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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Ohio Valley
    Posts
    28
    I have been told personally by a fellow that did refrigeration repairs for years that he added METHYL ALCOHOL (METHANOL) to systems that had small amounts of water in them. He said he learned this from an older fellow that did this. And he claims it worked. He did this on R-12 and R-502 systems, so he said.

    Is this advisable?. With the blends in extensive use now, could there be a chemical reaction of the refrigerant or the oil with METHANOL? A person's personal safety could be jepordized. Sounds risky to me, in more than one way.

    A good vacuum pump with a digital vacuum gauge is the safe and correct method; I know that for sure.

    He spiked my curiosity, so I decided to ask all of you about this.

    Would appreciate any info and/or personal knowledge on this.

    Thanks, sonny


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
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    1,376
    Maybe he was joking or something ,whats the logic behind doing such thing?

  3. #3
    Bad Idea!

    That would be a "Gilligan's Island" type of repair. Only one you would use on a mineral oil/ CFC system which was mission critical and there were no filter driers available to replace the one's inside the wet system.


    Only a hack would use such a method during normal scenarios.
    And only someone who isnt schooled would pass along such a trick to someone else.


    I have never used alcohol, (Thaw-Zone), to service a wet system.
    But if I ever had, I would certainly never tell anyone that I had!
    Another one to stay away from is red dye. The manufacturer's name for it is "Dytel". Some refer to it as "dye". But that is the wrong use of the term.

    In this industry, the term "dye" makes referance to Florescent Dye. And the manufacturer's name of the product is Spectronics Florescent Dye, used in many systems safely for leak detection.

    But this is not the best answer for all systems and all leaks. It is a tool which needs to be learned and worked with to see how to best utylise it.

    And it is never to be mistaken or confused with dytel, that red dye stuff.

    Anyone who would use dytel would use thaw-zone and probably lick a frozen flagpole, without being dared first.



    Now ... about a vacum pump and moisture in a sealed system.
    A vacum pump sucks and therefore lowers the pressure inside the sealed system. Right?
    When the pressure drops low enough, water in any amount will begin to vaporize and start towards the vacum pump.
    When it gets to the pump, it immediately saturates the oil inside the vacum pump which renders it practically useless.
    It is like using a mop to pick up water from the floor.
    Once the mop has had it's fill of water, it can hold no more and all your doing ... if you keep on moving the mop ... it you are using up energy!
    Nothing more and nothing less.

    So what does any normal person do once their mop is saturated, (full), ??? They go wring it out! They empty the water from the mop!

    We need to use that same practice when we use a vacum pump on a sealed system.

    There are methods of getting water out of a system with and without the vacum pump.
    It all depends on the size and configuration of the system, what type of oil is used inside the system and the temp range of the system; A/C, Med temp, freezer, cryogenic, etc.


    For instance, a drop of water in a cap tube system which holds a charge of 8 oz of freon will be in serious trouble if this moisture is not dealth with quickly.

    The larger the system, the less sensetive the metering device(s) and components will be to the water inside the sealed system.
    In larger systems the driers are bigger so they can hold more water. Plus the larger systems can usually have replaceable core filter driers. These are much easier to change the drier core and they take much less time to do so.
    Whereas on a small system it can take a lot of tools just to replace a drier on a cap tube system which holds less than three pounds of refrigerant.



    Your vacum pump is NOT your first line of attack when trying to remove water from inside a sealed system.

    For a thread which has exhausted this topic already, visit this one.
    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread....4&pagenumber=1


    I'm not picking on you. I just know that twenty guys already looked at what you wrote. And they were waitig for an answer.
    So I chose your question to make an example of.

    A lot of people have 90% of what they need to do a bang up job. Sometimes they just need a little more clarity or some points explained. That is what I try to do sometimes.


    And now I'm gonna hear some flak for posting so long a responce on such a simple topic as this.

    My reply; I ain't writtin gfor YOUR benefit! I'm writting for the benefit of those WHO DONT KNOW yet and are hungry/ eager to learn.


  4. #4
    Originally posted by valdelocc
    Maybe he was joking or something ,whats the logic behind doing such thing?
    He probably was not joking. The stuff used to be more widely used by some in the trade. But that was many years ago.

    The "logic" behind using thaw-zone or another such chemical with alcohol in it to free up a wet system was this;
    alcohol will attach itself to the water and keep it from freezing as it passes thru the metering device.

    Kind of like brewing your own "anti-freeze" inside the sealed system.

    The stuff does NOT remove the moisture from within the system.
    The stuff does NOT neutralize the water inside the sealed system from causing harmful affects!


    Water plus oil plus heat makes acid inside a sealed system.
    Acid eats the insulation covering on the motor windings causing the motors to ground short, burnout, go poof!

    Also, this coating from themotor windings is now traveling throughout the sealed system depositing little particles everywhere!
    So once you have your burnout and the compressor is changed .... you still have "stuff" all over inside the sealed system!

    Plus ya got acid mixed with compressor oil all thru your system.
    And it's kinda like "yeast" ... it never dies ... it is alive ... it just keeps on growing ... more and more with each new compressor you install in there!!!


    Ever question WHY multiple burnouts occur?
    The acid just keeps on breeding new acid and it never stops eating at your windings!


    Just like yeast used in baking bread.
    And the only way to kill it is to flush it out and then maintain a healthy check on your filerter driers and the systems level of moisture and acid.
    And this requires chemical testing.
    Some can be handled in the field using Sporlan acid test kits, some can use other little goodies for testing the system's chemistry.

    Once the system's been flushed out, compressor oil & filter driers changed regularly ... the system can regain it's effeciency.


    If this saves anyone even one compressor ... it was worth posting.



    (so THERE ........)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Ohio Valley
    Posts
    28

    Reply to Replies given to

    Thanks for your input to my inquiry.

    R12rules: Your point about the vacuum pump not being the first line of attack is well taken. I am aware that the system has to be dismantled and steps taken to dry it out as much as possible before the vacuum is applied - including Nitrogen purge and changing oil and driers.

    valdelocc: He was not joking. His logic was apparently a "short cut" that he had gotten from another person.
    In any case, this "short cut" could be the long and expensive way.

    I'll pass your replies along to him. I am interested to see how he will answer them.

    Your replies were friendly and straight put. I appreciate it.

    Sonny




  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    East Stroudsburg, PA
    Posts
    13,215
    It's a nono.

    Put a 13 EEEE boot up his ass for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Santa Cruz, Ca.
    Posts
    356
    Darn it! I wasn't going to post a response here because now I have to talk like an "old guy".

    I think only part of the info about using alcohol was used. Back in the old days of using R11 to flush systems, many techs used some alcohol on systems that were badly contaminated with water. The alcohol was forced into the system prior to putting the system into a vacuum. Alcohol will mix with water and because of the low boiling point of alcohol, will remove the water more easily during evacuation.

    I haven't heard of this method being used lately. I wouldn't be comfortable with using alcohol in the newer oils.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Tucson, Az
    Posts
    337
    As CondensedDave Usually says: The only thing that belongs in a refrigeration system is refrigerant and oil!
    Jim
    Tucson, Az
    Keeping the Ice Cream Frozen!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    most of the time in the Philippines
    Posts
    1,211
    You know, Highside Chemicals still makes their Thawzone product. With today's high quality vacuum pumps and micron guages, IMHO, there is no need to go this route. A system/unit that passes a 500 micron blank off test coupled with a new drier in the refrigeration circuit is the way to go.

  10. #10
    Originally posted by Linden Swanson
    Alcohol will mix with water and because of the low boiling point of alcohol, will remove the water more easily during evacuation.
    I never knew that.
    And I had even worked with "a mature retiree", (an ol fart).

    The guys I have heard recomending thazone were recomending using it inside an active system. Not using it as a blotting agent in order to abosrb water and vaporize out during evacuation.


    Well ... there goes another one of the many bubbles burst in the list of ol wives tales!


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2

    Lightbulb Adding alcohol additives

    I found this on a site and wanted to share.
    Desiccants & Driers

    By Norm Christopherson
    Alcohol Additives

    Some technicians add alcohol-based additives to a moisture-ridden system to prevent moisture from freezing and restricting the metering device. Modern zeolite molecular sieve desiccants have the ability to adsorb these additives to an even greater degree than moisture. It is possible for a desiccant that has already captured moisture to release some of that moisture and replace it with the alcohol additive thus reducing the moisture capacity of the desiccant.


    Norm is a technical writer, seminar speaker and test proctor for EPA, 410A and ESCO & NATE certifications.

    He can be contacted at nchristo@juno.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Medford Oregon
    Posts
    807
    Linden Swanson is corrrect, us old timers used
    it to incease water removal during evacuation
    this was later distorted and people actually
    left the alchohol in the sytem to prevent freezing
    and blocking cap tubes and txv's. That was really
    never an issue, acid creation was and still is
    so if want to use this stuff please scratch the
    term "Mechanic" off your business card.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    East Stroudsburg, PA
    Posts
    13,215

    Re: Adding alcohol additives

    Originally posted by f e s
    I found this on a site and wanted to share.
    Desiccants & Driers

    By Norm Christopherson
    Alcohol Additives

    Some technicians add alcohol-based additives to a moisture-ridden system to prevent moisture from freezing and restricting the metering device. Modern zeolite molecular sieve desiccants have the ability to adsorb these additives to an even greater degree than moisture. It is possible for a desiccant that has already captured moisture to release some of that moisture and replace it with the alcohol additive thus reducing the moisture capacity of the desiccant.


    Norm is a technical writer, seminar speaker and test proctor for EPA, 410A and ESCO & NATE certifications.

    He can be contacted at nchristo@juno.com
    And he is a frequent poster on this site......

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