Anti-freeze in CH system?

A dumb question perhaps but I have a good reason for asking. My wife has inherited a house 280 miles distant which she visits about once a month. Fairly modern straightforward system. Gas (Calor) boiler with programmer & frost-stat, gravity DHW & pumped CH. Through the winter the boiler is programmed to heat for a few hours each day. Calor are supposed to top up the tank every month or so. The elderly neighbours, who live 1/2 mile away, keep an eye on the place for us. Gas ran out just before Christmas so we had to chase down there with several oil filled rads & time switches.
Draining and refilling the whole system regularly would be beyond my wife. I was thinking that if the CH was antifreezed it would be quite simple for her to switch off boiler & immersion, close mains water stopcock and drain DHW cylinder (thus dumping contents of storage tank as well). On next return reverse the process. She could cope with this.
The only pratfalls that I can think of are any effect anti-freeze might have on system components or copper and the propensity for anti-freeze to find potential leaks/weak spots. Is there something I haven't thought of?
Many thanks, and best wishes to all for 2010.
Nick.
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On Fri, 1 Jan 2010 14:10:11 -0000, "Nick"

Personally I have not heard of "antifreeze" of any sort being added to a CH system but I'm sure others will say if they have . Usually systems have some sort of Frost setting or are set to come on at a preset low temperature using a programmable thermostat . Obviously you are concerned about burst pipes so could you not just drain down the system completely until the winter is over ...clearly we don't know what your wife's plans for the house are long term .
Why would you even be considering draining down and refilling every moth ?
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wrote:

Thanks, I've not heard of antifreeze being used in a CH system either (hence my post) and I suppose there are good reasons for that. One being that CH systems don't freeze under normal usage. In this case the usage is not normal. The house is generally unoccupied and the fuel supply appears to be unreliable. The system is equipped with a frost stat which is quite ineffictive if there is no fuel. I am trying to devise a solution that will be workable for my wife but also of economic value. She would not be able to drain down/refill............... see op above. Wife & I are both not far off receiving our bus passes. We both realise that this course might be detrimental to the property, however it may be in preferance to burst pipes. Unfortunately the dear old place has seen little maintenance in the past 30 years. My wife has yet to decide what she will do with the house. I suspect we may refurbish and retire there. Possibly demolish & rebuild. Thanks to you and all those that have responded to my plea. Good luck,
Nick.
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http://www.screwfix.com/prods/74586/Plumbing/Central-Heating-Treatment/No-Nonsense-Central-Heating-Inhibited-Antifreeze-5Ltr
Bear in mind the concentration required may make it quite expensive.
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http://www.screwfix.com/prods/74586/Plumbing/Central-Heating-Treatment/No-Nonsense-Central-Heating-Inhibited-Antifreeze-5Ltr
Yes, very. So much so, that Andy Hall, who used it in the heating branch which fed his outside workshop, designed the system so he could drain it into a tank, and refill from the system from the tank again. The cost of loosing the Inhibitor-Antifreeze if you needed to drain down was simply prohibitive (you need lots of it, and it's very expensive).
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Fri, 01 Jan 2010 14:10:11 +0000, Nick wrote:

<snip>
The right stuff is Sentinel x500 inhibited antifreeze. http://www.screwfix.com/prods/73826/Plumbing/Central-Heating-Treatment / Sentinel-X500-Inhibited-Anti-Freeze-5Ltr
If the programmer doesn't have a frost protection mode then I'd swap it for one that does, or parallel a frost protection stat across it. That way you don't need to set it to run at all. Many boilers will protect themselves, with their own frost stat, but that won't protect the house itself against burst pipes.
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Mick (Working in a M$-free zone!)
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mick wrote:

Mick,
Surely no amount of 'stats' on the system will protect it against frost if there is no Calor gas in the tank to fuel the boiler? BTW, there is already a frost stat on the system. ;-)
Your "snipping" left out this important bit of information:
"Calor are supposed to top up the tank every month or so. The elderly neighbours, who live 1/2 mile away, keep an eye on the place for us. Gas ran out just before Christmas so we had to chase down there with several oil filled rads & time switches."
BTW, there is already a frost stat on the system. ;-)
Must have been a good party that you had last night. :D
Cash
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Cash wrote:

Ignore the typo error of BTW, there.... - I'm still recovering too! Bloody sore head. :-(
Cash
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On Fri, 01 Jan 2010 16:43:46 +0000, Cash wrote:

X~(
<grin>
My point was that he should just leave it to the frost protection - no need to set the heating to run even for a few hours per day. That would save gas and, perhaps prevent the same problem occurring again. He didn't say *where* the frost stat is and it makes a big difference. There's no need to raise the inside temp to much above freezing to protect it (about 5C is ok). Doing so creates a big temperature difference with the outside and is very inefficient in terms of fuel usage.
...wish it had been a good party. I have to avoid booze & non-prescribed "fun" thingies (for medical reasons)!
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Mick (Working in a M$-free zone!)
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mick wrote:

In my experience over the years of attending many flooded houses due to water leaks, the only sure way to prevent problems in unoccupied properties during the old winter frosts is to turn the water off at the outside stop-tap and drain the system down (including the cylinder if fitted), as frost stats and heating systems seem to follow "Sods Law" and have the occasional problem when least expected.

I'm in somewhat similar 'medical' circumstances myself Mick, but at my age, I sometimes say "what the hell" and just let the old Jack Daniel's tickle the back of the old throat with its rather smooth taste.
The trouble is, I'm rather partial it, and I find that when I start on the stuff, I just cannot put the bottle away until there is a rather large 'dent' in its contents - but we only live once, so a couple of times a year I give in to temptation and enjoy me-self, and besides, it takes the edge off the protestations of SWMBO! LOL
Cash
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Thanks Mick, there is a frost stat in the system, see above. Unfortunately this is quite ineffective if there is no fuel to power the boiler. Nick
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Nick wrote:

Not sure the anti-freeze wouldn't end up as gas in the system when hot.. I suppose it doesn't in the car..
If have had a rad freeze up on me once.
Thank god for Car Body filler.
Cant see that it would be anything but good for the copper work. Car rads/cylinder heads are, after all., primarily copper, and light alloy, and te stuff is saturated with corrosion inhibitor.

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On Fri, 01 Jan 2010 15:38:16 +0000, The Natural Philosopher

Can't speak for car radiators being mainly copper but Cylinder Heads ??? That doesn't sound right .
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Usenet Nutter wrote:

those are generally these days aluminium alloy castings (light alloy). rads are still copper to the best of my knowledge.
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much like they were saying:

Car rads?
No, plastic, pressed steel & ally.
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Adrian wrote:

Christ. Are they?
Been a few years since I took one apart..
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On Fri, 01 Jan 2010 18:21:51 +0000, The Natural Philosopher

Aye and an equally long time since you looked at a cylinder heid ...I had Sunbeams and Avengers many many years ago ....25 probably ...and they had ally heads . :-)
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Anti freeze for CH systems is most certainly available but your wife will have more problems than you think in draining the hot water cylinder. Much better to use a frost protection stat to protect all the pipes in the house. Being economical with the heating could just cost you a LOT more in rectification work later.
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wrote: <snip>

Thank you. Please can you tell me what further problems we may encounter in draining the hot water cylinder. I am just trying to think about this problem logically and appreciate all sensible input. The plan, so far, would be to install a valve to drain the DHW cylinder. This valve remote from the cylinder and located close to the mains water stopcock. This valve also separate from the existing draincock situated on the cylinder. Remote drain would be piped to a nearby drain. By positioning the two close to each other, the task should be easier for my wife.
Frankly, it's bugral use using a frost stat if there is no fuel. As recently exampled.
Nick.
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<snip>
Intrigued now - how long does a tank full of Calor Gas last when the central heating is set to frost protection? Unless it is a very small tank and/or a very large house I would have expected a tank full to last all winter.
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