What’s the Difference Between a Flush and a System Cleaner?
We’re often asked for a flushing fluid when what’s really needed is a system cleaner. So what’s the difference?
Flushes are typically used just to rinse the system out. This includes newly-commissioned thermal fluid systems, where it’s necessary to remove any lingering construction materials such as weld slag and even nuts, bolts, and other debris which can be harmful if not removed.
Flushes are also useful for removing residual, degraded thermal fluid from systems where a thorough draining is not possible. This is extremely important if the old fluid has degraded, as it will contaminate new fluid and shorten its life.
Flushes can also be used when transitioning to a different, possibly incompatible fluid. An example of this would changing to or from silicon-based thermal fluids, which are typically not compatible with other fluid chemistries.
The most important thing to remember about flushes is this: They will not clean the system nor can they break down any sludge or carbon build-up. That type of job usually requires a system cleaner.
Thermal fluid system cleaners are used to dissolve sludge and break down carbon build-up. System cleaners can be broken down into three main categories:
- Solvent-like cleaners are typically used for severely-fouled systems. They dissolve sludge and carbon in a matter of hours. These types of cleaners are not usually used to clean while running production
- Additive-type cleaners are concentrates that can be added to existing fluids to clean moderately-fouled systems over a few weeks. They is especially useful for larger thermal fluid systems where solvent-like cleaners can be cost prohibitive. These types of cleaners can often be used while running production.
- Hybrid thermal fluid and system cleaners allow production to run as normal while simultaneously cleaning the system. These can be considered a system cleaner and heat transfer fluid all-in-one. They clean the system and then continue to function as a long-term thermal fluid.
Michael Bates, Technical Director
1-800-446-4910 ext. 111