Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 03-12-2016, 20:14   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Southern Chesapeake Bay
Boat: Norseman 430, Jabberwock
Posts: 989
Winterizing Fresh Water System

I have winterized the potable water system each of the last 16 winters using anti-freeze, with no problems.

So arguably I should do the same again this winter.

But reading what I have about the different types of anti-freeze and potential problems with each makes me consider blowing the lines with compressed air.

Do many of you do this for freeze prevention? I can imagine the pitfalls, but think they can be dealt with.

Comments?
__________________

ggray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2016, 21:20   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,501
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

It can certainly be done and people do it.

The risk is drips and drops left in the system migrate down and fill a fitting after you are done, then freezes during the winter.

What are you concerned about with using antifreeze? Reality is a lot of foods contain the constituent parts. Assuming you flush the lines, you probably are consuming far more thru food than you get from trace amounts still in the lines.
__________________

valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 04:51   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Boat: 1989 Catalina 30
Posts: 3
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I used to use antifreeze but hated how long it took to flush the system in the spring and get rid of the taste and smell. I switched over to compressed air and am thrilled every spring. You need to make sure you purge the pump so it doesn't freeze.

I have friends who put a handle of cheap vodka in the lines after they purge the lines just in case. This has no taste. If you are concerned about possible freezing, this may be an answer.
canavap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 05:07   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Southern Chesapeake Bay
Boat: Norseman 430, Jabberwock
Posts: 989
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

Well, I'm now reading something like the propylene antifreeze may not be so good for some of the parts in the water system (maybe the hoses and some rubber pump components, but also the head hoses where the solution ends up, and which I have just replaced ). And or the other hand, ethylene glycol is toxic.

So I thought about draining all lines and then trying to ensure there was no water left.

I suspect that even if there is a small bit of water collecting in a spot, unless it fills up a fitting, perhaps there would be no damage from expansion.

So I'm looking for personal experiences!
ggray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 05:23   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Southern Chesapeake Bay
Boat: Norseman 430, Jabberwock
Posts: 989
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

Quote:
Originally Posted by canavap View Post
I used to use antifreeze but hated how long it took to flush the system in the spring and get rid of the taste and smell. I switched over to compressed air and am thrilled every spring. You need to make sure you purge the pump so it doesn't freeze.
This is what I'm looking for!

I assume you disconnect the line from the pump and blow downstream from there? That would empty the accumulator as well.

My compressor can regulate the pressure (not sure how accurately though) so I thought I'd set at 30 psi. Do you control the pressure you apply?

I would hope not to need to add vodka, especially as I'm not as far north as your friends.
ggray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 05:40   #6
Registered User
 
ranger42c's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Maryland, USA
Boat: 42' Sportfish
Posts: 4,298
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I use air to purge our freshwater system.

First, I drain the freshwater tanks and the water heater. Then purge with a compressor; usually starting at about 30 psi and eventually going up to 40 and then higher sometimes (our PEX system is OK with that). That will also drive a bit more out of the water heater, in our case. (I don't bypass the water heater; the manual says is whatever water is left freeze, no damage will occur.)

Then disconnect the filter/pump/accumulator at each end and bump a bit of AF through -- just enough to get through those parts.

(Some will follow air purging with AF through the systems. I don't do that, mostly because it would best be done with a bypass for the water heater... and I've never bothered to install one.)

In Spring, a quick bump of fresh water through the filter/pump/accumulator will clear that. Reconnect those to the system, and normal commissioning (including freshening) is easy.

-Chris
__________________
Selby Bay, South River, Chesapeake Bay, USA.
ranger42c is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 06:14   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,501
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggray View Post
Well, I'm now reading something like the propylene antifreeze may not be so good for some of the parts in the water system (maybe the hoses and some rubber pump components, but also the head hoses where the solution ends up, and which I have just replaced ). And or the other hand, ethylene glycol is toxic.

So I thought about draining all lines and then trying to ensure there was no water left.

I suspect that even if there is a small bit of water collecting in a spot, unless it fills up a fitting, perhaps there would be no damage from expansion.

So I'm looking for personal experiences!
Propylene Glycol (RV antifreeze) is relatively non-toxic (if you drink enough pure water, it can be toxic, so everything has some level of toxicity). It is safe enough that it is used as a food preservative. It's not a problem for water systems.

Ethylene Glycol (Automotive antifreeze) is ABSOLUTELY WRONG to use at it has a relatively high degree of toxicity.

The biggest issue with using RV antifreeze is it may take a tank or two of water before the taste dissipates.

You can certainly blow out the system with air but just make sure there are no low points that can collect the trace amounts of water. Lots of people do it. Most have no issue.

For the cost of 2 gal of RV antifreeze, it's not worth dragging a compressor down to the boat in the fall and if each faucet puts out pink stuff, you know it's done. In the spring, we just use water jugs for drinking until we've gone thru a tank or two (we use it right away for washing).
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 06:39   #8
Registered User
 
CaptTom's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Boat: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Posts: 1,873
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I disconnect the supply line from the water tank, and connect that to a hose that goes into a jug of pink antifreeze. I then run the system until every fixture runs pink. I also have a water heater bypass so I can take that out of the system and drain it separately.

This way, there's no "pink stuff" in the water tank or the water heater, only the hoses and fixtures. That small amount is easy to flush out in the spring.

The whole process is very quick, and in Spring it's just a matter of re-connecting the water tank and throwing the valve on the water heater bypass. And I never worry about a small amount of water pooling in the wrong place. Had that happen twice, once in a camper and once in a cottage. I haven't been a fan of trying to drain or blow out the lines since then. Obviously, it CAN be done correctly. I'm just not good at it.
CaptTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 07:36   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Boat: Tartan 37 #6
Posts: 441
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I was always confused till I figured, P = Polyprop & People. E = Ethylene & Engine. I drain my tanks, pump pink poly a-feeze thru water system then blow it out with a vacuum cleaner,so,basically its empty but,if I missed any,it has the pink stuff in. Then pump a pint of Ethylene thru the head as apparently its better for the rubber parts. My max/min thermo got to -26F two winters ago,no problems. Water heater is disconnected and drained and blown out with vacuum cleaner,no pink in there as it tastes bad in spring.
steamgoat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 09:42   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 344
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I read thru & think ,just wow,,,wow..... first off no Automotive antifreeze in any water that I am drinking, wtf!! Second is holy cow! Man head SOUTH! ! Just my personal opinion but my Little Willy will get far too chilly to deal with that crap, I live in Florida and I want to go south. These boats are in far too cold of water for me...I hope I never have those problems, you guys are hardcore,when I think of how cold it needs to get to freeze my watermaker, ,,,,,,brrrrrrrrr!
Kita is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 10:03   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: argyle, nova scotia
Boat: 30 feet sailboat, 1991
Posts: 77
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I have a simple system, all flexible tanks, and 2 manual pumps, no hot water heater. I make sure the tanks are not full , anything half full or less is ok., and I just leave it. In western nova scotia, doesn't get really cold until mid jan, and warmed up by mid march. Never had a problem. Propylene glycol is less toxic than ethylene glycol, but it's still toxic, If you going to use antifreeze, use cheap vodka, I'm not sure if plumbing antifreeze is entirely safe if you're going to drink from the system
peter loveridge is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 10:33   #12
Registered User
 
wrwakefield's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Continuing to find new places to explore in southeast Alaska.
Boat: Nauticat 43
Posts: 1,236
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggray View Post
I have winterized the potable water system each of the last 16 winters using anti-freeze, with no problems.

So arguably I should do the same again this winter.

But reading what I have about the different types of anti-freeze and potential problems with each makes me consider blowing the lines with compressed air.

Do many of you do this for freeze prevention? I can imagine the pitfalls, but think they can be dealt with.

Comments?
I never liked the aftertaste the RV antifreezes [propylene-glycol based] leaves in the potable water system- even after thorough flushing. And it knaws on some materials in the plumbing system. [Also, I don't like the taste of Pepto Bismol either, and one might get the impression that is why the RV stuff is pink...] Therefore I have always winterized the potable water systems on our boats, cabins, campers, etc. by blowing out the water with compressed air. [Regulate the pressure not to exceed your normal water pressure and you will reduce the risk of having plumbing to repair...]

However, sometimes you have to use the pink stuff on potable systems, and the right stuff works well.

Practical Sailor has a plethora of articles on this topic. If you choose to read only one, this article is worthwhile...

Best wishes deciding what is best for your needs.

Cheers! Bill
__________________
SV Denali Rose

Short on opinions; focused on research, facts & experience [yours and ours...]
wrwakefield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 17:21   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada
Boat: Beneteau 423
Posts: 36
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

I do BOTH blow out the system with compressed air AND add antifreeze to the system. I ALWAYS emphasize use of ethanol-free antifreeze since it is not harmful to any of the rubber seals in the toilet or faucets. I get it at Holland Marine Products.
Gamechanger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 19:39   #14
Registered User

Join Date: May 2016
Location: mackay, queensland. australia
Boat: e.a jack (builder), g.l watson (designer), 6.2 mtr wll sailboat
Posts: 527
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

fill with rum / decant to a barrel when it warms up / store for next year
knockabout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2016, 23:14   #15
cruiser

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Lake Ontario
Boat: Ontario 38 / Douglas 32 Mk II
Posts: 3,250
Re: Winterizing Fresh Water System

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggray View Post
I have winterized the potable water system each of the last 16 winters using anti-freeze, with no problems.

So arguably I should do the same again this winter.

But reading what I have about the different types of anti-freeze and potential problems with each makes me consider blowing the lines with compressed air.

Do many of you do this for freeze prevention? I can imagine the pitfalls, but think they can be dealt with.

Comments?
I winterize several boats per year.

The trouble with either method, compressed air or propylene glycol, is "Did you get all the water out?"

With compressed air, it is easy to see when water stops flowing out of a tap, but it is possible for some water to stay in a line, and then flow back down to a low point, where it accumulates, freezes, and then busts something.

Therefore, when possible, it is better to apply the compressed air to the high point in the system, for water discharge at a low point (rather than the other way round).

In general it is safer (from a freezing standpoint) to use propylene glycol.

When using propylene glycol, bypass and drain the water heater and freshwater tank. Feed the glycol to the pressure pump inlet, and then open each tap in turn until the anti-freeze runs out. It is wise to measure antifreeze samples from each tap to ensure it is not diluted. Diluted propylene glycol is not very effective freeze protection.

If possible, avoid putting anti-freeze directly into the fresh water tank, or into the water heater, as this consumes a lot more anti-freeze than necessary, and takes 4 or 5 freshwater flushes in the spring, to dilute the remaining anti-freeze enough one cannot smell or taste it.
__________________

ramblinrod is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
water

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Water Leak - Fresh Water System jzender42480 Powered Boats 2 19-05-2016 23:16
Water Leak - Fresh Water System jzender42480 Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 21 18-05-2016 06:33
Plumbing City Water into Boat's Fresh Water System unbusted67 Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 20 01-10-2011 12:41
Salt Water in Fresh Water System marc2012 Engines and Propulsion Systems 5 19-06-2010 05:28
Winterizing Water System with One Gallon of Antifreeze mbianka Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 36 27-12-2009 10:02

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:40.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.