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  1. #1
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    Feb 2010
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    Putting the Dolphin to Sleep... Once and For All!

    One thing I have noticed while browsing this board is a few threads on the Dolphin Chemical Free Water Treatment System be Clearwater. There seemed to be some people advocating it, and others... well not so much. Those who advocate the Dolphin really seem to think it's great. They argue against the criticism saying that 'they don't understand the science'.

    Well I agree, they dont understand the science; because there is no science behind the Dolphin... period. The Dolphin, according to Clearwater, say that it changes the molecular structure of the Calcium ion by hitting it with an electro-magnetic pulse.

    Huh?

    I also read on this board, (written by a Dolphin advocate) that the Dolphin can even desalinate sea water?

    Bigger huh?

    First off, let me explain how scale is formed. Hardness, in the form of Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) are both unique ions in chemistry. They belong to a group of elements that have 'inverse solubility' meaning they become less soluble the higher the temperature in a body of water. Now, calcium also adds to the alkalinity of water when it is dissolved; the more calcium, the more alkalinity, the higher the pH (usually). Now, city water is usually between 7.5 and 8.0 or so, it doesnt really matter. When you begin to cycle the bulk water up in a tower, the pH begins to rise; when the pH reaches 8.3, the alkalinity begins to break down into bicarbonate alkalinity or 'P' alkalinity. This is the monster that is the precursor to scale. When the bicarbonate alkalinity becomes over saturated, Calcium, as Calcium Carbonate begins to fall out of solution and onto heat transfer surfaces. This process is accelerated greatly when heat is introduced into the equation.

    Now, the Dolphin lovers are going to say, "Whatever Waterboy, I don't have any scale so it must work."

    Okay, I challenge you to do this: Go the Dolphin unit in the middle of the summer, keep the controller plugged in (the one monitoring the conductivity and controlling the bleed) but unplug the actual Dolphin unit. Leave it unplugged for the rest of the summer. Your results will be identical to what you are getting now. I guarantee it!

    It's a trick people, like mind reading or dowsing or whatever. Here's how they do it, (so I have heard. I have no first-hand knowledge): There is a calculation to figure how many cycles (conductivity setpoint for bleed) you can run without treatment of any kind at 100 degree condenser water. If you look up my other posts you will find it. Now in addition to that calculation, many municipal water sources have a nuturally occuring amount of Phosphate in the water, usually around 1.4 to 2.1 ppm as PO4, so the Dolphin people (agian, this is my assumption if what they are doing) use this in their equation as well to calculate thier max cycles. Then they calculate the amount of Chlorine in the city supplied water, which can be as high as 0.5 ppm. With these factors, they can easily calculate how many cycles they can run without completely destroying your condenser and keep bio in check. BTW, the Dolphin claims to 'encapsulate' bacteria. I laughed so hard I peed when I read that.

    Now, for those that say, "But it works because I can see all the calcium in my sump" Again, another trick. Remember what I said about heat? Well, in many cases, the calcium becomes oversaturated. When that happens, it begins to fall out of solution as well, right? Right, but because the Dolphin runs the Cycles so low, the constantly incoming makeup water is what is doing the majority of the cooling, not the tower. So, the calcium does not scale, it can't. There's nothing hot enough for it to adhere to because you are running so much 60 degree make up into the tower system. Instead, it just falls out in the sump.

    Okay, so to the Green freaks who say, "But there's no chemicals so it environmentally friendly"

    (Originally posted by me in another thread)
    Okay, let's talk Green Technology. If on a chemical program, I can run a tower at say 5 cycles, and on the Dolphin I can run 1.5, then which is truly "Green"? Here's food for thought-

    If you have a 1000 tons of cooling that averages 80% load, 12 hours per day, at a 10 degree Delta T, then the evaporation rate would be 30 gpm or 21,600 gallons per day. That is fixed. However the bleed rate at 1.5 cycles is 60 gpm or 43,200 gallons per day. At FIVE cycles the bleed rate falls to 8 gpm, (yes that much) or 5,760 gallons per day. So by using chemicals, which are organic and non hazardous or harmful to the watersupply, you are saving almost 14,000,000 gallons of water per year. In California, that's HUGE! Now, at roughly $2.00 per thousand gallons of makeup, and $2.50 per thousand gallons of bleed, (sewer) that's $63,000 in real money that a facility would save by using good water chemistry. Now stop and think how much you would pay for that chemical program. A good rule of thumb is $1.00 per ton per month. So, that would be $12,000 worth of chemical and service for a year. That's a pretty big payback, verses the Dophin.

    That is the problem with the Dolphin, they sell a piece of equipment that does absolutely nothing except suck electricity and wastes water. Here are some links of studies done where the Dolphin has been used:

    http://www.prochemtech.com/Literatur.../dolphin1.html

    http://www.prochemtech.com/Literatur.../dolphin2.html

    http://www.prochemtech.com/Literatur.../dolphin3.html

    I hope I have been helpful. There are some chemical free devices that do work to remove calcium, but beware... calcium, in addtion to being a scale forming nuicance, also acts as a pH buffer against corrosion on steel. If your water treater uses a good program, then there is nothing 'Greener' and more effective that a quality chemical treatment!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
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    435
    This is a lot like the "logic" behind Trane's auto descaling Intellipak II with water cooled condenser, I recently asked about this unit on another of your post.

    I am not familar with "Dolphin" but I enjoyed the science behind your post.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Pa
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    758
    Well this dolphin seems odd but I will tell you the one we have works and works great. Our office took care of the plumbing and pipe fitting for a textile plant and while I was there doing some fitting their plant engineer was tickled pink over this thing. Before the dolphin they used chemicals and they had to punch the tubes every 6 months. Now the dolphin has been in for over ten years and we took over the ac work at this plant. We have been taking care of this chiller for over 4 years and every year we would pull the heads and guess what SPOTLESS! Also about your water theory this plant has records of all of their water usage for over 20 years and once this dolphin was installed the tower water usage dropped over 25%. This is an open loop on a chiller. I am not sure why this one works but doesn't work for anyone else? We have extremely hard water up here but at the end of the day they have saved lots of cash, they saved on water, energy and dont have to buy chemicals. Now when I am punching tubes half a mile away in the middle of summer because of poor water treatment I wish for the dolphin.
    FYI they offer a 100% guarantee after they test the water. I believe it’s a 90 day trial.. Can someone confirm

  4. #4
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    Apr 2007
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    Pa
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    758
    I noticed you said chemicals not being harmful? Who are you getting your chemicals through?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by HvAckid82 View Post
    Well this dolphin seems odd but I will tell you the one we have works and works great. Our office took care of the plumbing and pipe fitting for a textile plant and while I was there doing some fitting their plant engineer was tickled pink over this thing. Before the dolphin they used chemicals and they had to punch the tubes every 6 months. Now the dolphin has been in for over ten years and we took over the ac work at this plant. We have been taking care of this chiller for over 4 years and every year we would pull the heads and guess what SPOTLESS! Also about your water theory this plant has records of all of their water usage for over 20 years and once this dolphin was installed the tower water usage dropped over 25%. This is an open loop on a chiller. I am not sure why this one works but doesn't work for anyone else? We have extremely hard water up here but at the end of the day they have saved lots of cash, they saved on water, energy and dont have to buy chemicals. Now when I am punching tubes half a mile away in the middle of summer because of poor water treatment I wish for the dolphin.
    FYI they offer a 100% guarantee after they test the water. I believe it’s a 90 day trial.. Can someone confirm
    Well, I'm sure you won't try this, but you should. Go unplug the Dolphin and give it a few months. Your tower will still be in the same condition.

    There are so many other parameters involved that are the likely cause/source of your system's current condition. In the last 10 or 15 years, most municipalities have begun using higher amounts of Phosphate in their supply water. They have also begun using Reverse Osmosis at many water treatment plants as well as Nano-Filtration. If you can, post your city water information. I need Total Hardness, Total Alkalinity, Chlorides, Phosphate, pH and Conductivity. Also, if you dont mind, the set point on your Dolphin controller.

    Bottom line, no matter what you beleive it's doing, it not. The guarantee they provide is a load. It is filled with so many conditions it's rediculous. As for a trial, I've never heard of a trial with a Dolphin. They have to remove a large section of the condenser water pipe and that costs big money.

    As far as what your saying about it out performing your previous chemical guy, I don't know what to say. Maybe you had a bad chemical guy, maybe he was using the wrong type of treatment? What I will say though is that I am almost sure that since the Dolphin's are almost exclusively used and installed by Mechanical Contractor's, you probably had the tower or chiller replaced and that's how you got this device. I would also venture to guess that the previous tower or system had an overflow problem with the float or poor chemical control equipment. That's where the savings in water likely came from. Maybe I'm wrong and you just had a really crappy treatment company doing the work...? Either way.

    And lastly, what is extremely hard water to you? Hardness does not cause scale. Hardness is scale, but it is caused by other things, not the amount of hardness in the water.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2010
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    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by HvAckid82 View Post
    I noticed you said chemicals not being harmful? Who are you getting your chemicals through?
    This is my favorite question...

    Water treatment chemicals, those nasty things that will burn your skin off and make you sterile all while causing cancer and killing fish and all that, right?

    Not even a little bit. What is in most common cooling tower treatments? Let's go ingredient by ingredient and assess the 'hazardous' value of each.

    The largest ingredient: Deionized water, ie pure water. No need to explain, 100% non hazardous

    Phosphates: Do you drink Coke, Dr. Pepper, eat Chocolate, Eggs, Milk? All of these are loaded with phosphates. And the 'hazardous' chemical Phosphate going down the drain is in the form of Calcium Phosphate, which is what 70% of your bones are made of and the form of calcium you drink in a glass of milk.

    Okay, no hazards so far. I'm just hungry.

    Triazole: Used for copper protection. Also there is high levels in human breast milk, and in amost all anti-fungal medications you have ever taken. Not hazardous and classified as such by all regulatory bodies.

    I know what your thinking. The dosage of triazole in a cooling tower is 8 mg/L roughly. The dosage a human being would take is as high at 600 mg.

    Alright were good so far.

    Those nasty polymers: The type of polymer used in water treatment is also used in toothpaste, hand sanitizer, moisturizer, pet shampoo, and... you get the point.

    To answer your question, we make our own chemicals. And they, like most of the others, are classified by the State of California and the EPA as non-hazardous waste.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Pa
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    758
    all of it is hazardous in large doses. Is water hazardous? NO not in small quantities but if you drink too much your brain swells and you DIE!!(Proven fact) come on seriously. Have you seen a tower after a feed pump takes a crap and dumps its load it destroys the galvanized steel. Did you know too much juice (apple, tomato, oj and so on) cause ulcers and you can die if the ulcer goes untreated. Propylene glycol (non toxic)? I dare you to drink a gallon of it and we will talk tomorrow? Also I have had some tower chemicals get on my skin and it tingles which is not usually a good sign. But maybe I am arguing the wrong point a drop might not kill you but more then that maybe?

    Look bottom line. I have towers/chillers with no chemicals and guess what boat loads of labor to clean and get up and running properly. I have towers and chillers with chemicals and guess what they are clean. I have 1 chiller/tower with the dolphin and guess what SPOTLESS. So I don't know what you are trying to prove?

    We had evapco come to a site, took water samples, and they would stand behind their product. So what do you say to someone who believes in their product/service and say "if it doesn't work we will give your money back".
    They specifically say that there are certain requirements such as hardness of water. Up here it can range from 120 ppm to what I have seen approx 220ppm.

    This is funny because we just picked up a building with a closed loop WSHP with a BAC cooling tower that is on the same domestic water supply (PA American Water). The tower NEVER had water treatment and is 12 yrs old and all of the fill must be replaced. We started to clean the tower when these huge white chips (scale formed from hard water) would fall out of the fill. Explain please?

  8. #8
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    the chiller is going on 45 yrs old and the tower is 20's. Is it hard to believe that it, the dolphin, doesn't work?

    The chemical guy has been in this area before I got into the trade and we still work with him.

    All I can say is 10+ years and this bad boy is still kicking. Not a drop of chemical or softwater. I need to check but this water is around 140ppm hardness. I have seen systems with less and all messed up. And the tubes have not been touched in 10+ yrs. Now how many people on here can say they didn't have to punch tubes on an open loop chiller with hardness of 140ppm? And if they didn't have chemicals I am sure they had to punch tubes because of bacteria build up and sludge.

    I am going to stop after this because it is going no place fast. All I know is that the damn thing works and works great.

  9. #9
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    May 2001
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    Western Wa
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    We have both. I get to see the results, and the phosphonate/polymer stuff we use along with a stabilized Bromine biocide give us the best results.
    God Bless our Veterans

    God Bless the USA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by HvAckid82 View Post
    the chiller is going on 45 yrs old and the tower is 20's. Is it hard to believe that it, the dolphin, doesn't work?

    The chemical guy has been in this area before I got into the trade and we still work with him.

    All I can say is 10+ years and this bad boy is still kicking. Not a drop of chemical or softwater. I need to check but this water is around 140ppm hardness. I have seen systems with less and all messed up. And the tubes have not been touched in 10+ yrs. Now how many people on here can say they didn't have to punch tubes on an open loop chiller with hardness of 140ppm? And if they didn't have chemicals I am sure they had to punch tubes because of bacteria build up and sludge.

    I am going to stop after this because it is going no place fast. All I know is that the damn thing works and works great.
    You are one of thousands who says it works. No sweat, we all beleived in Santa Clause at some time in our lives. What I don't understand is that you say you have one Dolphin that you have had for 10 years that works great, and several towers that dont have the Dolphin and they dont perform that well... either you work for a bunch of idiots who like wasting money on chemicals, or they don't agree with your assesment. Or you work for a Dolphin distributor.

    Either way, every single thing I have stated can be scientifically verified and referenced in proven fact. If you want to argue, well then... don't let the facts get in the way of the truth. And in regards to hardwater, I'll say it again HARDNESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SCALING. HARDNESS IS SCALE, BUT IT DOES NOT CAUSE SCALE.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by HvAckid82 View Post
    the chiller is going on 45 yrs old and the tower is 20's. Is it hard to believe that it, the dolphin, doesn't work?

    The chemical guy has been in this area before I got into the trade and we still work with him.

    All I can say is 10+ years and this bad boy is still kicking. Not a drop of chemical or softwater. I need to check but this water is around 140ppm hardness. I have seen systems with less and all messed up. And the tubes have not been touched in 10+ yrs. Now how many people on here can say they didn't have to punch tubes on an open loop chiller with hardness of 140ppm? And if they didn't have chemicals I am sure they had to punch tubes because of bacteria build up and sludge.

    I am going to stop after this because it is going no place fast. All I know is that the damn thing works and works great.
    Wait, not to beat a dead horse here, but are you saying that your condenser water has 140 ppm of hardness? That's insanity! I run towers at 900 to 1200 ppm of Total Hardness without scaling. 140? Are you kidding, the city water hardness at my house is 220 ppm. Of course the tower is clean, 140 could never build up enough alkalinity to even cause scale.

    Seriously, I know I sound a little like a jerk here, and it really has been a long day, and I apologize for my tone. But this gadget has caused more towers in California to collapse than you could ever beleive. If you are indeed saying that your cycled bulk water is at 140 ppm, then you need to fire your chemical guy and save some electricity by throwing the Dolphin in the trash. You dont need any treatment at all. I suspect the problems you are having with the other towers is being caused by your chemical guy. The only thing it sounds like you need is a pool float with some Bromine tablets in it.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterworld View Post
    The only thing it sounds like you need is a pool float with some Bromine tablets in it.




    On a more serious note, our municipality is visiting large water using facilities (including mine) and conducting a "water audit". The engineer contracted by the city is suggesting we raise our tower water conductivity from 1100 ppm to 1350 ppm, which, given our average city water conductivity of around 350 ppm, changes the cycles of concentration from around 3 to near 4. My chemical guy, who has never led me wrong, is on board, only cautioning that we raise the setpoint incrementally vs. all at once.

    When I've had stuck floats in my towers, conductivity has dropped as low as 450 ppm. I can only imagine if someone is running 140 ppm in their towers they must be moving a LOT of make-up water through those sumps!

    I've read pro and con about the Dolphin unit..it seems whenever a device stirs up controversy in this trade, the dispassionate data is almost always missing. Someone, somewhere, tell us how this thing is supposed to work, and don't sugarcoat it with terms that might raise "junk science" flags in anyone with a functioning brain. I'm still on the learning curve concerning water chemistry, but from what I've learned and read so far, I'll stay with chemical treatment vs. an inductor coil that has a high installation cost and no assurance it will work as advertised.

    One more point...what I've suspected is indeed happening...folks took a well-intentioned notion such as "green" and have corrupted it to make quick sales. If a product causes more waste than the supposed antiquated method it is purported to replace, it's not "green" at all. I've seen this in "energy management" efforts, supposed "green building" construction, and now we're talking about it with water treatment methods. Such insanity needs to stop before it kills any chance for a true "green" movement at all, which we need, if for nothing more than the fact that as time goes by, energy will be more costly.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    I can't confirm the 90 day money back trial but I can confirm the Dolphin being removed from several sites around here after about a year due to poor performance.

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