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Winter Preparation

Standard CO2 lasers are cooled with distilled water. If you're in a non-climate controlled environment where it reaches freezing temperatures then there's a possibility that the distilled water can freeze causing expansion to the point where the tube shatters. Replacing laser tubes can come with a hefty cost, so you'll want to do some winter preparation if your laser is located in an area where it can freeze.

Winter is coming....

Operating water temperatures should fall between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius with the ideal range between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius.

If you are working in an environment where freezing is a concern, the use of antifreeze provides the peace of mind that your CO2 laser will be protected when not in use. Antifreeze has a much lower freezing point than distilled water, providing much more protection from freezing and expansion.  You are safe to use RV antifreeze if the main ingredient is propylene glycol (DO NOT USE AUTO ANTIFREEZE) . RV antifreeze lubricates your system where auto antifreeze is corrosive. You can also use RV antifreeze with Ethylene Glycol, but keep in mind that this means it has added alcohol in the ingredients. This is suitable for the winter season, but not recommended for long term use because there's possibility that the alcohol can deteriorate rubber/silicone parts over a long period of time. It should be drained after the freezing season.

Keep in mind most chillers need at least 2 gallons.

You Have Options

When it comes to winter preparation there are different paths of protection that you can take

Option 1: If you use RV antifreeze, we recommend RV antifreeze straight up and/or following the manufacturers specifications. We’ve seen 50/50 still freeze. Keep in mind that adding water raises the freezing point. If you feel like experimenting, take a mixture in water bottle and stick it in a freezer. Most freezers are set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees celsius). It'll give you a rough idea on how much protection you have if it doesn't freeze.

 

 

Option 2: Use OMTech's laser antifreeze. They claim freezing and bursting protection down to -31 degrees. It is prediluted so no need to add distilled water. LINK

Option 3: Add in-line heater such as ones they use for aquariums. The concept is that while you keep your chiller on 24/7, the in-line heater would keep the water warm enough to stay above freezing temps but not so warm that it kicks on your chiller. Additionally, some people have chosen to use a drop in aquarium heater and install through the top of the chiller. The problem with that is if it ever cracks or breaks then you are introducing the possibility for debris in your chiller. LINK 

Option 4: Combination of antifreeze (OMTech or RV) and the inline heater method mentioned above. This works just in case the power goes out.

NOTE: If you're in the southern states where it can freeze a few days out of the year, you have the option to drain your system (tube and chiller) and refill when you need it. Distilled water costs $1 a gallon compared to a new laser tube or chiller which costs hundreds.​

OMtech.JPG

Directions

  1. Open the drain plug at the bottom of your chiller and drain your chiller or cooling system until its empty

  2. If you need to, remove the water lines (tubing) and blow out the residual water

  3. Cap your drain plug once the chiller or cooling system is empty and reconnect the water lines . We recommend using hose clamps if you're not already. Click Here for Recommendations

    • Tubing Connection:

      • Laser INLET goes to Chiller OUTLET

      • Laser OUTLET goes to Chiller INLET

  4. Pour in your RV antifreeze straight up to the normal/full line on your chiller, or until your water pump is submerged. Do not mix or dilute with distilled water unless specifically directing you too. Keep in mind that diluting outside the manufacturer specification will raise the freezing point of the fluid and reducing your overall protection.

  5. Turn on your chiller/cooling system and allow the antifreeze to circulate. Double check that there are that the fill line is within the normal range and that there are no audible alarms. If there is an alarm, double check that your tubing is connected correctly.

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