SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Gear & Maintenance (
-   -   Smelly Fresh Water Tank (

jetdrvr393 08-27-2011 11:06 PM

Smelly Fresh Water Tank
When we took possession of our Catalina 30 2 weeks ago we found that the freshwater system was still full of red antifreeze from last winter. I promptly drained it, refilled it and drained it again, the tank still has a god awfull smell coming from it and when I took the lid off and looked in the tank the last tiny bit of water that won't get sucked out by the pump is a milky white color. I am planning to get the last bit of water out of there and clean it out with bleach and then try to pump some water with bleach in it through the 2 faucets. Will this work? Anyone have any ideas? Can antifreeze get nasty if it's left in too long?

Thanks for the help

mitiempo 08-27-2011 11:18 PM

Not sure about the anti-freeze but remember the hoses can be as big a factor as the tank. If they are very old their replacement can go a long ways toward improving water quality.

pdqaltair 08-27-2011 11:32 PM

Yup, AF can get nasty.
It's biodegradable, so I'm sure you have a soup of bacteria and yeast.

a. Never put AF in the tank. Drain the tank, suck it out with a shop-vac, and then suck AF only into the plumbing.

b. Yes, flush repeatadly, then after 3-4 flushes, bleach is a fine idea. A 1/4 cup per 10 gallons is a good starting point.

Take heart. If you winterize properly you won't have these troubles next year.

jetdrvr393 08-27-2011 11:50 PM

I will winterize the boat this year the right way. I'm not sure if the PO winterized wrong but I know that he did not commission the water system at all. What is the proper way to commission in the spring? As soon as we took ownership I drained the water tank completely, through the faucets, but I still have this problem. Should it just have been done sooner? Did the AF degrade over the summer, (we purchased it in early August).

tomperanteau 08-28-2011 02:26 AM

Move south where you won't have those problems.

PorFin 08-28-2011 08:26 AM


Originally Posted by pdqaltair (Post 766820)
b. Yes, flush repeatadly, then after 3-4 flushes, bleach is a fine idea. A 1/4 cup per 10 gallons is a good starting point.

UNLESS you have stainless tanks -- bleach and regular stainless are not a good combo; it can really initiate/acccelerate corrosion, particularly at the welds. This is the case when dealing with welded stainless that is NOT low carbon (i.e., 316L.)

jetdrvr393 08-28-2011 09:34 AM


Originally Posted by tomperanteau (Post 766831)
Move south where you won't have those problems.

Thanks so much for a helpful response to my problem.

Minnewaska 08-28-2011 09:35 AM

Unfortunately, I've been on many boats where AF was used in the fresh water system and it never seems to fully come out. Sorry. I only add the downer to encourage you to consider replacing the lines to the galley and the head. If they are old anyway, you may appreciate the encouragement when you dig them out, as they might look a bit scaled anyway. It seems as if the prior owner left the AF in there for a long time? Just be sure to use line that was designed for fresh water.

If the tank material is metal, you can probably wash it well. If plastic, not so sure.

jetdrvr393 08-28-2011 09:35 AM

No the tanks not stainless. It's made of some sort of plastic.

Minnewaska 08-28-2011 09:38 AM


Originally Posted by jetdrvr393 (Post 766891)
No the tanks not stainless. It's made of some sort of plastic.

That's not good news. Does it have an access port where you can get in there and scrub it? I would use dishwasher detergent to see if helps. Odds are you will need a new tank if you really want this to go away. I, for one, really like having clean, odor free water, aboard. Maybe its because all tank water when I was a kid was very gross. We used to add this biocide to it that made it even worse. Never drank it.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:13 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2015 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome