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Old 06-10-2014, 08:44 AM   #1
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Ethylene glycol used by mistake?

I got to wondering if anybody has experienced where they bought a used RV or had their own RV winterized by someone else, and suspected that ethylene glycol was used as an antifreeze by mistake. The problem is ethylene glycol is poison even in small amounts. Heck, if the aquahot unit suffered a pinhole leak in the heat exchanger, and the wrong type of antifreeze coolant was used, small amounts of the coolant would get introduced into the hot water line as well.

I came across this chemical test kit for $15 which can detect if ethylene glycol is present.

Antifreeze Detection

I guess another reason to drink only bottled water! Do the commonly used water filters filter out this chemical? I welcome comments. :-)

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Old 06-11-2014, 01:16 AM   #2
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Flush

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Originally Posted by pasdad1 View Post
I got to wondering if anybody has experienced where they bought a used RV or had their own RV winterized by someone else, and suspected that ethylene glycol was used as an antifreeze by mistake. The problem is ethylene glycol is poison even in small amounts. Heck, if the aquahot unit suffered a pinhole leak in the heat exchanger, and the wrong type of antifreeze coolant was used, small amounts of the coolant would get introduced into the hot water line as well.

I came across this chemical test kit for $15 which can detect if ethylene glycol is present.

Antifreeze Detection

I guess another reason to drink only bottled water! Do the commonly used water filters filter out this chemical? I welcome comments. :-)

Attachment 65039
I believe a bleach solution flush will take care of all contaminants in your potable water system.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:38 AM   #3
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I was under the impression that chlorine bleach is only effective against biological contamination. Other chemicals will be unaffected. They will of course be diluted by the water and flushing.....just don't know to what degree. That is why I thought the test would be helpful. If it indicated ethylene glycol, I would keep flushing until the test came up negative.
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:00 PM   #4
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I was under the impression that chlorine bleach is only effective against biological contamination. Other chemicals will be unaffected. They will of course be diluted by the water and flushing.....just don't know to what degree. That is why I thought the test would be helpful. If it indicated ethylene glycol, I would keep flushing until the test came up negative.

Yes, yes, yes. Be very careful. EG will kill you by causing renal failure. And, doesn't take very much.
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:36 PM   #5
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RV water system antifreeze and engine coolant (ethylene glycol) are very different. If you suspect it was used by mistake, my first step would be to pull a sink trap and feel the antifreeze in the trap. If it felt 'slippery' I'd think about the $15 test. Using bleach might only kill biotic organisms in your water system, but by treating the system with it you are ensuring a thorough flush of the system. Not using the water until all bleach smell has been flushed pretty much dilutes any harmful treatments that might have been done to your system. Also, you could contact the previous owner/service center that did the winterizing and ask.

By the way, when posting links of interest it's best to link the page, not a photo of the page.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:02 AM   #6
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Yes, ethylene glycol is toxic. So are a lot of other things that we consume daily. The danger of EG is highly exaggerated. You certainly wouldn't want to drink it. But it's highly soluble in water and will rinse out easily.

For comparison, sodium hypochlorite is over 20 times more toxic than EG, yet we have people here suggesting putting bleach in the system. Table salt is nearly twice as toxic as EG. Ibuprofen is 10 times as toxic as EG.

It's the dose that kills you, not the poison. A system that has had EG in it, if flushed adequately with plain, fresh water will be perfectly safe. Just like a system that has had bleach in it. Actually, safer than one that has had bleach in it, because EG is not nearly as toxic as the sodium hypochlorite in bleach.

There are those whose minds are made up, who don't want to hear the facts, . . . but them's the facts.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:39 AM   #7
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Talking I agree just flushing will work to remove antifreeze

I would still flush with bleach to disinfect. I've flushed Airliners with bleach many times at American Airlines. Now AA uses a more non bleach formula, but more expensive because the bleach taste/ smell is so hard to flush out.
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Yes, ethylene glycol is toxic. So are a lot of other things that we consume daily. The danger of EG is highly exaggerated. You certainly wouldn't want to drink it. But it's highly soluble in water and will rinse out easily.

For comparison, sodium hypochlorite is over 20 times more toxic than EG, yet we have people here suggesting putting bleach in the system. Table salt is nearly twice as toxic as EG. Ibuprofen is 10 times as toxic as EG.

It's the dose that kills you, not the poison. A system that has had EG in it, if flushed adequately with plain, fresh water will be perfectly safe. Just like a system that has had bleach in it. Actually, safer than one that has had bleach in it, because EG is not nearly as toxic as the sodium hypochlorite in bleach.

There are those whose minds are made up, who don't want to hear the facts, . . . but them's the facts.
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:50 AM   #8
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Yes, ethylene glycol is toxic. So are a lot of other things that we consume daily. The danger of EG is highly exaggerated. You certainly wouldn't want to drink it. But it's highly soluble in water and will rinse out easily.



For comparison, sodium hypochlorite is over 20 times more toxic than EG, yet we have people here suggesting putting bleach in the system. Table salt is nearly twice as toxic as EG. Ibuprofen is 10 times as toxic as EG.



It's the dose that kills you, not the poison. A system that has had EG in it, if flushed adequately with plain, fresh water will be perfectly safe. Just like a system that has had bleach in it. Actually, safer than one that has had bleach in it, because EG is not nearly as toxic as the sodium hypochlorite in bleach.



There are those whose minds are made up, who don't want to hear the facts, . . . but them's the facts.

This spot on, while it's not recommended, the reality of it is that the threshold at which poison control folks will advise you to seek medical attention is, for a 225 pound 'average' adult, two teaspoons of pure undiluted EG.

As was already mentioned, EG dilutes easily and readily with water. Rinse, rinse, rinse, relax.
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