The use of industrial inhibited glycol and water mixture is highly recommended for water chiller systems. The ethylene and propylene are the two glycols which are commonly used in these systems. The main purpose of using glycol is to prevent the freezing of fluid and ensure consistent flow at operating temperature. Inhibited glycol also prevents the formation of corrosion and protects metals such as brass, steel, copper, iron, and aluminum. Water chiller systems are treated with inhibited glycol and also protected from algae and bacteria that can grow and slow down the fluid system performance. Here are some basic tips about glycol usage that can help operators.
Never mix glycols – The glycol brands or their types should never be mixed. It can result in some inhibitors precipitating out. It will also result in the creation of gel and clog the filters which would prevent proper flow rates. In case the glycol types are switched, it is necessary to run a thorough flush and clean the system.
Never use automotive-grade antifreeze – It is better to avoid usage of automotive-grade antifreeze in the cooling process as these types of glycols are not made for industrial applications and can cause problems with heat transfer and fluid flow. The automotive glycols contain silicate-based inhibitors that can coat heat exchangers and attach pump seals which restrict the flow of gel.
Ethylene glycol for Industrial applications – Ethylene glycol is a standard heat transfer fluid that is used in most industrial applications. It is a type of glycol that can be used for any application where low-toxicity content is not a priority. It has moderately acute oral toxicity and needs to be used in processes where the fluid can come in contact with potable water, food or beverage products.
Propylene glycol usage – It is similar to Ethylene glycol when it comes to freezing protection and corrosion prevention but is known for having a lower level of toxicity. This glycol is easily disposable than ethylene and safe to handle. It is commonly used in the food industry and dairy farming industry where the users come in contact with the fluid frequently.
The difference in Ethylene and Propylene glycol – At extreme cold temperatures, the propylene glycol becomes viscous and changes the heat exchange rate slightly. Some chillers are designed for that compensation where such glycol type can be used. Ethylene is known to be cheaper in price which makes it more economically feasible for companies that require it in bulk.
Use distilled water – It requires expert knowledge and planning when selecting the water that needs to be mixed with glycol. Water needs to be of good quality and filtered which meets the requirements of the process and helps the manufacturer.
Careful with city water – Initially, deionized water can be used to fill chiller but it should not be maintained in that state thereafter. If the chiller has been designed for use with water that is deionized, the fluid will attack certain metals within the chiller and cause damage to the components. Always make sure the chiller is compatible with city water or distilled water. Tap water usage should be avoided as the water from the ground contains deposits and additives which can decrease the life and increase the maintenance requirements of the chiller.
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