Retractable Winterization Screens


The subject power plant had a 3-cell counter-flow cooling tower located in the Chicago area. We first inspected the tower in February of 2018 and witnessed excessive icing which was causing damage to the wood structural members as well as degrading performance. The customer attempted to install tarps to keep the heat in the tower and melt the ice. This was a temporary fix, not custom fitted and had to be removed and reinstalled on a yearly basis. In December of 2018, Galebreaker supplied a permanent solution with their retractable winterization screens which could be deployed in the winter and retracted back up in the summer.

Specific Problems / Objectives

The primary problem faced on this installation and any installation relating to a cooling tower is the obstructions in the air inlet.  On this application, Galebreaker covered the West Side 100%, the north side approximately 90%, the east was a combination of five screens missing any obstructions and the south side had too many obstructions to install the screens. This coverage was sufficient to eliminate the icing in sub-zero temperatures with the fans shut down.

Benefits / Results

The cost to install and remove temporary tarps was eliminated. With temperatures in the high 20’s F, the ice was eliminated on the structures at the air inlet and the following benefits realized:

  • Improved performance
  • No damage to mechanical equipment
  • Complete seasonal protection
  • Fully retractable operation – quick and easy

These screens are performing great.  Shortly after the west side and north end were completed, we saw an almost immediate melting process start.  The ice has been eliminated on the inside and on the structure.

Ed Parker, Maintenance Supervisor, Atlantic Power



Ice accumulations with no protection.


Excessive icing build-up just inside the air inlet as a result of leaks above and freezing temperatures.


The temporary tarp system that had been previously installed annually.



Galebreaker screens are custom manufactured to fit the specific openings for the customer.


The tube that the screen is threaded into is attached at the bottom to the concrete curb with a series of ratchets.


The gear drive with the handle crank. The kadored tube attaches to the gear drive and can be retracted or deployed quickly and easily.


The finished product on the north end of the tower.


This is the finished product on the west side of the tower. This is the side most susceptible to icing. The icing on the inside had been melted due to the retention of heat just inside the screens.


This is a picture of the east side which had all of the obstructions. A series of (5) different screens were installed to miss all obstructions.


The best practice for ice attenuation is pro-active operation of the fans. A combination of proper fan operation and deployment of Galebreaker Screens will help you operate your tower safely and pro-long the life of your cooling tower structure.

  • Galebreaker provide both temporary and permanent solutions:
  • Up to 64m wide (210ft) and 6m high (20ft)
  • Manual gear drive or chain hoist retractable systems
  • Standard and saline specifications
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