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Glycol Question

Wayco Wayne_2Wayco Wayne_2 Posts: 2,472Member
that glycol needed to be checked every year because it could become acidic with age. I had another fellow tell me this just wasnt so. What do you know and where can I find the straight poop. WW

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  • I agree with you.

    I had a long talk with Utility Chemicals about their "No Freeze" glycol and they do recommend checking once a year. They all sell boosters to keep the ph correct. It's not a good idea to mix brands. Apparently freeze protection does not dwindle but ph does turn acidic over time. Anything that can tell you the ph of the solution works just fine. You want it 7 or above IIRC.

    Let me address my glycol pet peeve for a moment. You need to be sure what's in your can before you go mixing your solution. For example the "No Freeze" that is sold here (CT)is already 50/50 in the CAN!. I had to special order 100% glycol because I'd already over diluted and had to dump some and putting 100% back in was the easiest way. I had a hard time getting it, they wanted me to buy a skid. So if you've been mixing your glycol and coming up short, this is why. And I know a LOT of guys who have.
  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    Only if you abuse it

    does it turn acidic.

    Extended overheating, adding poor quality blend water, constant fill water or O2 ingress(non barrier tube). Ph goes off due to the piping materials used, etc.

    The more expensive glycols have a better inhibitor package last longer, and offer better protection to the components. Stay away from RV anti freezes :)

    Compare the spec sheet on the Dow HD (heavy duty) products to see the difference.

    Test it yearly or every two years to catch a problem while it is still treat-able. 15- 20 years is not unusual for glycols that are treated fairly.

    I removed a 22 year old solar system a few weeks back with the original glycol. I cut open some of the copper piping we removed and the end of the panel piping and it was in excellent condition.

    If glycol goes bad in a closed loop system... look for the cause, it's not usually the glycols fault.

    A few common mistakes... inadequate circ sizing, especially on copper tube boilers snowmelts etc. Use in EPDM or PB or any non barrier tube.

    Extended overheating, ie a plugged radiator core in your auotomobile, we all know that smell!

    Or installing glycol in a dirty system or even a new system that wasn't cleaned properly. Exessive flux residue doesn't get along with transfer fluids well.

    hot rod

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  • Drew_2Drew_2 Posts: 158Member

    I'll jump in here and add some other information that may be helpful.
    I usually recommend the once a year check that Wayne mentioned. And as hot Rod said, It can last for years if treated correctly.

    Oxygen and Heat being the problem. These cause the breakdown of glycol into acid.
    STANDARD CLOSED SYSTEMS:The inhibitor in standard glycol( for steel, cast, copper,and brass)is a high pH inhibitor. Ours and Dows inhibitoris a phosphate. It works to buffer the acid that's created by the breakdown of the glycol. This buffering depletes the inhibitor and the pH of the fluid will drop over time. As Hot Rod mentioned, he's seen 15-20 year old product. I've seen product that was ruined in 2 weeks. This was a defective burner.
    OUTDOOR WOOD BURNING SYSTEMS: I reccomend these be checked every month during the heating season. Reason:Most of these are open systems. Oxygen is continuously integrated into the fluid causing the glycol to breakdown at a much quicker rate. They also have less control over heat of the fluid.

    MPF warned about concentrations of the glycols. Amen! I've seen some blenders of antifreeze with extremely creative specifications. I've also had a Distributor tell me " I don't care how much glycol you put in it, as long as you print -100 on the package and it's at the cost I expect". We had to decline doing business with this Distributor.
    Beware, even if your honest about a -100 burst point, this can be from 57% to 100% glycol.
    Well, time to get off my soapbox and go to work.

    Drew/Noble Company
    Home of Noburst
  • Thanks...

    For the input!
  • DarrellDarrell Posts: 303Member

    While we're on the subject...

    I'm using Hercules Cryotec cuz that's whats in town. They give three different temps. Flow protection, burst protection, and the -100 on the label. I'll be putting this in my Dad's outdoor wood's gotta work...what dilution do I use? Too thick and it'll burn. too thin and it won't go.

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  • FYI

    Freeze protection: The temp at which the VERY FIRST ice crystal starts to form in the solution

    Flow Protection: Temp at which the solution will cease to flow

    Burst protection (the 100* you see on the can) The temp at which the solution will freeze hard enough to expand and burst pipes. Up to a certain point the solution actually contracts as it freezes but then upon reaching burst point reverses that trend and begins to expand.

    ASSUMING the woodstove is outside, you want FLOW protection down to whatever the lowest temp you can expect to see in that area.
  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    If it is an open un-pressurized OWF

    I wouldn't waste the money on glycol. First they hold anywhere from 150- 300 gallons. You may be looking at $500.00 or more for glycol. The glycol inhibitor will go south rather quickly in an open system, and they rarely freeze unless un-fired for extended periods in sub freezing weather. Quite a bit of evaporation from those open OWF, you'd be adding glycol on a weekly basis.

    They can be piped so the pump runs either non stop, or for a freeze protection.

    If this is a small capacity, under 50 gallon, pressurized boiler, perhaps glycol makes sense?

    hot rod

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  • DarrellDarrell Posts: 303Member

    Oh no, no, no, no! You don't understand! The salesman swears that dad will be making money before the first winter is over. And at the price of fuel oil...well, let's just say the salesman really got a boost to his pitch from the price of oil. This happens here every ten years or so...and we make money putting in all manner of homestead systems...then we take them back out and they sit in the back yard as yard art. But, I digress...

    My dad is 68, and still working 2 week hitches on the North Slope, so unless Mom is going to stoke the will go cold. Also, we don't have any real hardwoods, just spruce, so it'll burn lots of wood. It holds three hundred gallons or so, and at possible minus 35, I can't move the water through it fast enough to keep it from freezing. So, glycol it is.

    And, I get to cut it into a perfectly fine, fully functional, highly optimized, WMC/Tekmar/Radiant/fancoil/DHW system. I could scream! The install of the HX, pumps, and controls alone would buy alot of oil...if it weren't Dad and Mom.

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  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    Spruce, minus 35, transmission loss, standby loss, glycol factor

    pollution issues, etc I'd guess less then 20% or the thermal energy in that wood will actually make it to the home's heating system.

    Would it be better to take that 6-8 grand, plus all the operating and maintenance headaches and upgrade the insulation and current boiler? I doubt they will ever see a payback on that installation at their age.

    hot rod

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  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
  • DarrellDarrell Posts: 303Member

    No doubt, it would be less expensive and more productive to put the money into other technologies for operational savings, but, he was a good salesman. In fact, the building is a working aircraft hanger with an apartment for Mom and Dad. The last number I heard was his fuel oil cost about 4500 for a whole year, and I was fairly happy with that! I just don't see anyway he can save any significant amount by burning wood.

    My issue s controlling the thing so I'm not heating the wood boiler with the fuel oil across the HX. I've seen several "proven controls" that are sold with these boilers and so far none have impressed me...too much control lag and "switchover stutter" for my taste. I'm gonna try simple dpdt aquastats...I think...unless somebody has a better idea.

    Maybe I should start a new post...

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