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Watercooling maintenance

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Do you have a regular maintenance plan for your custom loop? How frequent do you check and drain / flush / refill your loop?

I was curious about how other users might tackle this topic, if at all. I would appreciate any wisdom from experienced people, feel free to share information about your setup like the liquid you use, if you use any additives or special colors.


I have started my LC adventure in early July last year with my Threadripper build. It was the first time I have gone for LC and right from the start I went with something a little bit complex by using aquarium pumps and going for a dual-loop setup. As I´m a bit lazy when it comes to cleaning my PC (I think many can relate), I was hoping to just be able to 'build and forget' this system like I did with my previous PCs.
I used distilled water + a car coolant recommended for this application as 80/20 mixture.
It has 2x 420mm radiators in push/pull on the top as exhaust (CPU-Loop) and a single 420mm radiator pulling air in from the side. One large 200mm fan on the front as intake, the GPU radiator sits under the mainboard tray which acts like a little duct so I have a fan pulling air out the lower back compartment to create not only a dual water-loop but some kind of dual-loop airflow too (works great).
A lot of air going through which did attract some dust, I cleaned the filters on the front/side/PSU every 6 months and checked if the radiators are clogging up, but they are absolutly fine every time as the filters catch most of it.

It has been 15 months now and I have not flushed the system or done internal cleaning. The cooling performance is still the same as day 1. I switched some RAM a few days ago and decided to take a closer look at the GPU block in the process to check for corrosion or if anything is building up in the microfins.



The flashlight does make it look a bit weird but I needed some light to get a proper look at the fins. They are fine, nothing blocking the flow, no build-up gunk. Only thing for concern is on the bottom right of the opening in the center there is a small patch of something. Looks a bit like corrosion, but the color is exactly the same as the residue of the car-coolant when it dries out.
Not sure what to do, it still performs well and given that it took 15 months to look like this I´d say I´m safe but would you rather drain, disassemble, clean and refill?
I´m going to monitor this area each week now and check if its growing.



The fluid itself has not changed one bit. Color is the same and there are no particles floating around.

All in all I had no trouble so far and no additional maintenance compared to my other PCs in the past. At first I was a bit terrified to leave the system running when I was not around just in case a pump failed but I have a lot of trust in these Eheim-pumps and they served me well for a total runtime of 4354 (180 days) hours since I build this machine, in some occasions doing work 24/7.

Some pictures from the day of assembly (yes it is a horrible mess inside, but a reliable and top-performing mess :p ):
 

sneekypeet

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I would go with the obvious.... if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 
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Yep, run it till you need a cleaning.
But at the very least, close inspections periodically for leaks would be wise.
 
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Yep, run it till you need a cleaning.
But at the very least, close inspections periodically for leaks would be wise.
Well I check for leaks by looking at the water-level in the reservoirs. If there is something missing -> I have a leak.
Only time I had to refill a bit was two weeks after the build, as the last air bubbles moved out. Did not refill anything since.
 
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if you keep an eye on temps they'll soon tell you if you need to clean the loop out
new loop = baseline for temps if those increase considerably over the norm if all else is the same (ie: room temp and clocks) then look at cleaning
 
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Well I check for leaks by looking at the water-level in the reservoirs. If there is something missing -> I have a leak.
Only time I had to refill a bit was two weeks after the build, as the last air bubbles moved out. Did not refill anything since.
Fittings seep and the coolant can dry before a drip is born. This is catching a leak early. Youd see a small amount of residue around the barb or fitting. However there wont be a noticable drop in the res. volume.
Have seen pin holes at top of the rad where it was so minor the coolant drying actually sealed the hole. Lol. Crazy how that happens.
Anyhow, Its just good practice. Call it preventative maintenance.
 
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All I do is add 2 drops of Mayhems biocide (mixed in some coolant) every 12 months = just to stop any microscopic nasties growing :laugh:
 
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Last year i decided to take my old x58 out n reused it.
I built the system when the first core i7 was out.
The whole wc system was 1 d5, 1 anodized xspc tank, feser 480, ek copper block, koolance mb block, thicc wall soft tubing, some bitspower compression fitting and a benchtable. It had green color feser coolant in there since 2011-2012, used everyday till 2015 i went to other countries.
So the pc was wrapped up and left in the garage collecting dust for awhile. The only thing i found that increased the temperature by 20*C was the layer of 5 years old dust cover the rad.

Feser was never producing any breakthru radiator but their coolant kept my wc system safe. After a good flush, bursh everything is shiny like new.

I'm current using distilled water with mayhem x1 concentrate. Bought a 25l air compressor so clean the dust properply once month.
I will post some photos of the old fittings rubber rings once i get home. Those looks just fine to me tbh. Old stuff seems have better quality.
 
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Boy am I glad I looked in this thread. Houston, we have a problem... o_O
 
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Algae, low water... Temps are still good though. lol I just looked in there about six months ago (1 1/2 years after putting it together) and everything was fine. Time for a cleaning and refill I guess.
 
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Algae, low water... Temps are still good though. lol I just looked in there about six months ago (1 1/2 years after putting it together) and everything was fine. Time for a cleaning and refill I guess.
As soon as you see growth like algae, it´s only a matter of time before something clogs up. I´d clean it well too.
 
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