Anti freeze as opposed to water in baseboard heating system?

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Old 02-17-16, 11:58 AM
Z
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Anti freeze as opposed to water in baseboard heating system?

Hi everyone,
I have a question about the use of anti freeze in a hot water heating system as opposed to actual water. My neighbor just had his boiler replaced over the last two days by a "high end" plumber in town. His boiler cracked on the coldest day of the year, so he had no choice but to bite the bullet.
The boiler is oil fired for his hot water baseboard system. I noticed that the plumber used the following anti freeze in the boiler (Cryo-Tek™ - 100 | Heating Chemicals & Anti-Freeze | Hercules) .
What is the purpose of the anti freeze as opposed to regular water? I understand that it will not freeze, but if the boiler is operational, water will not freeze. How would a boiler be piped to run anti freeze? Would a fresh water line still be piped into the boiler to supply the boiler with water (that is does not need!)? What are the pro's and con's ? Will it keep any type of corrosion from forming inside the pipes?


Thank you,
Zack
 
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Old 02-17-16, 01:11 PM
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Antifreeze becomes corrosive if the levels are not kept up.. PH issues.. Usually a 50/50 solution is added..

Antifreeze I do not recommend unless there is an absolute need.. Like frequent power outages and homes that are only used in the summer like here at the Jersey shore..

Even if you lost power in dead of winter and the heat went off, well yeah your heating pipes will not freeze. But unless you blew the potable water lines out during the winterization of the home, then those pipes will be subject to freezing...

If anything I recommend and lean more towards a wi fi t stat to monitor house temps over antifreeze.. They send an alert to your phone when temps dip below a preset temp..
 
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Old 02-18-16, 09:03 AM
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Mike,
If levels are kept up (working pressure-reducing refill valve), won't the anti-corrosion additives in antifreeze offer greater protection to the iron/copper/aluminum/brass system than plain water (same as in your car)?

The usual argument I encounter is slightly less heat-transfer efficiency of antifreeze vs water.

I've got one of those mostly-empty vacation homes--so no choice for me.
 
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Old 02-18-16, 03:54 PM
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If you tie a make up water line to a system filled with an antifreeze mix, you will dilute it as makeup water is admitted.
I have seen this done by some installers on a snow melt system of all places (and heating systems of course)
You then run the risk of not maintaining a proper freeze point, but you also run the risk that the bacteria in the fresh water overcome the inibitors in the glycol and start to feed on it (propylene glycol is plant based) this causes a nasty sludge to form which can actually clog pipework and boiler passages.

So at that point we have gone from a product that is designed to protect your system, to a product that is trying to destroy your system.

As mike says, I have always believed that glycol has no bussiness in residential systems unless your heating a garage, or snowmelt system.
Obviously if you have a system that will not be used in the dead of winter, your going to use glycol as opposed to draining every year.
 
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Old 02-20-16, 05:55 AM
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I use it because of the same reason as two other posters. I haven't had any real problems over the30 yrs/ two boilees. It will find its way through the air vents, and the safety valve after a while, so i clean the air vents every year or so and I change the safety valve a little more often than normal. Unless there is some kind of leak [that should be fixed] there is no significant make up. There are test strips to check PH, and freeze protection .
Sid
 
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Old 02-20-16, 04:55 PM
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Following up with everyone. I also do not use unless needed. I usually add a heat exchanger if I add antifreeze for the areas I add antifreeze to.
Other problems with antifreeze is slow flow so you get slightly less heat. May require larger expansion tank and pump dependent on system.
As was stated must check PH every year after about 5 years and adjust as needed.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:49 PM
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Thank you everyone. I guess the plumber used the anti freeze because the homeowners are often away for periods of time visiting their son in CT. Based on the responses given, there is absolutely no reason why I need to use it.

Thank you as usual for the education!


Zack
 
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Old 02-21-16, 06:44 PM
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Ty for update... Dont be a stranger....
 
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