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Old 20-01-2022, 14:00   #1
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Cleaning fresh water supply lines

I have just purchased a 2003 Taswell and I am noticing that when I leave the boat for several days the water lines smell when I initially turn them on. The tank have been cleaned and refilled with fresh filtered water. The smell is still there. When I let the water run at the faucet the smell goes away. I would like to flush out the cold and hot lines to each of the faucets. My plan would be to set up a closed loop for each of the lines and circulated a cleaning solution using an external pump and 5 gal pail. I do not want to replace the water lines in the boat, this would be a very difficult project. If I can find the correct solution to clean with I believe this would work. I do not want to fill my tanks with the solution but rather isolate each individual supply line and create a closed loop with additional hose and fittings back to the pump and bucket.
Can someone recommend a cleaning solution.

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Old 20-01-2022, 14:14   #2
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

You need Peggy Hall's bible. Do a search for her on here.

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Old 20-01-2022, 14:25   #3
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Look for "recommissioning" fresh water, been detailed here many, many times.


It works.


And buy her book, worth its weight in gold.
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Old 20-01-2022, 22:50   #4
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Superchlorinate - entire system, tanks and hoses, this will sort your smelly hose problem. After superchlorinate, ensure clean water flush 3 to 4 times or more as required to clear all smell of chlorine.
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Old 20-01-2022, 22:53   #5
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

1 cup of bleach (unscented) per 100 gallons. Run all taps until you can smell the chlorine. Leave them for a while (overnight, at least). Run your tanks dry, refill, run them dry again.

A more permanent solution is to replace them with PEX. Since your boat is probably fairly empty at the moment, it's a good time to do it. We did ours in a weekend. Admiral says it's one of the quickest/best upgrades we've ever done.
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Old 21-01-2022, 00:36   #6
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Bleach as above. A very small amount added every time you take on water or make water will keep the tanks and lines clean. If you're on city water you probably won't need to add bleach after the tanks are clean. On the coast, many of the marinas are on wells and that water will need some bleach.
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Old 21-01-2022, 01:30   #7
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Bleach as above. A very small amount added every time you take on water or make water will keep the tanks and lines clean. If you're on city water you probably won't need to add bleach after the tanks are clean. On the coast, many of the marinas are on wells and that water will need some bleach.
Once to kill off anything in the system, sure.

I wouldn't add it regularly unless you are introducing questionable water (and then it's better to try and find a better supply). Bleach is hard on plastic and rubber parts.
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Old 21-01-2022, 03:26   #8
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

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Once to kill off anything in the system, sure.

I wouldn't add it regularly unless you are introducing questionable water (and then it's better to try and find a better supply). Bleach is hard on plastic and rubber parts.

As it is for SS and aluminum tanks. Also, a second for getting Peggy Halls book. Buy it you cheap sailors, it's worth its weight in gold.
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Old 21-01-2022, 11:28   #9
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Again, get Peg's book 'Get Rid of Boat Odors'. She has a page devoted to commissioning of fresh water systems, that will probably cure your problem.

There is another product called 'Star-San' https://fivestarchemicals.com/star-san-sanitizer-32-oz made by 5-Star that you can use to clean the lines and tanks. It is an acid based product, used by brewers and vintners to sanitize their equipment (and not just hobbyists). But as I recall, you have to let it dry to be totally effective. That would mean blowing air through the lines for a protracted period of time.

One final suggestion would be to add a faucet filter like a 'Brita' or 'PUR'. I know several people who do this and swear by them.

As a side note: if the smell you are getting is 'rotten eggs', and you are getting red 'rust' stain at the sinks, you have an iron bacteria problem. Bleach, followed by vinegar or Star-San is your best solution.
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Old 21-01-2022, 12:13   #10
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Check your dock hose could be the culprit i have to run the water a bit before filling the tank.
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Old 21-01-2022, 13:25   #11
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Once to kill off anything in the system, sure.

I wouldn't add it regularly unless you are introducing questionable water (and then it's better to try and find a better supply). Bleach is hard on plastic and rubber parts.
And even harder on aluminum water tanks! Follow Peggys instructions. With aluminum. Ok for regular use of city (chlorinated) water but dont add extra as a routine.
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Old 22-01-2022, 20:00   #12
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Following. Albeit our water tanks and lines are some 32 years old, and I think should be replaced before to much longer. Our s/s tanks seem very clean-there is a little rust on a few weld points, but it seems very minor. Yet the "whole house filter" gets a red cast in about 2 weeks, and needs to be changed after about 6 weeks-it;s covered in heavy red something. The water has no smell, and tastes just fine. What's this Iron bacteria mentioned above...I've never heard of it. I was sure we had a corroding fitting or something on one of the lines causing the red buildup, Tell me more about the "iron bacteria" please.
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Old 22-01-2022, 22:54   #13
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

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Following. Albeit our water tanks and lines are some 32 years old, and I think should be replaced before to much longer. Our s/s tanks seem very clean-there is a little rust on a few weld points, but it seems very minor. Yet the "whole house filter" gets a red cast in about 2 weeks, and needs to be changed after about 6 weeks-it;s covered in heavy red something. The water has no smell, and tastes just fine. What's this Iron bacteria mentioned above...I've never heard of it. I was sure we had a corroding fitting or something on one of the lines causing the red buildup, Tell me more about the "iron bacteria" please.
Google 'iron bacteria' and you'll get all the info you could ever want.

it's a fairly common problem with water wells. The bacteria feed on dissolved iron in the water and produce hydrogen sulfide - which smells like rotten eggs - there are also typically rust stains on plumbing. There can also be a slimey, smelly rust-red residue inside of thanks lines and fixtures.

It can be corrected through filtration. It could be that your filter is removing it, although I would expect you would notice the smell when you change the filter.

On the boat, you should be able to treat and flush the system (as previously mentioned) to fix the problem. However, if your source water, where you fill your tank(s) or connect to your water system is contaminated, the problem will just come back.
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Old 24-01-2022, 10:21   #14
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Re: Cleaning fresh water supply lines

Thanks everyone for your responses. I have some work ahead of me.

George
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