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Fresh Water System Winterizing

Aug 21, 2006
203
Pearson 367 Alexandria, VA
MaineSail,

I really enjoy your posts... Let me offer another point of view... For years I used the "Pink" anti-freeze to winterize the fresh water system on Sea Dragon only to spend the first part of next sailing season getting rid of the "funky" smell, feel, and taste. I have modified my winterizing process to eliminate the pink stuff and replace it with air... This has served me well over the years. I have found it to be neater, faster, and less expensive than filling and cleaning the fresh water system the “Pink” stuff.

http://www.sailingseadragon.com/winterize.htm

Once again, thank you for your project postings. My favorite has to be your post on replacing the drive shaft packing... This may be "one upped" by your NFM port replacement write-up (that is my big winter project this year).

Garner
 
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Likes: uncledom
Feb 6, 1998
11,165
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
I certainly prefer air, and have used that process on many boats, but it is nowhere near as reliable and you'll only find this out come spring..

The problem is that it does not always work, on all boats, depending upon the plumbing system, layout and your compressors capability. I would say to try it on your boat and if it works, then use air. If you want reliability, without guessing if it will work, then stick with a few dollars in antifreeze.

Every spring I see plenty of plumbing failures due to DIY blow outs or anti-freeze dilution. Both methods need to be done correctly..
 

Ross

.
Jun 15, 2004
14,693
Islander/Wayfairer 30 sail number 25 Perryville,Md.
Re: I certainly..

I prefer vodka for antifreeze. I get rid of the water by every means mentioned and then pump 100 proof vodka into the system until it comes out all of the faucets. I too hate the taste of the pink stuff.
 
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Likes: uncledom
Sep 25, 2008
5,563
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
I prefer vodka for antifreeze. I get rid of the water by every means mentioned and then pump 100 proof vodka into the system until it comes out all of the faucets. I too hate the taste of the pink stuff.
A definite winner - this is a two-fer in that you can winterize with it and then drink it in the spring although the award would come with a trophy Ross had you chosen scotch
 
P

Pat T

Garner, what about water lines....

from water tanks to waterpump? I want to try the air method this year but how can you be sure the water is out of these lines? It doesn't seem like you are putting pressure into these lines to empty them out? Is there something I am not understanding? Thanks.
 

Ross

.
Jun 15, 2004
14,693
Islander/Wayfairer 30 sail number 25 Perryville,Md.
A definite winner - this is a two-fer in that you can winterize with it and then drink it in the spring although the award would come with a trophy Ross had you chosen scotch

Don , Nancy won't let me use Glenlivit and she doesn't care for Ballentines. ;D
 
Aug 21, 2006
203
Pearson 367 Alexandria, VA
Pat T,

In the case of Sea Dragon, opening the Strainer allows the water to drain from the strainer to the water tanks for 2 out of 3 of our water tanks (the third which is a pain has not been used in years). It other cases it may be necessary to move the foot pump to the other side of the water pump and blow air through the lines between the pump and tank(s), very easy to do.

My experience has been that the larger tank-to-pump supply lines are more forgiving of small amounts of water left in them than the smaller pump to outlet lines.

Garner
 

TimCup

.
Jan 30, 2008
304
Catalina 22 St. Pete
What I've learned-

1- when it comes to cleaning buffing and making look new, I read Maine Sail.

2- When I want to know if it's worth spending the money, I read Ross.

In this case, if Ross says buy the vodka, I'm buying the vodka. Of course, living in Florida, winterizing is simplified. We don't put it IN the boat, we bring it ON the boat. And, MaineSail, we can get that full pink color mixing it with Ruby Red Gapefruit Juice.

I love winter in the south...
cup
 

Jim

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May 21, 2007
775
Catalina 36 MK II NJ
prefer vodka for antifreeze

I would be carefull but many people do, do it. You want to use 100 proof and I think it might get espensive depending on how big your fresh water systems is. I use 3 gallons on anti-freese, one in each tank.

Also how do fresh water hoses stand up to alcohol? Fuel line do not like it much!

Anti-freese works fine if you flush it out good!
Pure ethanol freezes at -114 °C


Alcoholic beverages will freeze somewhere between -114 °C and 0 °C depending on the alcohol content.

The kind of alcohol that people can drink is called ethanol and it has a freezing point of -114 degrees celcius (-114 °C). However, there are many other kinds of alcohol (such as methanol, rubbing alcohol or isopropanol, butanol, and many others) and each one has a different freezing point. Water freezes at 0 °C and the coldest most home model freezers will go down to -18 °C. That is why alcoholic beverages won't freeze in your home freezer. However, most alcoholic beverage are not pure ethanol, but instead a mixture of water and ethanol. The freezing point of the mixture depends on how much of each component is in it. For instance, something with only 1% ethanol will freeze just a little below 0 °C, whereas something with 95% ethanol will freeze pretty close to -114 °C. How much ethanol is in a particular alcoholic beverage is listed on the bottle, either as a percentage or as a "proof" which is just 2 times the percentage (100 proof = 50% ethanol).
 

Jim

.
May 21, 2007
775
Catalina 36 MK II NJ
Sail Maine Quick question

Do you put any anti freeze in the water heater?

If you don't, do you blow air in the intake to push the water out or does the dril pump do that for you?
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,165
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Yes

did you make it?
Yes, I made it, but it was a "mid-season" quickie and was re-built out of PEX. Copper will tarnish quickly in a bilge and the PEX allows for easy assembly and disassembly etc..

Do you put any anti freeze in the water heater?

If you don't, do you blow air in the intake to push the water out or does the drill pump do that for you?

NO, no, no !!! That is the whole purpose of the water heater by-pass loop. It simply by-passes the water heater by connecting the cold water supply to the hot water return line. You always want to drain the heater and bypass it...
 
Jun 7, 2004
36
Catalina 320 Middle River, MD
from water tanks to waterpump? I want to try the air method this year but how can you be sure the water is out of these lines? It doesn't seem like you are putting pressure into these lines to empty them out? Is there something I am not understanding? Thanks.
Usually, the pump is low in the hull so water from tanks will flow via gravity. I use a shop vac setup to blow from the faucet end. This way more water is driven to the lowest point. Beforehand, remove the hose from the pump and blow through the pump as well. I also have a water heater bypass and never put antifreeze in it. Be sure to reverse the vac and remove all water from the tanks. Leave valves open. I also leave the hoses off the pump. I use a LOT less antifreeze and the process is quicker. Don't forget the fridge drain and the manual bilge pump.
 
Dec 7, 2013
91
O'day 302 Baltimore MD
I know this is an old thread, but I was curious.....why should I not leave antifreeze in the hot water heater? Is it bad if there is antifreeze in the hot water heater?
 
Sep 25, 2008
5,563
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
I know this is an old thread, but I was curious.....why should I not leave antifreeze in the hot water heater? Is it bad if there is antifreeze in the hot water heater?
It's not bad. Just unnecessary.

If you drain the heater, what water remains will not do any damage when it freezes. Water expands up, not sideways, taking the path of least resistance.

Visualize a glass bottle with a trivial amount of water freezing. The bottle won't break as long as the water has a place to expand.

Drain the heater and open the lines.
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,165
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
I know this is an old thread, but I was curious.....why should I not leave antifreeze in the hot water heater? Is it bad if there is antifreeze in the hot water heater?

Because the proper protocol for winterizing a hot water heater is to:

A) Drain it
B) By-pass it

There is, and should be, no AF in the water heater...

Why do we do this?

Because it is nearly impossible to properly freeze protect a water heater by pumping AF through it. It would require so much AF, to not get diluted, as to not be cost effective...

Course I get customers who have tried an improper winterizing almost ever spring..

Not bypassed & drained = Cha-Ching $$$$$$: (owner claimed he sucked in 6 gallons)


Here's another water heater that was improperly winterized. This is the actuall pressure vessel... Cha-ching $$$$$
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Data point:

I have the same refractometer and tested three products.

All of these are propylene glycol solutions with no ethanol or methanol.

Dow RV AntiFreeze -50º: -18ºC (-0.4 ºF) $5/gallon at Home Depot
West Marine Pure Oceans -50º: -14ºC (-6.8ºF) $5/gallon on sale at West Marine
Sta-Bil RV & Marine Premium Antifreeze -75º: -11ºC (-12.2ºF) $4/gallon at WalMart

Clearly the Dow stuff is the best. I was surprised, I thought the Sta-Bil would be, and I think the label saying "-75º" is deceptive.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Because the proper protocol for winterizing a hot water heater is to:

A) Drain it
B) By-pass it

There is, and should be, no AF in the water heater...

Why do we do this?

Because it is nearly impossible to properly freeze protect a water heater by pumping AF through it. It would require so much AF, to not get diluted, as to not be cost effective...

Course I get customers who have tried an improper winterizing almost ever spring..

Not bypassed & drained = Cha-Ching $$$$$$: (owner claimed he sucked in 6 gallons)


Here's another water heater that was improperly winterized. This is the actuall pressure vessel... Cha-ching $$$$$
The 10 gallon water heater on the Tartan doesn't seem to have a drain tap as on the Seward you show. As mine is installed, there appears to be a bypass installed, with a valve on the input, one on the output, and a hose connecting them together. At the bottom one, there's a petcock pointing down. I opened it, and water drained, but I'm not sure I drained all of it. At the top, opposite where the petcock would be, there's a fitting that looks like a hose barb, and inside, a ball and spring. Could this be a pressure relief?

Any advice on making sure its drained, how to tell?

Thanks,

jv
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,165
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
This is one reason I don't like pre-installed valved water heater by-pass kits. In order to properly drain the tank you need to let air into it, preferably from the near the top, so water can drain out of it.. When you manually disconnect the hot water outlet supply feed from the tank, to bypass it, this breaks the air seal and the tank can then drain out the cold water supply/inlet..

Breaking open the T&P (temperature & pressure relief valve) in many, no make that most cases, it destroys the seat/seal in the T&P and it will likely not re-seal again as it originally did. Only break the T&P as an absolute last resort.

Once the tank has manually drained blast a bit of air into the cold water feed to force as much out the drain valve as you can.

Unfortunately the cheap aluminum vessel water heaters are most often inadequately plumbed as they ship and require custom piping, including a drain valve and thermostatic mixing valve, when you install them.