How does a glycol cooling system work? If you are trying to achieve better temperature control or cooling, whether because you operate a cooling tower, make wine, or are even worried about your pipes freezing in your building, you may have come across the term glycol. Glycol can help with these goals and many more, but it is important to understand how to use it and how it works so that you can be sure that it is the right fit for you.
What Is Glycol?
Glycol is a type of organic compound that belongs to the alcohol family. It contains two separate types of glycol: ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. Ethylene glycol, commonly used as antifreeze in vehicles and HVAC systems, is known for its sweet taste; however, it is toxic. Propylene glycol is non-toxic and so sees use in a wide variety of consumables, such as cosmetics and oral hygiene products as a preservative and moisture-retaining agent and HVAC systems.
Glycol Cooling Systems
HVAC Cooling systems can benefit from the addition of glycol because of how it interacts with water. The freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit; however, by mixing glycol with water, its freezing point can be reduced to as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit. This serves a number of uses, the most obvious of which is that it helps to prevent pipes from freezing in cold weather. The low temperatures achievable through the use of glycol are also beneficial in cooling systems, which can remain highly chilled at a lower temperature than would be possible using water alone. This is why glycol cooling systems are becoming more common than ever before.
Glycol Is Pumped Through A Closed Loop System
The first step in setting up a glycol cooling system is to establish a glycol chiller in a closed loop system. A chiller is a type of refrigeration system that cools a tub of glycol to reduce its temperature. The glycol is then pushed through a closed circuit of tubing or piping that is connected to the glycol chiller. This circulates cooled glycol and helps to reduce the temperature of whatever is attached to the system.
Heat Exchangers Are Connected to Inlet and Outlet Legs
In order to benefit from the chilling effects of glycol, a cooling system must be connected to the closed loop system established previously. Different systems may use different types of heat exchangers, such as jackets on a tank, stainless steel plate exchangers, stainless steel cooling snakes, or a number of other options. Each vessel that needs to be cooled must connect its heat exchanger(s) to the inlet and outlet legs of the main cooling line.
Glycol Circulates Through the Heat Exchanger and Cools Vessels
Once the heat exchangers are connected to the main cooling line that is constantly circulating the glycol and water mixture, the glycol will be able to circulate through the heat exchangers and efficiently cool the vessel. Exactly how this system must be set up varies depending upon each individual’s needs and the system itself, so working with an experienced cooling system expert can put you on the right track to setting up a safe and effective glycol system in your own building.
Contact The Glycol Cooling System Experts At Tower Water
When considering the addition or improvement of a glycol cooling system, you will benefit from consulting with experts about how to achieve your goals. Everything from the ratio of glycol to water in your system to what temperature you would like to maintain must be achieved through a comprehensive understanding and setup of a glycol system. Most systems use glycol to water in a ratio of one to three, but this may not be right for your situation.
Setting up a glycol system is best done in cooperation with the experts, especially because different brands of glycol should never be mixed and some varieties are toxic.
The experienced technicians at Tower Water set the standard in water treatment and would be happy to assist you in setting up or improving a glycol cooling system. We can do a careful inspection of your current system and make personalized recommendations about how best to integrate glycol cooling into the piping you already have. Reach out to schedule an appointment to speak to an expert and determine what type of glycol is best for you, in what ratio, and how to connect your heat exchangers for the best performance. Call us at (212) 518-6475 or reach out to the experts at Tower Water to schedule a consultation.