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testing antifreeze

spl_2spl_2 Posts: 7Member
Some manufacturers use strips, some other media. Is pro. glycol antifreeze all the same basically, and is there a universal way to test it so that if we change brands, it's no big deal for every tech to have a commone test kit?

Comments

  • Patrick_2Patrick_2 Posts: 26Member


    Glychol and antifreeze are not the same. Antifreeze should never be used in a system, it will coat the heat exchange devices and lower the heat exchange. We use a device called a refractometer made by Misco. Pretty slick, you put a little of the glychol on the end of it and look through the eye peice and there is a scale to tell you what you are protected to. I would recomend the one with the built in light, much easier to read.
  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    Two testers

    to consider would be a small digital ph tester, and a refractometer as Patrick Nope mentioned. Both are available through chemical supply houses or Graingers catalog. Strips will work to get you "in the ballpark" Meters are a bit more reliable and accurats, and easier to store.

    If you know the manufacture of the product being tested they will supply you with acceptable ranges and also offer more in depth testing if you provide them a sample.

    Hydronic antifreeze products are generally glycol based, but not always. Usually ethylene or propylene glycol base. There are a number of other fluids used for freeze protection in closed loop systems. Ground sourse systems often use methnol. and I have seen various silicone based anti freeze products used in solar applications.

    This is why an installer should always label the system to let others know exactly what's in those pipes.

    hot rod

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  • Glycol-it ain't the same!

    In dealing with commercial heating and chiller systems for the last 30 years, I've learned a lot. First, propy and ethylene ain't the same. They have different specific gravities. I agree with Patrick and Hot Rod that the only way to check it is with a refractometer. Don't even consider using automotive antifreeze in a system; as I have seen over the years. They contain corrosion inhibitors that coat the inside of the system, and really mess up the heat transfer characteristics. Ran out of message space, will continue on another E-mail. Hail Deadheads!
  • Continue discussion on glycol

    Last week we were checking out a system in a school that has several thousand gallons of glycol/water mixture in the heating and cooling systems. Our company has put ethylene in the system since startup. We found several empty barrels in the mechanical room that were labeled propy. Nobody fesses up; is it in the system or not? That really screws up your refractometer readings. So to what temperature are we protected to, and how do the two glycols interreact? Put the question to the pros and should have an answer by this week. Will keep you posted. Hail Deadheads!
  • what happens to a system with glycol

    in it, that the homeowner does not have serviced annualy? i heard something about the glycol becoming acidy.
  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    Glycol becomes acidic

    when the inhibitors are used up. This is why it is so important to clean the system and use proper quality blend water. A dirty system, or blend water that does not meet spec can deplete the inhibitor package right away.

    Systems that do not have O2 barriers are another reasom the inhibitors get depleted. Too low of a percentage of glycol (25% minimun) will not adequately protect the system either, as the inhibitor package is too weak. In a perfect world the inhibitor package would be blended to match the dilution mix. i.e. more blend water would require more inhibitors.

    If everything is installed, cleaned, blended, and filled properly the yearly maintenance is preventive, and the glycol mix should last years and years. This is why the ph number is so crucial. It represents when the inhibitors have been used up and the glycol will turn corrosive. Time to boost or change the fluid depending on the ph number.

    hot rod

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  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    Is the system leaking?

    I would wonder why there are additional barrels nearby! I'm not sure mixing the two types would be that serious. I have gotten conflicting opinions on this. I would be interested in you answer from the expert. It is always best to consult the manufacture of the fluids in questions.

    I have a connection in the engineering dept. at Dow heat transfer fluids division, I will try to get an opinion from him. All glycols start life from a a barrel of crude oil. The "cracking" process is what seperates the two types. Dowfrost for example is 95.5% PE with dipotassium phospate and water added. There is a secret ingrediant or two in there also according to Dow. Maybe it's just the color! :)

    hot rod

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  • To hot rod- glycol

  • To hot rod- glycol

  • To hot rod

    Sorry about that! Just learning to use this computer; don't have the skills necessary yet to be proficient; but at half a century old, I'm still trying to learn. Sometimes I put things out into cyberspace; be patient with me. You are right, it probably isn't that critical to mix the two; but I'm anally attentive about things like that. Gets my curiousity up and want to know the facts. I don't think that anyone in this business knows everything about everything. The good ones know where to go to get the information! I've worn out all my Holohan books-pages falling out and covers torn. Keep all my good stuff at home in my personal library. Have to call the wife to reference something for me when I'm on the job. She is a better troubleshooter than I am ; she isn't CFC certified!! How about that!
  • To hot rod from Joe

    Cut myself off again before finishing. You are right about the system having a leak. We spent a week at that account draining the system and doing the repairs. The job went in cheap, with no valves to isolate the wings of the school. They saved a lot of money by eliminating the iso valves. Heating systems never have to be serviced after installation. More importantly, don't add balance valves; cost too much, and are not necessary. Water goes where water goes. I love the NEW WAVE ENGINEERING!! Does this make me a Deadman, before I've passed away?
  • To hot rod from Joe

    Cut myself off again before finishing. You are right about the system having a leak. We spent a week at that account draining the system and doing the repairs. The job went in cheap, with no valves to isolate the wings of the school. They saved a lot of money by eliminating the iso valves. Heating systems never have to be serviced after installation. More importantly, don't add balance valves; cost too much, and are not necessary. Water goes where water goes. I love the NEW WAVE ENGINEERING!! Does this make me a Deadman, before I've passed away?
  • To hot rod from Joe

    Cut myself off again before finishing. You are right about the system having a leak. We spent a week at that account draining the system and doing the repairs. The job went in cheap, with no valves to isolate the wings of the school. They saved a lot of money by eliminating the iso valves. Heating systems never have to be serviced after installation. More importantly, don't add balance valves; cost too much, and are not necessary. Water goes where water goes. I love the NEW WAVE ENGINEERING!! Does this make me a Deadman, before I've passed away?
  • Aside about Ethylene Glycol

    A friend works in a plant that sterilizes medical products, food containers--and of all things--spices.

    All but spices are first placed in a warm, humid environment to encourage the grown of the nasties. Once in the sterilization chambers there is an elaborate series of precisely controlled temperature, pressure and humidity phases. At some point(s) ethelyne tri-oxide (ETO) is introduced. The ETO is REALLY nasty--poisonous and either explosive or greatly supportive of combustion. It's stored in liquid form and the tanks are kept full with liquid nitrogen floating on top of the ETO.

    The ETO is sucked? boiled? out under high vacuum and humidity. As the stuff from the chambers is distilled/filtered the major by-product is pure ethelyne glycol.

    Truly fascinating process. The entire multi 100,000sf building is under enough negative air pressure that an outside door is easily wrenched out of your hand when opening.

    They once had an incident where literally tons of some pure spice came in sealed inner packages. They all exploded inside of the chamber under the vacuum--$100,000s lost.

This discussion has been closed.

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