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Is there a plumber in the house?


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I have a gas fired boiler in my Cape house, circulating heated water through Pex tubing embedded in the light-weight concrete floor.  Been very happy with the system for 10+ years.

 

Had a plumber in yesterday to inspect and clean the boiler.  He says the boiler is fine, but that the antifreeze (ethylene glycol) in my piping system has corroded and degraded many of the components - circulators, valves, sensors, etc.  He points to discoloration where these are attached, and says there is leakage as a result.  Recommends replacing a load of parts, with a $2300 estimate.  Can this be right?  I always thought that antifreeze had corrosion inhibitors, not corrosion inducers. 

 

So if I do as he recommends, what do I use for a non-corrosive antifreeze?

 

Thanks.

 

LL

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I've been told by plumbers that the anti-freeze IS corrosive and leaks will develop at pump gaskets etc., so I just keep the temp in my garage floor a little above freezing and skipped the anti-freeze.

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Don't know if this applies in your case, but antifreeze in cars will lose their anti-corrosion additives over time.  Both are ethelyne glycol (I think) so I guess it's the same stuff.  In cars you can use a voltmeter to see if the coolant is still good.  If you get voltage between the coolant and the negative of the battery, you got problems.  Again, don't know if that applies in this situation as I don't know if your anti freeze unit is grounded.  If you don't want to do a full flush, there are rechargers you can add to coolant that's gone 'bad'.  But for the record, the guy who taught me told me to always change and flush in this case, he didn't believe in those recharge chemicals.  Either way, you're supposed to do it before it actually corrodes everything. 

 

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Just about every glycol system either does or will develope leaks, probably more seepage than leakage. We have several buildings with glycol boiler systems and it is just a slippery solution and will find it's way through fittings and valves. If the system needs additional solution the new solution typically has inhibitors. The solution is checked with a hydrometer just like anti-freeze in an automobile, You're checking specific gravity. The typical system does have filters and traps that keep the solution clean, although I'm told by the boiler guy that when it turns black and nasty looking it's actually inert and that is happy glycol. Our systems use propylene glycol. I would outreach to another plumber, and perhaps do more studying on the internet. There's some good info out there.

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