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Old 09-17-2019, 07:41 AM   #1
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Century Boiler Fluid and Aqua Hot and floor heating

After attending the ECOA tech talk yesterday at the ECOA Summerfest Rally, 3 or 4 owners talked about them having various problems with their AquaHot on new or fairly new coaches involving no heat from the AquaHot system (but hot water, and other variations of problems) and their discovery that the floor circuit heating system had either little boiler fluid in it, or insufficient boiler fluid in it. The commonality beyond some part of the system not working was that the factory installer had apparently put insufficient fluid in the system, or there was still too much air in the system that needed to be "burped" out of the system. Empty AH overflow tanks were often part of the signs of problems.

So, living in the south and not traveling in the North cold/snow areas if at all possible, I had not bothered to ever fire up my floor Aqua Hot Circuit. First checked overflow reservoir and it was empty. So, added Century (Yellow/green) Boiler fluid from on board supply. Took 2 quarts of new fluid to get to the right height in tank. Now running it continuously to let any air burp out and will see what happens. If you have not done it on a fairly new coach, you probably should.

Since I poured in a half gallon of boiler fluid, I needed to get some more and looked at Amazon prime for more supply and encountered some new decisions. First, when last bought a year or more ago, there was only standard Century Boiler Fluid (antifreeze) at a premixed concentration and the Amazon price was about $25.00 a gallon. However, there was something new..... a "highly concentrated" boiler fluid at about half the price (????) ~ $13.00 a gallon that you mix 2 parts distilled water with 1 part boiler fluid concentrate yielding 3 gallons of boiler fluid for half the cost (who knew that distilled water accounted for that much upcharge)(doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but heck, I bought 2 gallons to be shipped 2 day). Now I am sure that I have way too much boiler fluid for anything standard but you can't ever have too much of anything with these coaches. So file that away..... now there is a super concentrate at half the price for three times as much !?! --

Just FYI

And finally for new owners .... Don't ever mix the yellow/green Century Boiler transfer fluid with the pink/red Campco boiler fluid.... some people will tell you they are chemically equivalent, but virtually anyone who has tried it (and the professional service techs) will tell you that the two combine to start producing major problems with boiler fluid and the AH with sediment in the system. Century's web site now says "Century Boiler Fluid is now the only fluid used by AquaHot" so apparently the company now advocates on Century Boiler fluid in their products. Use one or the other, but don't mix.... and completely flush the system out before changing if you every are forced to change.

Also, new owners, you may have noticed that the Final Charge radiator coolant for the Cummins is red. The transfer fluid / coolant for the AH is yellow/green..... YOu dont want to change the AH color if you dont have to because now, if you have a leak, the color tells you what system the leak involves....red/pink equals engine and yellow/green equals AH.... Easy


Gary
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:19 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Gary.Jones View Post
After attending the ECOA tech talk yesterday at the ECOA Summerfest Rally, 3 or 4 owners talked about them having various problems with their AquaHot on new or fairly new coaches involving no heat from the AquaHot system (but hot water, and other variations of problems) and their discovery that the floor circuit heating system had either little boiler fluid in it, or insufficient boiler fluid in it. The commonality beyond some part of the system not working was that the factory installer had apparently put insufficient fluid in the system, or there was still too much air in the system that needed to be "burped" out of the system. Empty AH overflow tanks were often part of the signs of problems.

So, living in the south and not traveling in the North cold/snow areas if at all possible, I had not bothered to ever fire up my floor Aqua Hot Circuit. First checked overflow reservoir and it was empty. So, added Century (Yellow/green) Boiler fluid from on board supply. Took 2 quarts of new fluid to get to the right height in tank. Now running it continuously to let any air burp out and will see what happens. If you have not done it on a fairly new coach, you probably should.

Since I poured in a half gallon of boiler fluid, I needed to get some more and looked at Amazon prime for more supply and encountered some new decisions. First, when last bought a year or more ago, there was only standard Century Boiler Fluid (antifreeze) at a premixed concentration and the Amazon price was about $25.00 a gallon. However, there was something new..... a "highly concentrated" boiler fluid at about half the price (????) ~ $13.00 a gallon that you mix 2 parts distilled water with 1 part boiler fluid concentrate yielding 3 gallons of boiler fluid for half the cost (who knew that distilled water accounted for that much upcharge)(doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but heck, I bought 2 gallons to be shipped 2 day). Now I am sure that I have way too much boiler fluid for anything standard but you can't ever have too much of anything with these coaches. So file that away..... now there is a super concentrate at half the price for three times as much !?! --

Just FYI

And finally for new owners .... Don't ever mix the yellow/green Century Boiler transfer fluid with the pink/red Campco boiler fluid.... some people will tell you they are chemically equivalent, but virtually anyone who has tried it (and the professional service techs) will tell you that the two combine to start producing major problems with boiler fluid and the AH with sediment in the system. Century's web site now says "Century Boiler Fluid is now the only fluid used by AquaHot" so apparently the company now advocates on Century Boiler fluid in their products. Use one or the other, but don't mix.... and completely flush the system out before changing if you every are forced to change.

Also, new owners, you may have noticed that the Final Charge radiator coolant for the Cummins is red. The transfer fluid / coolant for the AH is yellow/green..... YOu dont want to change the AH color if you dont have to because now, if you have a leak, the color tells you what system the leak involves....red/pink equals engine and yellow/green equals AH.... Easy


Gary
Gary,

Great advice on people with newer coaches.

With regards to the concentrated Century boiler fluid I think that when you get your order you will find that each jug of the concentrated fluid is only 32 oz. so 1/4 of a gallon which when mixed will make 3/4 of a gallon.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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You are kidding, right?

Guess I really need to read those advertisements closer than I have been reading them.... but that sure explains the price differential if you are right. The pictures "looked the same" except for the color of the type. Oh well, easier to store I guess.

Thanks Don

Edit: In my own defense, I have carefully re-read all the description and specs for this super concentrate bottle and none of them specify how large the quantity is..... One person who asked specifically was told it was a quart rather than a gallon, but nothing in the specs. But that sure explains the price illogic... -- --

Gary
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:48 AM   #4
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Gary, donít feel bad. Ordered the same about two years ago and you can imagine my surprise when I opened my package and my gallon jug had shrank to a quart! Sorry, I should have posted then but figured I was the only one who did not know that when I ordered.
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:32 PM   #5
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Gene

Your not posting the follow-up is the least disturbing problem i have had today....

On the phone with DirecTV trying to get a working DVR shipped to me on the road.... have not had one that works since Aug 2nd. This company is almost impossible to work with since AT&T bought them out..... Avoid this company if you can.....WHAT A ZOO........! -- -- --

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Old 09-17-2019, 03:53 PM   #6
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Gene

Your not posting the follow-up is the least disturbing problem i have had today....

On the phone with DirecTV trying to get a working DVR shipped to me on the road.... have not had one that works since Aug 2nd. This company is almost impossible to work with since AT&T bought them out..... Avoid this company if you can.....WHAT A ZOO........! -- -- --

Gary
It costs a few bucks but you can buy one online from Amazon or others and save the hassles and time of dealing with DTV.
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:50 PM   #7
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And finally for new owners .... Don't ever mix the yellow/green Century Boiler transfer fluid with the pink/red Campco boiler fluid.... some people will tell you they are chemically equivalent, but virtually anyone who has tried it (and the professional service techs) will tell you that the two combine to start producing major problems with boiler fluid and the AH with sediment in the system. Century's web site now says "Century Boiler Fluid is now the only fluid used by AquaHot" so apparently the company now advocates on Century Boiler fluid in their products. Use one or the other, but don't mix.... and completely flush the system out before changing if you ever are forced to change.

Also, new owners, you may have noticed that the Final Charge radiator coolant for the Cummins is red. The transfer fluid / coolant for the AH is yellow/green..... You don’t want to change the AH color if you don’t have to because now, if you have a leak, the color tells you what system the leak involves....red/pink equals engine and yellow/green equals AH.... Easy
Gary, I agree with the second paragraph quoted above.

With regard to the first paragraph, we recently spent a week at Spartan in Charlotte, Michigan for annual chassis service (and a few other things), followed by a week in Middlebury, Indiana for PJ’s “Entegra University” class. The service staff at Spartan as well as PJ told me the Camco reddish/pink boiler fluid and the Century yellow/green boiler fluid are chemically equivalent except for color and there is no functional issue associated with mixing the two.

The first image below is from the Aqua-Hot web site. It states:

“Aqua-Hot heating systems typically use either the Camco (pink color) or Century (green color) brand products. The color your system has depends on the coach manufacturer and the model year of your motorhome. TIP: Don’t mix colors in your Aqua-Hot system. Mixing pink and green boiler antifreeze produces a brown color that may be confused with corrosion, creating unnecessary service expense.” (Underlining added for emphasis.)

What they appear to be saying is that mixing the different color fluids is ill-advised not because doing causes any actual problem but because owners see the brown color of the fluid and think something is wrong.

As for sediment in the system, I can’t speak for every owner but having owned several motorhomes with Aqua-Hot systems I’ve noticed the overflow tank invariably gunks up over time. PJ explained that the boiler fluid includes a significant percentage of water, which of course is subject to evaporation. As that occurs, the fluid in the tank starts to look pretty nasty regardless of which color fluid (pinkish/red, yellow/green or both/brown) happens to be present in the system. I suspect some owners end up confusing “gunkiness”in the overflow tank with gunkiness throughout the system.

Just to confuse the matter even further, included below are photos of boiler fluids available from Camco and Century. As you’ll see, Century offers what appears to be the same fluid in yellow/green or pinkish/red and both jugs have the Aqua-Hot logo on them. Go figure.
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:52 PM   #8
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Larry

I don't care what PJ or people at Cummins say.... (How is anyone in Charlotte expert in AquaHot anyhow?... they don't deal with AquaHot units, they dont service them, they dont repair them.... they make chassis, and Entegra installs the AquaHot units)....Instead, talk to anyone who does AquaHot service as a major part of their business. I have talked to three of them, and they all say.... "Don't mix them.... drain them completely if you are going to change what you use in your system, but never just add a little of Camco to a system that is filled most of the way with Century or the reverse". The people I have talked to say that it leads to the issue that Brobox was dealing with in the past.... the build up of sludge.

You may remember that the opinion of the AquaHot people was that someone must have inadvertently added Camco to his Century Boiler Fluid without his knowledge, or more directly, from what he has written in the past in this forum, my memory is that they essentially insinuated that he did it himself. As you know, Chuck swears that he never mixed AH boiler fluid or corrupted it in any way. The position of the AquaHot company was that Chuck's sediment/sludge problem was corrupted or mixed boiler fluid. If my memory is failing me. Chuck will come in here and set me or you straight.

I will also note that AH now supposedly only recommends the use of Century Boiler fluid in their systems (Another poster on this forum has stated that this is the case.... I know AH still lists both products on their web page).

You can do what you want....its everyone's choice, but I will follow the advice of people that work on them all the time and I trust.... and I believe no one should ever mix. If someone asks or I have the opportunity to advise them like I do here on this forum, I will give them the same recommendation until I find out my advice is incorrect.

Gary
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:46 AM   #9
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While you're shopping on Amazon, This https://amzn.to/2mU98Mj (with the end of the spout cut off, and a short piece of plastic tubing attached) makes filling the aquahot overflow tank a breeze.
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:10 AM   #10
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"After attending the ECOA tech talk yesterday at the ECOA Summerfest Rally, 3 or 4 owners talked about them having various problems with their AquaHot on new or fairly new coaches involving no heat from the AquaHot system (but hot water, and other variations of problems) and their discovery that the floor circuit heating system had either little boiler fluid in it, or insufficient boiler fluid in it. The commonality beyond some part of the system not working was that the factory installer had apparently put insufficient fluid in the system, or there was still too much air in the system that needed to be "burped" out of the system. Empty AH overflow tanks were often part of the signs of problems."

Gary I've got an AquaHot issue that's on my list for my upcoming AIR but maybe you learned something that night help. All the AguaHot functions work well, we have been in Canada the last month and have used the floor heat extensively as well as the air heat in the front and back units, except for the back heat. It blows cool air, not hot. Happens by itself and when the front is on blowing hot air.

The overflow tank is a couple inches above the cold line when cold and up towards the top when working. When I first bought the coach it was all the way down and I asked to have it filled properly. Possibly air could have gotten in, in that case how do you "burp" it? Or it could be something else. Any ideas?
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:50 AM   #11
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"After attending the ECOA tech talk yesterday at the ECOA Summerfest Rally, 3 or 4 owners talked about them having various problems with their AquaHot on new or fairly new coaches involving no heat from the AquaHot system (but hot water, and other variations of problems) and their discovery that the floor circuit heating system had either little boiler fluid in it, or insufficient boiler fluid in it. The commonality beyond some part of the system not working was that the factory installer had apparently put insufficient fluid in the system, or there was still too much air in the system that needed to be "burped" out of the system. Empty AH overflow tanks were often part of the signs of problems."

Gary I've got an AquaHot issue that's on my list for my upcoming AIR but maybe you learned something that night help. All the AguaHot functions work well, we have been in Canada the last month and have used the floor heat extensively as well as the air heat in the front and back units, except for the back heat. It blows cool air, not hot. Happens by itself and when the front is on blowing hot air.

The overflow tank is a couple inches above the cold line when cold and up towards the top when working. When I first bought the coach it was all the way down and I asked to have it filled properly. Possibly air could have gotten in, in that case how do you "burp" it? Or it could be something else. Any ideas?
Gary,

For the most part the system should burp itself with use. With regards to your rear Aquahot heat (back loop) are there any red lights on the status panel in the basement illuminated? Perhaps the pump is not working. Is the rearmost line coming out of the Aquahot unit (going to the middle pump) hot to the touch? Perhaps the check valve is stuck closed.
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Old 09-30-2019, 11:26 AM   #12
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There is also a bleeder port on top of the Aquahot unit.
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:13 PM   #13
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Larry

I don't care what PJ or people at Cummins say.... (How is anyone in Charlotte expert in AquaHot anyhow?... they don't deal with AquaHot units, they dont service them, they dont repair them.... they make chassis, and Entegra installs the AquaHot units)....Instead, talk to anyone who does AquaHot service as a major part of their business. I have talked to three of them, and they all say.... "Don't mix them.... drain them completely if you are going to change what you use in your system, but never just add a little of Camco to a system that is filled most of the way with Century or the reverse". The people I have talked to say that it leads to the issue that Brobox was dealing with in the past.... the build up of sludge.

You may remember that the opinion of the AquaHot people was that someone must have inadvertently added Camco to his Century Boiler Fluid without his knowledge, or more directly, from what he has written in the past in this forum, my memory is that they essentially insinuated that he did it himself. As you know, Chuck swears that he never mixed AH boiler fluid or corrupted it in any way. The position of the AquaHot company was that Chuck's sediment/sludge problem was corrupted or mixed boiler fluid. If my memory is failing me. Chuck will come in here and set me or you straight.

I will also note that AH now supposedly only recommends the use of Century Boiler fluid in their systems (Another poster on this forum has stated that this is the case.... I know AH still lists both products on their web page).

You can do what you want....its everyone's choice, but I will follow the advice of people that work on them all the time and I trust.... and I believe no one should ever mix. If someone asks or I have the opportunity to advise them like I do here on this forum, I will give them the same recommendation until I find out my advice is incorrect.

Gary
Gary, I am NOT recommending that any owner of a coach with an Aqua-Hot system deliberately mix pink boiler fluid with green boiler fluid. I’m simply saying that I can’t find any evidence on the Aqua-Hot web site to indicate any functional problem will occur if such a mixture were to inadvertently occur.

All boiler fluid recommended by Aqua-Hot is propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is defined as…

“…an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3 CH CH2 OH. It is a viscous, colorless liquid which is nearly odorless but possesses a faintly sweet taste.”

Note the word “colorless.” That suggests that for the boiler fluid to be pink or green, the company supplying the fluid has to add a coloring agent. Aqua-Hot recommends a ratio of 35% to 50% propylene glycol. The other 50% to 65% is distilled water and whatever percentage is attributable to the coloring agent. I have no idea how much coloring agent is required to turn the solution pink or green, but I can’t imagine it’s very much.

With that in mind, think about what we’re saying when we postulate that inadvertently adding a quart or so of pink boiler fluid to top off an Aqua-Hot system containing who-knows-how-many gallons of green boiler fluid is going to kill the system. Those coloring agents must really hate each other! To be clear, I’m not a chemist, so yeah, I guess it could happen.

Aqua-Hot has specified propylene glycol boiler fluid for their systems since 2003. Sixteen years. Seems like sixteen years would be more than sufficient time for them to determine that really bad things happen if pink boiler fluid is mixed with green boiler fluid. And having determined that, it seems it would be very much in their self-interest to publish appropriate warnings.

Digging deeper into Aqua-Hot’s documentation, I found the following relevant information. All bolded words are from the Aqua-Hot documentation, not my doing.

Antifreeze Discoloration

Discoloration of propylene glycol antifreeze solution may occur during normal operation of the Aqua-Hot system. This discoloration does not indicate a malfunction of the Aqua-Hot system or the antifreeze solution.

The following conditions may cause the antifreeze solution in your Aqua-Hot to change color:

Exposure of the antifreeze solution in the Aqua-Hot boiler tank to air

It is important to keep the overflow bottle filled to the proper level. If the Overflow bottle is empty, it must be refilled and the tank must be bled of air. Air in the Aqua-Hot boiler tank may cause the antifreeze solution to discolor.

Low Levels of propylene glycol in the antifreeze and water solution

The Aqua-Hot’s antifreeze solution should contain between 35% and 50% propylene glycol. Operating the Aqua-Hot with less than 35% propylene glycol may cause the antifreeze solution to discolor. Please see the Aqua-Hot’s Owner’s manual for instructions on testing the level propylene glycol in the Aqua-Hot’s antifreeze solution.

Adding Tap or Well Water to the Aqua-Hot system

Adding tap or well water to your Aqua-Hot system may cause the antifreeze solution to discolor. Aqua-Hot recommends using only deionized or distilled water. Using tap or well water may cause corrosion of the Aqua-Hot system.

Mixing Century Brand (Green) and Camco Brand (Pink) Boiler Antifreeze

Motorhome manufacturers generally fill the Aqua-Hot with Century brand (green in color) or Camco brand (pink in color) boiler antifreeze. Mixing these two colors together may cause discoloration of the antifreeze solution in your Aqua-Hot.

Discoloration of the Aqua-Hot’s antifreeze Solution does not indicate a malfunction of the Aqua-Hot system or the antifreeze solution.

What Happens If The Green And Pink Are Mixed?

Camco and Century may not honor the warranty of their product if mixed with another company’s product.

Motorhome manufacturers generally fill the Aqua-Hot with Century brand (green in color) or Camco brand (pink in color) boiler antifreeze. Mixing these two colors together may cause discoloration of the antifreeze solution in your Aqua-Hot.

End of Excerpts from Aqua-Hot Documentation

The only negative I find there is that Camco and Century may not honor the warranty of their product if mixed with another company’s product. That isn’t especially significant since the label on a jug of Century’s boiler fluid includes the following statement:

“Because use conditions are not within control, no warranty, expressed or implied, is given.”

My interpretation of Aqua-Hot’s wording is that both companies (Camco and Century) could, quite logically, take the position that they can’t/won’t stand behind the quality of their boiler fluid if it’s mixed with boiler fluid from a different company.

Bottom line, if Aqua-Hot is aware that bad things happen when pink boiler fluid is mixed with green boiler fluid – and keep in mind they’ve had sixteen years to become aware – it seems very strange they wouldn’t include a relevant warning under the heading, “What Happens If The Pink and Green Are Mixed?”

This post is long enough, so I’ll do a separate one to comment on other points you made.
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:25 PM   #14
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I don't care what PJ or people at Cummins say....
I think you meant Spartan not Cummins, but in any case I’m not suggesting you should care, just reporting what PJ and others had to say on this subject.

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(How is anyone in Charlotte expert in AquaHot anyhow?... they don't deal with AquaHot units, they don’t service them, they don’t repair them.... they make chassis, and Entegra installs the AquaHot units)....
Actually, the Spartan service center will perform a variety of services other than chassis work. They’re not listed as an authorized Aqua-Hot service center, but then neither is Entegra and Entegra’s service center works on Aqua-Hot units. In any case, I wasn’t intending to claim Spartan or Entegra have any special expertise, just reporting what I heard while at those locations.

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Instead, talk to anyone who does AquaHot service as a major part of their business. I have talked to three of them, and they all say.... "Don't mix them.... drain them completely if you are going to change what you use in your system, but never just add a little of Camco to a system that is filled most of the way with Century or the reverse". The people I have talked to say that it leads to the issue that Brobox was dealing with in the past.... the build up of sludge.
I’m well aware that various owners and service technicians believe that even a small quantity of pink boiler fluid into a system filled with green boiler fluid will cause sludge and/or other issues. Aqua-Hot’s documentation lists a number of potential causes of sludge but mixing boiler fluids isn’t on the list. If the issue is a real and prevalent as it’s supposed to be, I would expect Aqua-Hot to highlight it, up to and including a warning label on the Aqua-Hot unit itself. (Maybe they do and I missed it, among the dozens of other stickers and warning labels that come on a new motorhome.)

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Originally Posted by Gary.Jones View Post
You may remember that the opinion of the AquaHot people was that someone must have inadvertently added Camco to his Century Boiler Fluid without his knowledge, or more directly, from what he has written in the past in this forum, my memory is that they essentially insinuated that he did it himself. As you know, Chuck swears that he never mixed AH boiler fluid or corrupted it in any way. The position of the AquaHot company was that Chuck's sediment/sludge problem was corrupted or mixed boiler fluid. If my memory is failing me. Chuck will come in here and set me or you straight.
If that was Aqua-Hot’s position, it’s pretty much inexcusable that they wouldn’t update their documentation and product labeling to warn all of us how dangerous it is to mix pink boiler fluid with green boiler fluid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary.Jones View Post
I will also note that AH now supposedly only recommends the use of Century Boiler fluid in their systems (Another poster on this forum has stated that this is the case.... I know AH still lists both products on their web page).
I’m not aware of that, but as noted in my earlier post Century Chemical Corporation offers both green and pink boiler fluids. Examining the labels of those two products, the wording is absolutely identical except for the product numbers: 19910-C6 for the green and 19910-C6R for the pink. (I’m guessing the “R” is the product number stands for Red.) No warning that the two products shouldn’t be mixed.

So maybe it’s only Camco fluid mixed with Century fluid that causes a problem? In that case, the problem could be even more subtle; i.e., mixing pink Camco with pink Century would cause problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary.Jones View Post
You can do what you want....it’s everyone's choice, but I will follow the advice of people that work on them all the time and I trust.... and I believe no one should ever mix. If someone asks or I have the opportunity to advise them like I do here on this forum, I will give them the same recommendation until I find out my advice is incorrect.
Nothing wrong with your advice. Sticking with the same color of boiler fluid makes good sense for a variety of reasons. My objective is to determine if an inadvertent mixing of the two colors of boiler fluid actually causes problems. If it does and Aqua-Hot is aware of that, they are very much derelict in not publicizing it.

I’ll send an inquiry to Century Chemical Company and see if I can learn anything from them.
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