How to Kill Bacteria in Coolant Tanks

by Nicki Callahan

A foul odor is usually the first sign that a bacterial colony has formed in your coolant tank. The smell is a waste produce produced by bacteria as they consume oil as a food source. The presence of bacteria or other contaminants -- such as metal ions, sulfates or mold -- often causes your machinery to run poorly, corrode and cause a buildup of biofilm and other sticky residues.

Top off the coolant tank each day. This typically helps your coolant last 10 to 15 months. Always mix coolant in the water, and never add plain water directly into the coolant tank. Plain water mixed into the coolant separates, causing decreased machinery life and providing perfect conditions for the formation of a bacterial colony.

Remove tramp oils from your coolant with a tramp-oil skimmer. Tramp oils are a main food source for bacteria; keep their concentration below 2 percent. Oil wheels and coalescers are the main types of tramp-oil skimmers..

Remove all metal chips from coolant tanks each day . They serve as a substrate for bacterial growth.

Filter your coolant tank to remove built-up oil and grease. Many bacteria thrive in oxygen-free conditions. Filtering often prevents bacterial growth by mixing more oxygen into the coolant.

insert a tank-side additive once a month to kill bacteria. Tank-side additives destroy all bacteria in a system, and prevent re-growth by increasing the alkalinity of the coolant. Use 1 qt. of tank-side additive for every 50 gallons of coolant. Large bacterial colonies might require a double dose.

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About the Author

Nicki Callahan began her literary career in 1989. Her work has appeared in "The Charlotte Observer," "The Patriot Ledger," "The Wasatch County Courier," "Utah Homes & Garden Magazine" and "The Retired Officer Magazine." Callahan studied English literature and creative writing at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Utah.