Running a business means being prepared to deal with your equipment. Your chiller, for instance, has to be kept running smoothly, or you lose product to inefficiency and malfunctioning machinery. A great way to always be on top of your chiller’s requirements and keep it working well is to have glycol tested regular and having spare on site.
What Glycol Does
Glycol is a water-miscible coolant that is frequently used in heat transfer and cooling applications. It provides better heat transfer parameters than water, and can be mixed with water to provide a variety of heat transfer characteristics. Glycol comes in two varieties: ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. Though both materials are bad for living things, propylene glycol is most often used near food and ethylene glycol is most often used in industrial applications.
To understand the purpose of glycol, you must first understand how a chiller works. A chiller consists of two key parts: a refrigeration unit which uses electrical energy to produce a cold fluid, and heat transfer coils which move cold fluid from the refrigeration unit to the target area and hot fluid from the target area to the refrigeration unit. Typically, the target area is the inside of a freezer or some other object that you want to cool. The refrigeration unit often consists of a compressor with some compressible heat transfer fluid such as freon.
Every chiller has an operating temperature range. This temperature range is determined by several variables, the most important of which are the boiling point and freezing point of the heat transfer fluid. Glycol is prized as a heat transfer fluid because it can operate at a wide range of temperatures and can be mixed with water. The boiling and freezing points of glycol mixtures are a function of the relative amounts of glycol and water in the mixture.
The low freezing points of glycol mixtures make them ideal for cooling items below the freezing point of water. Thus, glycol/water mixtures are often used to cool freezers and similar environments.
The low temperatures associated with glycol mixtures make them useful for applications where a chiller must carry a large amount of heat must away quickly. Heat is a byproduct of many chemical reactions; glycol’s ability to carry heat away quickly makes it useful for maintaining the temperatures of chemical reactions. For this reason, propylene glycol/water mixtures are often used to cool fermenters in brewery applications.
Glycol is an important heat transfer fluid in industrial applications. In addition to offering excellent heat transfer parameters, ethylene glycol tends to discourage algae growth in heat transfer equipment.
Wet environments such as your chiller’s pipes and heat exchangers can grow algae and other unwanted things. This can hurt the workings of your chiller and also just smell bad. Glycol discourages the algal growth and prolongs the life of chiller parts.
Important Points About Using Glycol
Getting the ratio of water to glycol right is crucial to maintaining your chiller at peak performance. Getting the ratio correct ensures that the freezing point is lowered enough and works smoothly in your system. That ratio will depend on several factors and should be hashed out with an expert on your machine. Once you have the ratio right, your machine will work smoothly for a long time.
It’s also important to use the right type of glycol for your chiller. Substituting automobile antifreeze or other random chemicals can clog the heat exchanger and interfere with the proper working of the chiller.
When Might You Need Some Extra Glycol On-Hand?
Now that we know why you want glycol in your chiller, it’s time to ask how much you should have around. Since your chiller running low on glycol can cause problems with the machine, you will want to keep the right percentage of glycol/water in storage for your regularly scheduled chiller maintenance program. A few more gallons than what you use for maintenance can also be kept around for emergencies, such as leaks or the need to do a deep flush of the system. Having back up glycol on the premises means that the ratio and product in your chiller always the right one for your machine, no matter the circumstances.
What This Means, and How JC Younger Can Help
Fortunately, JC Younger not only includes routine maintenance as part of our rental packages, we sell glycol refills for your machine. We have Dowfrost or DOW SR1 listed as ready to ship out under Industrial Accessories on our website.
Why do we carry Dowfrost and DOW SR1 in particular? It’s one of the best glycols available for industrial chillers and can be used effectively for your application. This formula also has inhibitors to help avoid corrosion in your chiller. We always a recommended a 50 percent glycol to water mixture, for anytime chiller is outside or your set point is lower than 50 degree.
JC Younger has been in the chiller rental business for decades, so we have a lot of expertise to share about chillers and glycol for chillers. If your business uses chillers, and you want to be ready for any glycol emergency, contact us.