My oil company has suggested putting anti-freeze in my boiler to avoid
the possibility of freeze-ups.
It sounds like a good idea, but I was wondering if anyone has ever
done it and how did it work??
Specifically, does your system heat the same??
That is, does your home get warm as fast, and do you use the same
amount of oil/gas/whatever with anti-freeze as with water??
Anyone have any real life direct actual experience with this??
Keep in mind I don't know a lot about hot water or steam heat.
You say you have a boiler. Could that really be a water heater? Boiler
would infer (in my limited knowledge) a steam heating system. If so then I
would guess you would have a special antifreeze different from the
automotive anti-freezes I know.
If it has the same qualities as automotive anti-freeze, I believe it
would increase the boiling point and therefore the temperature of the steam.
That could cause problems and/or increase the effective capacity of the
distribution system. It would also mean for either hot water or steam
systems the efficiency would increase somewhat as it improves heat transfer
and it helps reduce corrosion.
And if it ever hits the flame via a leak it will burn if it is Ethyl
Glycol based such as car antifreeze suggest you insulate the pipes or
find a new plumber. If electric unit fine not gas
It's antifreeze made specifically for hydronic boilers
The bad news is that using glycol in your boiler reduces the
efficiency by 15%. Also, if your system is kept up to pressure by
your household water supply, you have to have a special backflow
preventer called a RPZ valve (this is true in my town--check with your
local plumbing inspector) which has to be inspected annually by a
qualified person. Otherwise you will have to have a closed system
which will have to be brought up to pressure periodically. I
personally wouldn't do it unless I had some area prone to freezing
(like a garage or a sidewalk) or I left my house unattended frequently
during the winter.
Water is more efficent than car antifreeze at transfering heat, it
will lower boiler efficency, If you put 100% antifreeze in your car
the interior heater core wont warm you as well, in the summer the
motor will run alot hotter. Why should your pipes freeze.
It all depends on what brand boiler you have. The newer boilers use
O-rings as a seal to connect the boiler sections together. They are
susceptible to a lot of things that can harm them. The old boilers had
steel nipples pressed together to join the sections. Not much hurt
them. Get out your instruction manual and see what it says. If you
cant find it, contact the manufacturer.
In the automotive field ethylene glycol has the reputation of leaking
through places where water won't. Given a perfectly sealed system, it
might not be important, but could be inadvisable in older equipment.
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