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  #11  
Old 08-28-2011
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There is a 6" hole in the top of the tank with a screw on cap so I can get in there to clean it and remove the last bit of water. I really think the problem is in the water that's left in there, it's a milky white and smells so bad that it has to be the source. I'm not sure it hasn't ruined the hoses but I'm gonna start by removing it and running a bleach solution throughout the system and see what that does. We would never drink the water anyways but I still don't want it smelling nasty.
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Old 08-28-2011
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Almost certainly polyethylene

a. When you winterize, in addition to ONLY puting AF in the lines (add a tee and 2 valves near the pump inlet so you can suck from a bottle). Blow most of it out with the pump as soon as you finish.

b. Don't winterize for any longer than required. If you wait until it is cold (starting to frost at night) and flush it when it is just warming (still some light frosts) it won't be in there as long and, because it is cold, it won't have a chance to go bad. Clearly, I advocate a LONG sailing season.

c. It should clean up with scrubbing and bleach. It require a few repetitions.

d. If the water never tastes really fresh (some are more particular than others and don't like tap water), it's not the end of the world; drink bottled water and use the tanks for everything else (bathing, cooking). Since no body (but me) drinks the tap water at our house, this is hardly a change. There is actually a VERY good reason to carry a lot of bottled water; someday you will either break a strainer or some one will leave a tap open a crack and you will lose your tank's water over night. Always carry enough bottles to prevent cutting a cruise short and for safety.

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Old 08-28-2011
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Worth a try. Let us know if you come up with the right potion. Bleach is good, but don't be tempted to let it sit for too long, it is pretty caustic. I also like dishwasher detergent, as it doesn't suds much and cleans pretty well.
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Old 08-28-2011
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Using a bit of bleach is fine, just don't let the bleach set it the system for more than a few minutes and flush everything really well afterwards.
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When I winterize my water tanks I use the cheapest vodka I can get. For my tank I need about a gallon. First I empty the tank, than I add in the vodka and run it through all the lines. In the spring I flush the system two or three times. When flushing the system I don't fill the tanks. I use about five gallons of water each time. I'm just trying to empty the tank not 'wash it'. Than I'll put in about a 1/4 cup of bleach fill the tank turn on the taps so that mixture is in the lines. Let that sit over night and empty it out the next day, refill with water and I'm done.

Costs about $20 for the vodka but it doesn't have that funky color that the 'potable' AF has. Nobody every complains about a little vodka in the water.......
I also empty the tank every couple of weeks and refill to keep the water 'fresh'.
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We just hook up an air compressor set to 50psi and open all the faucets. All lines are empty in minutes. Easy. You can buy a portable compressor for well under $100, which is about the cost of a few years AF/vodka and now you have a compressor for other duty.
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Old 08-28-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetdrvr393 View Post
There is a 6" hole in the top of the tank with a screw on cap so I can get in there to clean it and remove the last bit of water. I really think the problem is in the water that's left in there, it's a milky white and smells so bad that it has to be the source. I'm not sure it hasn't ruined the hoses but I'm gonna start by removing it and running a bleach solution throughout the system and see what that does. We would never drink the water anyways but I still don't want it smelling nasty.
We have the same plastic water tanks. Before we haul the boat we drain the tanks and sponge out every last bit of water. Then we leave the tank caps off (and the wood cover) through the winter so that air circulates. Last winter we also removed the hoses.

We don't use the water in the tanks for anything more than washing dishes and showers. For drinking water we carry a large water container with water from home. Every couple of tank fills we add less than a cap full of bleach to each tank.

We have two tanks, one under the v-berth and one under the starboard berth. For some reason the PO ran the hoses so that if one tank drains before the other, we run out of water. The second tank won't kick in. On our list is to install a valve so that we can switch between the tanks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
...
We don't use the water in the tanks for anything more than washing dishes and showers. For drinking water we carry a large water container with water from home. Every couple of tank fills we add less than a cap full of bleach to each tank.
...
This is essentially the same strategy I use, except that I use 2.5 gallon carboys of drinking water (the kind you buy already filled at the grocery store), and an ice chest full of San Pellegrino bottles, as drinking/cooking water. Put enough household bleach in the main tank so that you can just barely smell/taste the chlorine and it won't grow anything, but still be drinkable in a pinch (if somewhat less than great tasting).
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disclaimer, I have never had a boat with a water tank but i do have a RV with one. On RV's it is recommended to "sanitize" your fresh water tanks at least yearly or more often if your not using them regularly. I'm sure if you google sanitize boat or rv water tanks you'll get some hits and ideas on your problem.
I dump 1/2 gallon of bleach and a few gallons of water in and let it slosh arround then run it thru all the taps flush and repeat.

Last edited by bandaidmd; 08-28-2011 at 01:19 PM.
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A quarter cup of bleach per gallon of water is plenty to sanitize.

I would highly caution against drinking any water with high levels of chlorine. It's quite bad for you. However, a simply drip carbon filter (brita, pur) will take it out.
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