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Protect Your Coolant System in Winter

Is your glycol concentration ready to protect?

As the temperature drops and winter sets in, it’s critical to check the glycol concentration in your system. This is an important measurement to ensure freeze protection.

Coolant suppliers typically provide established minimum and maximum concentrations to help optimize performance, including protecting against freeze. Those for NORKOOL™ and AMBITROL™ Industrial Coolants can be found here.

Before winter months, it’s important to confirm the concentration and associated freeze point of your coolant is adequate for your location. The freeze point should not be higher than your region’s low temperature. Glycol concentration and freeze point can be measured with a handheld refractometer or on a coolant analysis from Dow. You can also refer to the chart included in the NORKOOL and AMBITROL Engineering Guides for a complete list of concentration and associated freeze points.

In the instance your concentration is too low, or freeze point is higher than your region’s low temperature, the recommendation is to increase concentration by adding glycol to the system. However, operators need to keep in mind freeze protection is reduced when glycol concentrations exceed 70 percent.

Why should you check freeze point intead of burst point?

Freeze point refers to the temperature the first ice crystal forms. The burst point, a much lower temperature, is the point the fluid will expand and cause piping to burst. Confirming your coolant is at the appropriate concentration to protect against freezing will mean little concern about pipes bursting, even if your location shuts down during cold winter months.

Are you protected if your system shuts down?

There is low risk of your system freezing during normal, continuous operation if glycol concentration is appropriate. Glycol concentration should help protect from freeze even when the system is shut down. Although there are two recommendations to consider if this happens:

  1. Do not drain the coolant. Exposing the system to air can lead to immediate and severe corrosion. 
  2. Circulate the system on occasion, if possible, to avoid sediment from collecting.