Glycolic Acid for Water Systems

An Excellent Cleaning Solution for Water Systems

Although chemical cleaning is considered mature technology, the industry has evolved significantly over the past two decades in response to multiple and shifting cleaning needs, which include:

  • Changing construction materials
  • Improvements in feed water treatment and steam generation technology
  • Tightening environmental regulations

The ever-changing landscape requires cleaning compounds that are safe for people and the environment, without sacrificing performance. Glycolic acid is one of the most effective, environmentally friendly cleaning and chelating compounds available, making it effective for water system cleaning and descaling applications.

Water System Applications That Benefit from Glycolic Acid

Boiler System and Heat Exchanger Cleaner Applications
Glycolic acid removes scale and minimizes scale buildup. A mixture of glycolic acid (formerly known as hydroxyacetic acid) and formic acid (the blend known as HyFor) minimizes corrosion to provide a fast, effective method for cleaning high-pressure stainless steel steam generators and evaporators and to improve heat exchange efficiency in cooling towers. Glycolic acid's characteristics also help boost the efficacy of feeds, vapor flashing, and activated carbon bed equipment in groundwater remediation.

Water Treatment and Water Well Stimulation Applications
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified glycolic acid for use in cleaning potable water wells. Whether used alone or in a mixture with other acids, glycolic acid creates a powerful cleaning system for a wide range of water handling systems and water wells. Glycolic acid rehabilitates the flow efficiency of water wells by facilitating easy rinsing of water-soluble compounds (chelates) with minimal corrosion to metal parts.

How Glycolic Acid Works

Glycolic acid bends offer superior results to EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) and citric acid-based blends. Its properties enable it to remove hard water scale, like calcium, magnesium; and manganese salts, iron deposits, and bio-film deposits. Glycolic acid—with its low biological oxygen demand—biodegrades easily and does not bio-accumulate making it an environmentally friendly cleaning choice. It also has:

  • Low toxicity
  • Low odor
  • Nonflammable properties
  • Negligible fumes
  • Zero chlorides
  • Low corrosion on most metals