more due to the efficiency and arrangement of the fill pack. The plenum chamber area for hot air in this tower is smaller.

Cross flow cooling tower-The area required is larger due to its constructional features like larger plenum chamber. Also the arrangement and material of the pack is different and requires a higher area. 

3.Air Flow

Counter flow cooling tower-Since the air-water contact time is higher, the quantity of air required is lesser.

Cross flow cooling tower-Since the air-water contact time is lesser, more air is required to effect heat transfer.

4.Distribution System 

Counter flow cooling tower-The distribution is done through channel with lateral pipes, fitted with splash cum spray nozzles. Growth of algae is highly restricted as the lateral pipes are a closed unit and not located in direct sunlight.

Cross flow cooling tower-The distribution is done through open trough systems on the fan deck, fitted with nozzles. Distribution may not be as uniform as the counter flow type and is easily attacked by algae, causing problems like scaling and clogging of openings.


Counter flow cooling tower-The problem of recirculation is much less in this case as the air intake is at the bottom of the tower and the discharge is at a much higher level. Further the side walls of the tower are closed till the top of the air intake area. 


Cross flow cooling tower-Since the air intake area extends from the bottom to the deck level, the flume discharge is very close to the air intake area at the top. This creates the effect of recirculation wherein the discharged air re-enters the tower through the air intake at the top. This creates a significant reduction in performance. 

6.Fill Pack 

Counter flow cooling tower-The fill pack can be splash type plastic fill for very bad quality of water and film fill for better quality of water.

Cross flow cooling tower-Only splash type fill used in cross flow cooling towers. Usually splash fill will be V bar or timber laths. 

7.Power Consumption&Pumping Head

Counter flow cooling tower-The fan Power consumption is low as the required air quantities comparatively lower. The pumping head is also lower as the inlet header is located below the fan deck area. 

Cross flow cooling tower-The fan power consumption is higher as the airflow required is higher. The pumping head is also higher since the distribution is located at the fan deck level. 


Counter flow cooling tower-Maintenance for counter flow towers is much easier than cross flow towers. The simplicity of structure and comfortable sizing allow for quick and exhaustive maintenance.

Cross flow cooling tower-Maintenance for cross flow towers is time consuming and usually requires more skilled technicians on the job as the movement of material is more difficult.

If you want to know more, welcome to contact me:

Email: monica@coolingtowerinfill.com