Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention - SailNet Community

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Old 12-26-2013   #1
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Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

My concerns for water freezing in the bilge this winter had me thinking about the best way of preventing it next year. I've read all the tips, antifreeze, salt(can't do it, steel punchings ballast), and other recommendations.

No one came up with pipe thaw cable for people near electricity. This would be a heavy duty type that can't be frayed. This fall I may shovel(chisel) out the ballast punchings and lay down a strip inside a 1.25inch expandable protective pipe sheathing of some sort. I would continue it on to the bottom of the rear fin area. If the block is too large to defrost, the area around the
wire should be soft enough to form a buffer to absorb expansion of the block.

Some of these wires come with temperature adjustment and activation. They come in lengths of 3ft up to 10ft I think. I would connect it to a ground fault outlet.

This is not a recommendation and has a potential for electrical shock. It's just an idea, so disclaimer duly noted. I think the instructions say not to be used in water, which is a no brainer. The plug end would need to be attached to underside of cabin.

Best thing is to fix the problem, but seems like a good protective measure for GRP boats. Also fire would be an issue.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-26-2013   #2
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Re: Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

1 gallon of straight Polypropylene Glycol (Sierra Anti-Freeze concentrate ~$14), and I don't have to worry about it.
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Old 12-26-2013   #3
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Re: Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

How about getting as much of the water out as you can a shop vac works great for that. If you are accumulating water at the dock you need to address those issues. As far as your heat tape idea sounds good however I would look at the ones designed for stock tanks for livestock they are submersable and the local feed store should have them.
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Old 12-26-2013   #4
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Re: Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

Water comes down our mast and put a remarkable amount of water in the bilge over 5 months. We can not install a garboard plug, as the keel is pretty long, so we just pull a through hull that happens to be between the mast and keel. It will drain most of the water.

No water, no freezing. Mostly.
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Old 12-26-2013   #5
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Re: Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

I second the glycol, cheap & effective.
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Old 12-26-2013   #6
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Re: Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

if you had to put a heater in.. I would get one for use in koi ponds
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Old 12-26-2013   #7
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Re: Frozen Bilge, Possible Prevention

you could put some koi in there too... they go dormant when the water that they're in freezes.

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Last edited by eherlihy; 12-27-2013 at 09:33 AM.
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