Using antifreeze in the winter to protect heating system

Q When I go to Florida for the winter, I drain the hot-water baseboard heating system so it won't freeze. Instead of draining it, could I replace the water with antifreeze in the system? Would it take more oil to heat the house with antifreeze in the pipes?

Frederick A. Arnold Queenstown, Md.

A We are told that it is not uncommon for homeowners in colder climates to use antifreeze in place of water in their hot-water baseboard heating system. Use only permanent-type antifreeze, however.

I would verify such usage with the manufacturer of the baseboard system before going ahead with the switch. Also, assure yourself that the liquid's freezing temperature is below the expected minimum temperature.

To obtain the quantity of antifreeze needed, drain the boiler and pipes into a measurable container and replace with the same gallonage of antifreeze. Don't forget, it will cost you several dollars per gallon to buy the 30 to 50 gallons of antifreeze you'll need.

We understand there will be no efficiency loss by using antifreeze so far as fuel is concerned.

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