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Winterizing water tank... vodka or pink stuff?

Discussion in 'Cruising Sailors' started by genec, Oct 11, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,907 posts, 1,855 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    It is those "should not be's" that will get you. A few bucks for some PG antifreeze is cheap insurance against repairing a faucet or replacing the bellows on a water pump. :)
     


  2. Rich Stidger

    Rich Stidger

    Joined Feb 10, 2004
    2,920 posts, 335 likes
    Hunter 40.5
    US 1997 h40.5 Bristol, RI
    Point taken. I my experience I have never had a freeze/burst problem. But to be positively, safe, pink is the way. But you will need to flush out in the spring to avoid the after taste. Your boat, your choice. What works for me may not work for you. I just have 30 years of blowing out the lines with no problems.
     


  3. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,907 posts, 1,855 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Antifreeze does not enter my water tanks!

    Any residual AF is throughly flushed out when I shock and drain the tanks in spring.
     


  4. dziedzicmj

    dziedzicmj

    Joined Aug 13, 2012
    503 posts, 97 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Ottawa
    You can blow the water out of the system, run the AF through the pump and then blow the AF out of the system. This way, there is no chance of any water to be left for the winter, most of the AF would be gone so there would be very little aftertaste and very little effect on any rubber parts, the pump would be protected (it pumped the AF), all the faucets would be free of water. And this adds about $10 to the cost of winterising. Cheap insurance.
     


    uncledom likes this.
  5. genec

    genec

    Joined Dec 30, 2010
    188 posts, 57 likes
    Pacific Seacraft Orion27
    US HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes

    Bury it.

    I bought the pink stuff... the right pink stuff. My local hardware store was selling "RV antifreeze," which contained alcohol. After the discussion here, I knew that was wrong... went to WM and got the stuff with "non-toxic virgin propylene glycol." I'll put it all in this weekend when I take the sails down and double up the lines.

    Now my next question... come spring, do I just pump this pink stuff into the ocean???

    Oh wait, I think I have the answer to that... I should save the empty bottles of AF, and come spring, just fill them with the stuff from my lines. Sound about right?

    Fair winds folks... thanks for the info.
     


  6. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,907 posts, 1,855 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Yes or on to the ground. In small quantities PG is non toxic. It also breaks down quickly.
     


  7. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,786 posts, 474 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    Agree with dlochner that everything I've read says it breaks down well enough to be fine to discharge. Truly getting all the pink color and smell out of the tank will take some purging. I usually take that opportunity to recommission the tanks with bleach using the formula and steps Peggie has recommended.

    You can bottle up what you get out of the tanks, but it might be partially diluted, so not a good idea to repeat too many times or rely on it being as good as new.
     


  8. genec

    genec

    Joined Dec 30, 2010
    188 posts, 57 likes
    Pacific Seacraft Orion27
    US HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
    Oh, I wasn't gonna use it again... I just wasn't sure pumping into my sink drain and into the ocean was the best idea... and seeing as I would have those empty bottles... I'll just collect what I can and dispose of it, then flush the rest down the sink drain. By that time it should be quite diluted.

    I've also come to realize that it really won't take much pink stuff to displace any water in my pump and line. Notice how I used singular terms... yeah, it's a small system. GRIN
     


  9. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,979 posts, 1,233 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    Don't really see why not. It may be slightly more diluted than when you put it in, which could mean buying less of it next Winter.
     


  10. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,907 posts, 1,855 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    The AF can be reused if it is not too diluted. See https://marinehowto.com/freshwater-system-winterizing/ for a more detailed explanation.
     


  11. dziedzicmj

    dziedzicmj

    Joined Aug 13, 2012
    503 posts, 97 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Ottawa
    Is it worth its while to save $10 on a suspect density/quality AF? I am all for recycling, but you might need to recycle your heat exchanger the year after.
     


  12. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,979 posts, 1,233 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    It's not recycling. It's reusing. $10.00? That's a cheap bottle of tequila. :biggrin:
    It all depends on your personal commitment to minimize your impact on the environment.
     


  13. thinwater

    thinwater

    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    2,351 posts, 577 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    The greatest concern with reusing, after dilution, is that it is infected and fermenting. Often jugs left by the recycle tank smell like old Boones Farm. This can be very damaging, since it becomes quite acid.

    Recycle and start with new. And I'm as cheap as they come.
     


    plenny7 likes this.
  14. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,979 posts, 1,233 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    I double-dog-dare you to a cheapness contest!
     


  15. Ken Cross

    Ken Cross

    Joined Oct 24, 2010
    1,981 posts, 327 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Everett, WA
    Yep, our marina allows them. Having said that some heaters are way better than others. As an example, some have glowing hot elements. One small piece of paper could ignite. Others like the one I use won't light anything. The heating element doesn't get that hot. It has a high air volume to move the heat out of the unit and it shuts off if the fan stops. Space heaters are not all the same.

    I agree that one could lose power and suffer damage. Ice storms we don't have in this area. We usually only get a week or two of really cold (below 20f) in our area in a given winter. While we are at a high latitude (48 degrees) we are a temperate climate. Mostly it rains. I don't know of anyone on our marina who winterizes as one would do on the East coast or midwest.

    Ken
     


  16. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,786 posts, 474 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    Would the acidity also be a concern for non-potable applications? Say, reusing PG from the water lines and putting it into the bilge pump the following season?
     


  17. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,907 posts, 1,855 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    If I remember my organic chemistry more or less correctly. The PG is converted to an alcohol (non drinkable kind) and then the alcohol ferments into an acid, in much the same way that vinegar is produced. While the pink color may still be there, the PG is no longer or at best at a much weaker concentration. The negative effects are 2 fold, less protection and high acid content which is destructive.
     


  18. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,979 posts, 1,233 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    Oh, alright. I'll retract the proposition to reuse PG.

    I was wro... wro... I was wrong.
     


  19. thinwater

    thinwater

    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    2,351 posts, 577 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    Yeah, that really is throwing down the gauntlet in a sailing forum! There are some real experts around.

    More seriously, the "penny wise, pound foolish" test is tough and not always obvious. We've all guessed wrong before. Forums are a good way to share with others where we have stepped in the mud.
     


    justsomeguy likes this.
  20. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,907 posts, 1,855 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    It is probably OK to reuse the AF in the same year. For example Collect the AF from the freshwater system to reuse in the bilge pump. Just use a refractometer to check that it hasn't been diluted too much.

    Time is the enemy here. The longer it sits, the worse it gets. When I Second Star, the AF sat in the sanitation hose and the water filter for about 3 years. It was foul, the hose and filter were the first to go!
     




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