Ice Storm - No Power Means Glycol Mistake!

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Old 12-12-08, 08:01 PM
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Ice Storm - No Power Means Glycol Mistake!

I live in MA and we're supposed to be without power for a minimum of 4 days...

So I drained the water lines and the hot water storage tank which is heated by the boiler. The heating system has 50% NoBurst glycol in a closed loop system which runs to the baseboard heaters and the hot water tank. By mistake I emptied the glycol out of the hot water storage tank...about a gallon came out before I realized it wasn't water. So here are my questions:

1. how do I add glycol back to the system? I've read to use a drill pump connected to the low drain on the boiler (Buderus) and to open an air vent - then pump until fluid comes out the airvent...is that correct?

2. why did only 1 gallon drain from the hot water storage tank? an air gap perhaps?

3. there is a 1/2 inch copper line that runs to what looks like an expansion tank. On that same tank, the glycol line runs in and out of it via a valve. There is a schrader valve on the bottom of the tank. Does this tank just add water to the system on an as needed basis as some of the water evaporates in the system?

4. any other tips for how to fix my screw up?

thanks, John.
 
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Old 12-13-08, 07:21 AM
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John, I'm a lil confused ...

You said "hot water storage tank" ... by this do you mean an Indirect fired water heater (domestic hot water) ?

The heating system should have had a tag on it that it is filled with glycol mix ... I'm guessing that you just missed that ? If not, it's a good idea to tag it for future...

Were you intending to drain the heating system? or the domestic water system when you let the glycol out... and you accidentally turned the wrong valve?

Glycol in a heating system should be monitored periodically for PH ... it that hasn't been done in a while, it probably should be done now ...

1. I've never done it, hopefully someone will come by with an answer.

2. Hot water tank ... still not sure what ya mean ...

3. That tank... the schrader valve sounds like it's an expansion tank, but those other lines running in and out? I dunno ...

4. Take pictures ... upload to free account on Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket and give us a link to view them ...
 
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Old 12-13-08, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
John, I'm a lil confused ...

You said "hot water storage tank" ... by this do you mean an Indirect fired water heater (domestic hot water) ?

The heating system should have had a tag on it that it is filled with glycol mix ... I'm guessing that you just missed that ? If not, it's a good idea to tag it for future...

Were you intending to drain the heating system? or the domestic water system when you let the glycol out... and you accidentally turned the wrong valve?

Glycol in a heating system should be monitored periodically for PH ... it that hasn't been done in a while, it probably should be done now ...

1. I've never done it, hopefully someone will come by with an answer.

2. Hot water tank ... still not sure what ya mean ...

3. That tank... the schrader valve sounds like it's an expansion tank, but those other lines running in and out? I dunno ...

4. Take pictures ... upload to free account on Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket and give us a link to view them ...
I'm going to take pictures a bit later today...

the hot water tank/heater is heated by the hot water (glycol) coming from the boiler. The boiler also heats the water/glycol mix that goes to the baseboard heating loops.

I knew the system had glycol in it but didn't realize the valve I was turning was for that loop instead of the hot water in the storage tank - it had a red handle which I though meant "hot" not glycol - my dumb mistake.
 
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Old 12-13-08, 09:56 AM
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Glycol

I think you will be safe until the power comes back on but yes, that glycol needs to be replaced.

Make sure you drain the domestic side of the water heater unless it is in a area which you don't think will get below freezing.
 
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Old 12-13-08, 03:45 PM
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Get a test kit and check your concentration to find out what temp you are protected too. Chances are 1 gall won't have enough effect.
 
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Old 12-14-08, 08:28 PM
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Ok...figured out what's going on in the design...the tank is indeed an expansion tank...the hot water/glycol lines run thru an air purger that sits above the tank and the air purger has a air vent on top to get rid of excess air..there is also a cold water line with a check valve and a fast fill valve that will add water to the closed loop if the pressure drops...so this all makes sense...now I'm back to my original issue...how to add glycol to the system...I could open a faucet on glycol loop and and add glycol with a drill pump...I guess i'd need a check valve attached to the pump so the existing glycol doesn't drain...

1. would a washing machine hose hooked up to a drill pump do the trick (with a check valve)?
2. Would the existing air purger and air vent then automatically purge all the air in the system?
3. How long would it take to purge the excess air assuming I previously (by mistake) emptied the equivalent of 1 gallon of glycol out of the system.
4. If the glycol loop was pressurized to say 14psi, will it automatically repressurize to that psi as any excess pressure will bleed out of a relief valve?
5. I guess my other option is to connect the glycol supply pump to the hose bib, close the valve below that bib, close the other zones, and then bleed the system by pumping glycol thru that loop (then the others) and draining it at the back of the boiler while watching for the glycol to exit without air.. is that a better method that relying on the system to remove air?

Here is a picture of the cold water line, check valve/back flow preventer, fast fill valve and the pressure tank...you can also see the hose bib that i'm proposing to add the glycol via...it's on the return line of one of the baseboard heating loops.

www.momentskept.com/temp/plumb.jpg

here are 2 pics showing the entire system...5 baseboard loops (on sep. stats and circulation pumps) have still to be connected...it's a total of 7 zones

www.momentskept.com/temp/Plumb2.jpg

www.momentskept.com/temp/Plumb3.jpg

thanks, JOhn.
 

Last edited by scubaguyjohn; 12-14-08 at 08:58 PM.
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