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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland USA
    Posts
    207

    Non Flamable Brake Cleaner for Line Set Cleaning?

    Anyone ever try a non-flammable solvent for line set cleaning that costs about 10% of what the normal line set solvents cost?

    Here is the MSDS from one that costs about the same as a number 1 combo from McDonalds.

    http://www.crcindustries.com/faxdocs/msds/5089.pdf

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    260
    I was thinking that starter fluid (ether) would work, it's similar in smell to rx11 flush and it dissolves grime/grease/oil and evaporates without a trace even on your rag! Best for cleaning tools, maybe not an r410a system, at under 3$ a can it might not work.

    Sent from my Event using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    4,322
    I use that CRC stuff to clean out crankcases when rebuilding semi-hermetics. Seems to work really good for that so I assume it would make a good lineset flush too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland USA
    Posts
    207
    CRC 5089 is labeled as a de-greaser and solvent. This is good news, because I actually want to start cleaning line sets with a very powerful negative 130 inch water column vacuum and just vacuum air thru the line set. I can then spray the non flammable brake cleaner into the open end of the pipes and suck about 1000 cubic feet of air and solvent thru both pipes at the same time. When I finish the solvent, the 200 mph air inside the pipes will quickly dry them out and migrate all the oil to the aluminum lined bucket outside the house. I should be able to clean any sized line set for a fraction of the cost and not have mess with freezing or high pressures.

    I want to have a shiny copper pipe on the inside when I am done no matter how bad the previous burnout was. Anybody who has done a brake job knows that stuff works pretty good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Grayslake, IL.
    Posts
    62
    Just blow the lines with nitrogen and let it go!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland USA
    Posts
    207
    I used to do that. But, I wanted to see how much oil remains in the line. So I ran a rag thru the line with a wire puller and probably pulled out 2 tables spoons of the nastiest black burnt oil you could possibly imagine. This was years ago. The gas flow doesn't remove all the oil.

    The old oil is really sticky and the sheen that coats the inside of the line really adds up. Some of my competitors say to always change the line set too. I think it is possible to clean it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Warsaw Mo.
    Posts
    187
    How much time are you going to spend on this?
    I can see trying to clean it if its in a finished area; but it seems its more time consuming than just replacing it. If you can!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland USA
    Posts
    207
    The line sets are very thick copper. They should last 100 years without ever leaking. I'm thinking to clean them with my powerful 3 stage drain vacuum and $3 worth of non flammable brake cleaner. Larger line sets will require $10 worth of cleaner.

    Setup should take 10 minutes. I can clean both the liquid and suction lines at the same time in 5 minutes. Then I will let the vacuum continue to run for 20 more minutes to migrate all the thinned oil to the vacuum at 100 cfm airflow. This should be equivalent to sending 3000 cubic feet of nitrogen thru the line set (or 75 bottles). I should end up a nice shinny dry line set every time for less than $10.

    So, the actual work of cleaning the line set should be 15 minutes. The really neat thing is that this method will work equally well on 5/8 thru 2 5/8 line sets with the same 15 minutes of labor. The negative 130 inch water column draw of the vacuum could probably even clean evaporator tubing, but I always install new equipment anyway. It is a lot faster and cheaper than replacing the line set.

    I'll make a video of this on my next system change out next week. You guys and watch it, but I really am making it for my customers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Warsaw Mo.
    Posts
    187
    I can see saving the customer some money but is your time not worth anything or the use of other equipment?
    How much did you spend on that vacuum?
    I just wonder who's saving money and who is losing money in the long run!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    718
    Best to check with the manufacturer of the compressor in the system and see what their opinion is. Likely, it's not going to be endorsed.

    The better option is to use the flush systems that have been manufactured and tested for use in our industry. And perhaps consider how you would feel as the customer, and your technician wants to try something unproven on your system. You probably wouldn't want to be their guinea pig.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland USA
    Posts
    207
    I 100% believe the manufacturer knows best. They have to process all the warranties. My engineering job also involved manufacturing and warranty autopsies. The field wasn't HVAC, but the methodology is still the same.

    So, I will ask an HVAC manufacturer if the line set needs to be shiny clean with no oil or chemical residue left inside. Just pure copper without any oxides. I'll let you know what they say. I actually have a friend of a friend who is a Lennox quality control engineer.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Warsaw Mo.
    Posts
    187
    Why don't you ask them the correct question instead of beating around the bush?
    See if they will ok the actual brake cleaning chemical.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Frederick, Maryland USA
    Posts
    207
    I am going to. However, I started this thread so that I can answer the question my self. And the answer I'm finding isn't what I expected. I'll have some test results in 15 minutes. I just answered a mystery question of white power in a Trane system last year that was clogging up the expansion valve. Here is the video of that.

    I showed this video to the Lennox engineer that I know. He thought that the power was from a previous burnout of a previous system at some point in the past. The current system was new with sweet smelling oil. But, the TXV clogged up. I now know exactly how that white powder formed.


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