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MikeMike Member Posts: 1
need input on pros and cons of system antifreeze, mainly best way to add to system, percentage, and best type. I,m in Boston area. How to pump it in and how about effects on efficiency. Basically, enlighten me. Thanx


  • Steve EbelsSteve Ebels Member Posts: 1,287
    Pros & cons

    Pro: Simply put, your stuff won't break if it freezes. Please reference the picture of two cars encased in ice in someone's garage due to a burst pipe elsewhere on the Wall. (The title is "Frozen") We had to replace an entire heating system including the boiler in 2003. Cost was over $15K by the time all the repair work was done to the walls from accessing the frozen piping.

    Con: Cost of antifreeze,

    possibility of cross contamination of your potable water supply if an approved backflow preventer is not installed,

    slight decrease in system efficiency due to the decrease in btu carrying ability of antifreeze

    could require a different circ but that would be uncommon in most residential systems,

    Antifreeze must be checked and maintained periodically to ensure that it's still doing its job.

    Typically AF is added to a system by the use of a small pump connected to a boiler drain or other access fitting. Concentration percent will depend on what AF you are using as well as what temp you want to protect your system to. Those figures are usually listed on the AF container.

    In summary, it's a good investment if you are away from your home for extended periods during cold weather and/or have no backup heat source.
  • RoosterBoyRoosterBoy Member Posts: 459
    heres a thought..

    ;Stay freeze,no burst, food grade antifreeze , quality you can use....use a backflow preventor anyway.:)

    anti freeze for Your home comes at a cost and its maintinance and operational cost requires diligence.

    anti freeze is probably going to save you dollars the first time you dash off to town and leave the garage door open. even 50 50 isnt invulnerable .it turns to slush and it really isnt inclined to Flow. today some ladds were blasting the ground with weed burners and it isnt very cold outside yet whatever is in their system needs antifreeze protection not Weed burner being applied:)

    when you have radiant heat and continous circulation anti freeze may help the heating system, boot back up and protect the boiler, in an electrical outage of any length of time or lack of fuel delivery...

    a way to determine how many gallons to mix is based on the lengths of pipe and there sizes and the boiler and buffer tanks capacities. you can determine how thick a mixture with a site glass from there ,to match what you want in the system. in some systems, the Boiler is seperated with heat exchangers from the system, as the boiler cant be lost in really extreme conditions. and It is jazzed up with anti freeze...other systems like snow melt ,it may have a couple of seperate isolations with various levels of antifreeze....when you have a system with anti freeze and your real adamant on maintaining a real close percentage then you need a means to introduce it into the system such as a seperate make up tank with solution and its own pump and pressure switch or a maint. man who checks things periodically....well...i hope that helps.
  • DrewDrew Member Posts: 158

    If you'd like, I have a paper that explains the use of antifreeze in boiler systems and it's upkeep. I can fax it to you or email it. Email or call me if you would like a copy.
    [email protected] or 800-678-6625 Ext.108
    If you let me know Where in the Boston area< I can direct you to a purchase location.

    Noburst Antifreeze
  • DuncanDuncan Member Posts: 1
    pros and cons

    Steve and Weez have it about covered. When an Alaska guy talks about anti-freeze, I listen.

    Not sure if they mentioned it, but if it's an existing sytem, leaks will appear that weren't apparent with just water. Count on it, and on having the system drained to repair them at least once.

    Components with rubber seals may need attention, glycol is hard on them. If I can find 'em, I replace washers and seals with Buna N or Viton seals. All hose fittings get brass caps.

    Another "pro" would be peace of mind. Because of the long list of "cons" I only recommend it for vacation or intermittently occupied homes, or if there are piping runs in unconditioned spaces.

    If the main circ fails and the glycol cooks, it will need to be replaced, it turns acidic.

    Best way to add to system is with a hose fitting/ball valve/hose fitting setup plumbed into the main supply or return line. Fill with a high head utility pump setup.

    Percentage, I'd go for 20 year coldest day protection if practical.

    Best type is designed for heating systems, has buffers and corrosion inhibitors. Unless the boiler has aluminum components - consult manufacturer. Cryotek and Dow are two good ones.

    Heating and pumping efficiency of different concentrations can be found in a good anti-freeze paper at Not endorsing the product, just the paper.

    Dan, I don't think your link at "Hot Tech Topics" to that site is working anymore.
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