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Old 07-07-2013, 10:44   #1
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Smelly Water

my inboard water tanks smell. sort of a mixture of antifreeze from the winter and rotten eggs. whats the best thing to put in them to clear this up. I've ran hundreds of gallons of water through but still getting it. someone mentioned agricultural grade peroxide but I can't find a supplier for it. any ideas? I've tried cap fulls of clorox with no real improvement
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:00   #2
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Re: SMELLY WATER

try running several gallons of white vinegar through the system. It clears up the smell in just about anything.
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Old 07-07-2013, 13:25   #3
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Re: Smelly Water

I'll preface my comment with the acknowledgment that I never "winterize" beyond making sure that I've cruised to lower latitudes during the winter. In fact, the only winter I've spent north of Florida was the winter in Maryland just before moving aboard my first boat and sailing back south. That said, and identifying my ignorance, what's this antifreeze in the drinking water tanks? Is this some safe form of antifreeze and not the poisonous ethylene glycol? I like the vinegar suggestion from "DRS". In addition, I've had success with a lime juice concentrate for smells, but for that I think you'd do best with a near empty tank before running it through your plumbing as it would be far less effective diluted.
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Old 07-07-2013, 13:46   #4
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Yes they make a non toxic antifreeze for tanks. I suppose the fear is that last couple of inches that cant be removed from the tanks could hard freeze and split the bottom seams.
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Old 07-07-2013, 15:03   #5
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Re: Smelly Water

Put about 3 oz of clorox per 50 gal tank, fill all tanks with this. Run the water, including hot water through all outlets until you smell the clorox. Then top up the tank and add an addition oz of clorox. Wait 24 hours, then drain all the tanks and hot water system. If you have a RO water maker, you will have to protect it from the clorox.
You should be smell clean after that, but you will have white scale in the water supply, that is were a 20micro filter on the pressure system will help.
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Old 07-07-2013, 15:12   #6
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Thanks, I will give that shot. I tried some clorox but no where near that amount. my problem is I cant control which tank gets the water. they just fill up one at a time until all full, all 375 gallons worth! no way to drain them that I have found!
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Old 07-07-2013, 15:17   #7
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Re: Smelly Water

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Originally Posted by DSDman View Post
Thanks, I will give that shot. I tried some clorox but no where near that amount. my problem is I cant control which tank gets the water. they just fill up one at a time until all full, all 375 gallons worth! no way to drain them that I have found!
Are you sure about that? That would not have been a logical way to build a freshwater system. Usually there's a manifold somewhere that allows you to control what tanks are being drawn from. For example, when I sail to Mexico, since I'll be on starboard tack for days, I'll close the starboard tanks and draw from the port tanks.

I think most boats with multiple tanks have this sort of system. If yours doesn't, consider what would happen if one tank ruptured or went foul offshore, and then could drain or contaminate the entire system. This would be a disaster, and should be fixed before you begin making passages.
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Old 07-07-2013, 15:18   #8
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Re: Smelly Water

Mine is the same. Since I have 2 50gal tanks on each side, I add 3 oz to the start and then once I think the bottom tank is full, I slowly add the next 3 oz while the water is flowing into the tube (hoping that it goes into the top tank).
The trick is to let it set after you have run water through all the outlets. Clorox takes time to work.
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Old 07-07-2013, 15:32   #9
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Re: Smelly Water

You should have a manifold that controls which tank is providing water the the pressure pump. Use the pressure pump to drain each tank once you have let it sit for 24 hours, then refill, and if you want, pump it all out again to get rid of the last smell of clorox. Don't for forget to run the hot water!
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Old 07-07-2013, 16:04   #10
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Re: Smelly Water

Weve tried everything and on last several boats and have found, hydrogen peroxide works Great.add a half bottle per tank, let it sit a few hours after running your water thru the lines, then flushs it out and fill. Tanks dont need to be full. at first.
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Old 07-07-2013, 16:30   #11
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I do have the ability to pick which tank I use from. I dont have the ability to pick which tank to fill. agree that it is not optimal. I will be replacing the tanks soon as one is leaking and they are original and I plan on having a much better system eventually....maybe next year. one that had a drain tube for each tank that I can open and completely drain would be great. I'm going to wear out this water pump cycling all this water through!
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:11   #12
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Re: Smelly Water

DS: see here, post #3: Cleaning the Fresh Water System

Once cleaned, subsequent fills with serious sediment filtration -- and constant usage -- helps even more.

BTW, if you mean your freshwater tanks are filled through a common inlet, maybe there's a transfer or crossover hose connecting the tanks? Possibly running somewhere lower than your tanks at some point? If so, you could perhaps insert a T fitting with a drain in that hose...

CF: Yes, potable anti-freeze, aka "the pink stuff" is commonly used for winterizing freshwater tanks, heads (and hence, holding tanks), etc. Easily available, also commonly used in RVs and so forth. Most often used when tanks can't be completely drained (e.g., ours, before I inserted a T-drain in the transfer hose (see above)).

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Old 08-07-2013, 16:26   #13
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Re: Smelly Water

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................. CF: Yes, potable anti-freeze, aka "the pink stuff" is commonly used for winterizing freshwater tanks, heads (and hence, holding tanks), etc. Easily available, also commonly used in RVs and so forth. Most often used when tanks can't be completely drained (e.g., ours, before I inserted a T-drain in the transfer hose (see above)).

-Chris
Yes, Thanks, I need this information because, if you recall, where I grew up we would have a day off from school if the high temperature was not forecast to reach at least 60 degrees Fharenheit.
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:41   #14
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Re: Smelly Water

Fresh Water System Recommissioning 101 hot water "rotten egg" odor
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:51   #15
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Re: Smelly Water

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Yes, Thanks, I need this information because, if you recall, where I grew up we would have a day off from school if the high temperature was not forecast to reach at least 60 degrees Fharenheit.

I knew you would never again be comfortable not knowing...



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