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What percentage glycol / water solution do brewmasters usually operate at? Trying to protect from freeze up to 1 degree Fahrenheit.

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7 answers

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Glycol percentage and the resulting freeze point can be determined using glycol manufacturer's charts and checked on-site with a refractometer.  We recommend a freeze point of around 20 degrees lower than the chiller set-point.  For breweries this usually means 30 - 40% glycol.
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We (Cold Shot Chillers) typically recommend a USDA inhibited propylene glycol. You will need a minimum of 36% in order to protect your chiller from freezing at 1F. The higher the concentration the less efficient the heat transfer. Use a refractometer that is designed for propylene glycol to periodically check your percentages. 35% to 40% will be fine for your application.
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2 PARTS WATER 1 PART GLYCOL
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The most common recommendation I've seen is for brewers to use a 35 pct glycol and 65 pct water solution.
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Keep it simple: All inhibited propylene glycol should comes with a performance chart on the container just like your auto antifreeze. (NOTE: Never use automobile anti-freeze in your chiller) If you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for your ambient conditions your chiller will be safe and the glycol manufacturer should back that up .You should never use less than 30% concentrated inhibited polypropylene glycol which will protect your chiller down to 8*F and at 50% down to -28*F ambient.
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We (Pro Refrigeration) typically recommend a 35% glycol to water mixture.  I have listed a link to our website that will explain all that you will want to know about glycol percentages and some additional information you may find useful.

http://www.prochiller.com/files/AllAboutGlycol.pdf

Let me know if you have any additional questions and I will be glad to help.

Thanks,

Wesley 
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There is no typical. It depends on your specific conditions and location. As a rule, you need to protect your system to the coldest winter ambient temperature or 15 degrees colder than your temperature controller's set point, whichever is colder. If you are located in MN where temperatures may drop to -30F, protecting your chiller to 13F (28F typical brewery glycol temp. minus 15F) will do no good. Make sure you are planning for your worst case scenario. Check the glycol charts provided by the glycol manufacturer to determine percentages based on the temperature that you determine to be your worst case scenario. 

For 1F degrees, you will be in the range of 35% to 40% PPG to Water. Verify with your glycol provider as this could fluctuate slightly based on the brand of glycol used.
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