It is common for labs to use water as a coolant in condensers and other equipment. There are two main risks of water-cooled equipment:

  • flooding due to equipment or user malfunction,
  • equipment failure leads to warming of reaction and possible explosion


  • Refrain from using tap water for cooling when possible as the potential for flooding is greatly increased. Instead, use a refrigerated recirculator.
  • To prevent freezing of the refrigeration coils, use a mixture of water and ethylene glycol as a coolant. NOTE: Spills are very slippery and must be cleaned thoroughly. If no longer needed, the water and ethylene glycol mixture must be collected as chemical waste.
  • Clamp tube connection or use plastic locking disconnects to ensure tubing does not disconnect during use. Hoses can pop off when building water pressure fluctuates or when the hose material deteriorates over prolonged use.
  • When water is draining into a lab drain, ensure the drain is clear of extraneous materials and is secure to reduce risk of hoses jumping out of the drain from a strong flow pulse.
  • To reduce the risk of over pressurization of fittings or glassware, consider installing a vented pressure relief device on the water supply.