When and How Should I "Clean" my WC'ed System??

jedihobbitjedihobbit Central Virginia, USA
edited February 2010 in Hardware
Okay I'm a noob to water cooling and have a couple of basic maintenance questions.....here is the “total” system

CASE: SilverStone SOG1
PSU: Enermax MODU82+
MOBO: Biostar TA760G AM2+
CPU: AMD PII X3 720BE
HSF: Cuplex XT di
GPU: Evga 8800GTS w/AquagraFX 8800
MEMORY: TWIN2X2048-8500C5DF
Primary HDD: Seagate 7200.10 ST380815AS 80GB
Secondary HDDs: 2 x WD5000KS-00MNB0 400GB
Optical Drive 1: Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7200S

And am using an external rad & pump setup from AquaComputer a Aquaduct 240 PRO Mark II
1. How often should a 24 / 7 system be “flushed”?
2. What is a recommended method of “flushing”?
3. Does “topping off” make a difference as long as you’re using the “original” coolant?
4. What is a good way to clean “stained” copper? (See pix below)

DCWVGPU1.jpg

Comments

  • MAGICMAGIC Doot Doot Furniture City, Michigan
    edited February 2010
    Depends on if you use an anitmicrobial addative. I did when i water cooled and flushed the system once a year. If not you might have to do it 2 or 3 times to prevent build up.

    As for cleaning warm water/vineger/lemon/baking soda solution is what i always used. Just a old toothbrush and scrub the internals of the blocks/pumps off. I would fill the radiator with the solution and let it sit a few hours, then flush it until the water you flush out of it is clear/clean. Do a final rinse with distilled water before puting the system back together.
  • PetraPetra Palmdale, CA USA
    edited February 2010
    jedihobbit wrote:
    And am using an external rad & pump setup from AquaComputer a Aquaduct 240 PRO Mark II
    Great, wetted aluminum... *sigh*
    1. How often should a 24 / 7 system be “flushed”?
    For most systems, draining and filling every 6 months to 12 months is fine depending on the condition of the system (obviously if there's visible gunk buildup, biological growth, or corrosion, you should clean things out). The use of a biocide is a given and most pre-mixed coolants contain biocidal packages.
    2. What is a recommended method of “flushing”?
    In your case, due to the external AquaComputer unit you're using, I would not recommend running any sort of "home brew" cleaning solution through it, especially not one that's acidic (like what MAGIC suggested). You can clean the external unit by having the pump run fresh distilled water through it until there aren't any traces of old coolant being discharged, make sure to drain all of the distilled from it, and refill with whatever your German overlords command (as you can tell, I'm pretty leery of those Aquaduct units). Rinse your blocks out with distilled water and check to make sure that none of the accelerator nozzles in your CPU block are clogged (if they are, then a toothpick and some compressed air ought to do the trick).

    If you find that you've had a biological growth problem, then you can clean the metal surfaces of your blocks with isopropyl but do not let IPA anywhere near anything made from acrylic--use something else... water and a mild soap, maybe. After the blocks have been cleaned, rinse them thoroughly with distilled water. Growth can be cleaned from tubing but it's usually more work than it's worth (especially considering how cheap it is to replace).
    3. Does “topping off” make a difference as long as you’re using the “original” coolant?
    I'm not sure what you're getting at here... you have to top off most systems at some point because they lose coolant (usually due to the permeability of the tubing).
    4. What is a good way to clean “stained” copper?
    Copper is a very reactive metal and that "staining" you're seeing is just normal oxidation (won't have a meaningful impact on cooling). If it's a big deal to you because it doesn't look pretty, well, be prepared to clean it quite often. Disassemble the block in question and treat the oxidized area with an acidic solution to strip it away (distilled white vinegar (which is basically 5% acetic acid) can do it, salt will accelerate the stripping, etc... there are also 'instant' copper cleaners that you could use, but I usually don't recommend them because people are too quick to misinterpret that as endorsing the use of something like brasso). This step happens to be where that toothbrush MAGIC was talking about comes in handy. If there was a coating applied to the block by the manufacturer to prevent or slow oxidation, most cleaning methods will remove it.

    As for coolant, since you're mixing copper and aluminum, I'd suggest you keep using whatever AquaComputer recommends--they're usually pretty good about their corrosion inhibiting packages... Granted, that won't remove the possibility of corrosion.
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