Here’s a comment we hear frequently in the Tech department: “Your coolant stinks.” Our response is: “It’s not the coolant, it’s your water.” Now before you think I’ve lost my mind, here’s the poop. Literally. Water (all water, unless it’s been sterilized) contains micro-organisms that will grow and do their thing (if you get my drift) under the right conditions. When you open a jug of coolant that’s been pre-mixed with water, what you’re really smelling is the residue of those micro-organisms. So, what’s the solution?
Probably the easiest solution to the problem of coolant odor is to mix the coolant with water ONLY as needed. When you pre-mix and store a jug of coolant, you’re creating the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow. Most of the bacteria you’ll find in the water supply are anaerobic bacteria. Without getting into a chemistry lesson, let me explain. anaerobic bacteria are micro-organisms that grow in the absence of oxygen. So when you premix the coolant with the water then seal it into a jug, you’re giving the bacteria just what they need to thrive. Here at Goodson, we add a biocide component to our coolants, but that biocide is not all powerful. If the bacteria in the water have multiplied to the point that they overpower the biocide, well, you’re gonna have some smell.
Another reason bacteria will grow in the coolant is warmth. Right now, depending on where you are, that might not be a problem. But come summer, it will be. You need to be cleaning your machines on a regular basis and that means draining off the coolant now and again. You just going to add to the problem if you keep topping it off without cleaning the sump. Not to mention, your coolant to water ratio will be off due to evaporation. And when you do clean out the machines, clean out the WHOLE machine – hoses and all. Cleaning out the sump to get rid of the smell won’t do you any good if you haven’t cleaned the hoses. They’re just going to put that stinky bacteria back into the coolant and you’re right back where you started.
Okay, I’ve lectured enough. But if you’re interested in learning a little more about coolants and the impact of water on them, check out What’s That Smell?