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Winterizing water tank... vodka or pink stuff?

Jan 11, 2014
4,053
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
True, but I did say that you blow out the lines and the pump, and since you blow all of the water out the faucets, there should not be any significant water left in the faucets.
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. :)
 
Feb 10, 2004
2,939
Hunter 40.5 1997 h40.5 Bristol, RI
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. :)
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.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,053
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
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.
Antifreeze does not enter my water tanks!

Any residual AF is throughly flushed out when I shock and drain the tanks in spring.
 
Aug 13, 2012
509
Catalina 270 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.
 
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Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
a. Vodka clean the tank by dissolving aluminum. It is actually far more corrosive than glycol or water. I did the side-by-side testing using standard methodology.

b. After the vodka ferments (which can happen to any under strength AF glycol or alcohol), it will be nastier than the half-empty bottle of Boones Farm under your back seat. This is the nasty taste people observe in their systems, not a "chemical" taste. Vodka is ONLY antiseptic if maintained about 25% ethanol. You won't need a few bottles, you will need 50/50 vodka/water, which will cost 2-3 times more than AF, even if you shop the bottom shelf.

c. Alcohol is rough on some of the plastics and elastomers. I would not put it in my boat in any form (other than the liquor cabinet).

d. Without dye, it will be hard to tell when the vodka is coming out the other end.

The Vodka thing is a tired myth. It makes no sense on any level (corrosion, cost, taste). Can't we bury it?

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.
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,053
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Now my next question... come spring, do I just pump this pink stuff into the ocean???
Yes or on to the ground. In small quantities PG is non toxic. It also breaks down quickly.
 
May 17, 2004
1,863
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE 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.
 
Dec 30, 2010
188
Pacific Seacraft Orion27 HP: San Diego, M: Anacortes
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.
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
 
Aug 13, 2012
509
Catalina 270 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.
 
Feb 20, 2011
7,004
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
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.
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.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,371
Corsair F-24 MK I 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.
 
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Oct 24, 2010
2,015
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
A portable heater? Unattended?

If this is the case, marinas around here expressly forbid that. Too many boat fires.

The other problem with relying on heat is that the probability of loosing power during an ice storm, followed by a cold blast, is material. A GFI could pop. Winterization should be passive.
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
 
May 17, 2004
1,863
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
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.
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?
 
Jan 11, 2014
4,053
Sabre 362 113 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.
 
Feb 20, 2011
7,004
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Oh, alright. I'll retract the proposition to reuse PG.

I was wro... wro... I was wrong.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,371
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
I double-dog-dare you to a cheapness contest!
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.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
4,053
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Oh, alright. I'll retract the proposition to reuse PG.

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