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Old 05-03-2010, 11:39   #1
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Fresh Water Tank Cleaning

Our boat has 2 - 50 gallon water tanks, tied together. The boat is about 12 years old and the tanks are aluminum. When we first purchased the boat, the water had been in there for a long time and smelled and looked bad. I did the normal Clorox in the tank type cleaning and that seemed to fix the problem. We do not live on the boat, so sometimes we may go several months between using the water in the tanks.

Since I have found this forum, I have learned I should not be using Clorox in an aluminum tank. Several have said to use Hydrogen Peroxide instead. My question is how much Peroxide should I use to initially clean the 100 gallons of capacity, and how much should I use (if any) each time we fill the tanks?

Also, we are going to the Bahamas for 6 weeks this spring. I will additionally take 3 - 5 gallon blue plastic jury cans. Should I add anything to the water in these cans?

Thanks - Great Forum
Doug
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:44   #2
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Hey Doug...welcome to the forum.
Have you tried doing a search in the above search funchion...the "google" box works the best for me.
Good luck.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:04   #3
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I'm not sure about how much peroxide. But take it easy on all oxidizers like chlorine and peroxide. They are not friendly to either aluminum or stainless...they make rust. Water itself is pretty good at cleaning a tank. Lots of it. Run a few tankfulls in and out over a few days. City water that is not very tasty will get worse it a boat tank. Also or might be your hoses.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:35   #4
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Here is the process we use

From PEGGIE HALL’S LIBRARY OF CLASSICS
Fresh Water Maintenance
Most fresh water system problems - foul odour or taste - don’t originate in the tank, but in the plumbing, which is an ideal environment for molds, fungi and bacteria that thrive in damp dark places. Here’s the recommended method for recommissioning fresh water systems; this should be done at least annually. l Fill the water tank with a solution of 3/4 dl. of household bleach per 10 litre tank capacity. l Turn on every faucet on the boat (including a deck wash if you have one). l Allow the water to run until what’s coming out smells strongly of bleach.
l Turn off the faucets, but leave system pressurised so the solution remains in the lines.
l Let stand overnight - at least hours - but NO LONGER THAN 24 HOURS.
l Drain through every faucet on the boat (and if you haven’t done this in a while, it’s a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, ‘coz what’s likely to come out will clog them).
l Fill the tank again with fresh water only l Drain again through every faucet on the boat, repeating till the water runs clean and smells and tastes clean.
Remember: cleaning out the tank addresses only the least of the problem ... most of the problem occurs in the lines, so it’s very important to leave the system pressurised while the bleach solution is in the tank to keep the solution in the lines too.
People have expressed concern about using this method to recommission aluminium tanks. While bleach (chlorine) IS corrosive, the effect of an annual or semi-annual "shock treatment" is negligible compared to the cumulative effect of holding chlorinated city water in the tank for years. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to mix the total amount of bleach in a few gallons of water before putting it into either a stainless or aluminium tank.
People have also expressed concern about the possible damage by the rubber and neoprene parts in a water pump. Again, the cumulative effect of putting chlorinated water through the pump is more damaging than an occasional "shock treatment". Occasionally, water pumps have been known to fail after recommissioning, but they’ve always been older pumps; recommissioning only "pushed ‘em over the edge" a month or so sooner than they’d have failed anyway - which I consider preferable to finding yourself without water during the second week
of a 3 week cruise.
To keep the water system cleaner longer; USE your fresh water ... keep water flowing through the system. The molds, fungi, and bacteria only start to grow in hoses that aren’t being used. Before filling the tank each time, always let the dock water run for at least 15 minutes first ... the same critters that like the lines on your boat LOVE the dock supply line and your hose that sit in the warm sun, and you don’t want to transfer water that’s been sitting in the dock supply line to your boat’s system. So let the water run long enough to flush out all the
water that’s been standing in them so that what goes into your boat is coming straight from the water main.

WG
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Old 05-03-2010, 13:38   #5
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Vinegar is great for dissolving mineral deposits like carbonates that build-up over years of water sitting in a tank. The acidity helps to dissolve calcium deposits that otherwise become permanent attachments inside the tanks. Since you can drink vinegar, you can use a straight solution with lots of cheap vinegar from the supermarket. Let it sit for days given the age of those tanks

Of course, you can do what I'm going to have done to my 300 gallon tanks and have an inspection port cut in the top that can be screwed back down after climbing into the tank and attacking those deposits more forcefully
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:16   #6
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All this is helpful, but I still am trying to detemine how much Hydrogen Peroxide I need to put into my aluminum tank to clean it and how much to put in to maintain it on an ongoing basis
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Old 08-03-2010, 15:11   #7
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If using the 35% peroxide use 1/10 gal per 100-gals of water. But if you want to there isn't anything wrong with adding a higher amount. If using something weaker just ratio it out.
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Old 10-03-2010, 15:02   #8
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where to find 30% hydrogen Peroxide

Now that I know how much 30% Hydrogen Peroxide to use, where do I find it? I tried a couple of swimming pool places and a Beauty Supply place, but neither carried it.
Thanks,
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Old 10-03-2010, 16:30   #9
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We did the bleach thing. Numerous times. And still came up with off color water.

What we FINALLY found was that an accumulator tank in the system was completely rotted inside. Full of rust and a mess. They put a steel tank in the setup. We scraped the tank and switched to a pump that does not need an accumulator.

Problem gone.

FYI if you have an accumulator tank it will be somewhere between the pump and the spigots. Small round thing. 2-5 gallons. They hide nicely.
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Old 10-03-2010, 16:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougfuller View Post
Now that I know how much 30% Hydrogen Peroxide to use, where do I find it? I tried a couple of swimming pool places and a Beauty Supply place, but neither carried it.
Thanks,

Do an on-line search, you're not going tofind running around to stores. This is an industrial strength product.
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Old 10-03-2010, 18:04   #11
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Quote:
Now that I know how much 30% Hydrogen Peroxide to use, where do I find it?
Most drug stores carry it.

It is handy to have for cleaning out a cut followed by a triple antibiotic cream and a dressing. It's not exceptionally dangerous either as long as you don't drink it. Don't go overboard when cleaning tanks as you only need as much as you need no matter how bad they seem. The hoses don't need to be punished more than required. One part per 1,000 (1/10 per 100) is enough to do a proper job. Avoid the more is better tendency some folks get into. Your plumbing will last longer. A repeat performance is prefered to a grand stand.
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Old 10-03-2010, 21:00   #12
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You won't find it in a drug store as topical peroxide solutions are typically 2-3% concentration which is useless in disinfecting water tanks.

The best place to buy concentrated hydrogen peroxide is a chemical formulator which can be found in any major city with the added advantage they can supply it in any concentration and volume you prefer.

One other note - you can't simply extrapolate the amount to use based on concentration. The actual dilution factor is a function of relative molecular weights and other equally esoteric concepts.

Hydrogen peroxide is safer, has a longer retention time or duration during which it remains effective, won't create an offensive chlorine-type odor, won't attach aluminum tanks and synthetic gaskets, can't cause the formation of chlorinated hydrocarbons and is a more effective disinfectant. Frankly, I can't think of any good reason to use chlorine solutions for disinfection except it is cheaper.
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Old 11-03-2010, 05:02   #13
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You may get higher concentrations in your hoses, but in the tank it's a matter of how much hydrogen peroxide (concentration and volume) you use versus how much water is in the tank. You can find dilution calculators online.

Hydrogen Peroxide is actually a stronger oxidizer than chlorine and becomes highly dangerous at extreme concentrations. In my earlier years as a chemistry major working a coop job with a chemical company, I had the opportunity to use something on the order of 95% - 98% hydrogen peroxide for controlling biological growth in a cooling tower. I had the gloves and the facemask with the special container of hydrogen peroxide on a metal cart. I recall that the valve developed a leak and the hydrogen peroxide trickling down onto the metal cart caused the metal to bubble. After taking a very small quantity of hydrogen peroxide (a few ml) and adding it to the cooling tower, I went inside the travel lab and washed the gloves off thoroughly with water, then removed the gloves and washed my hands off thoroughly with water. Then, I would watch my hands turn white from the small amount of residue. It's pretty scary at that concentration.

High-concentration hydrogen peroxide streams, typically above 40%, should be considered a D001 hazardous waste, due to concentrated hydrogen peroxide's meeting the definition of a DOT oxidizer, if released into the environment. The EPA Reportable Quantity (RQ) for D001 hazardous wastes is 100 pounds, or approximately ten gallons, of concentrated hydrogen peroxide.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:30   #14
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Try Ozone?

A small ozone bubbler should do the trick, with no residues.
IZ-500MG | Ionic Zone 500 mg/h Water and Oil Ozonator
is a pumped ozonator with timer, needs AC power (inverter)

Air Purifiers Superstore

No, I dont' sell these, yes, I have one.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:25   #15
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After checking around, I found 35% Hydrogen Peroxide at a couple of health food stores. Thanks for all your help.
Doug
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