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post #1 of 22 Old 10-05-2018 Thread Starter
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question about winterizing water system

How much antifreeze should I put in my water tank? How much in bilge?


I understand it's about 4L for the engine, but wasn't sure about these water systems.
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-05-2018
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Re: question about winterizing water system

My system consists of a large water tank (200 gallons), connected to two faucets (head/galley) via a single pressure pump.

My process is to pump all the water out. Then add enough plumberís antifreeze so that I can pressurize the system and cycle it through all the pumps and taps. Then I drain it all out again, making sure what is coming out of the faucets is pure (or nearly pure) antifreeze. This takes me about 3 standard jugs (~12 litres)

I dump about a jug (~4 litres) into my bilge, but my bilge is large, and always collects water through the winter. How much you need will depend on the bilge size, and whether you can keep it dry through the winter (I cannot).
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post #3 of 22 Old 10-05-2018
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Re: question about winterizing water system

Even back in the days when I did not liveaboard, I never winterized my water system. I simply drained it. Never had an issue. I never put anti-freeze in the bilge either. Those days the boat wintered at Wiarton on Georgian Bay.

PS. You must have a very small engine if it needs only 4L to winterize. What the engine holds is different that whats needed for a good flush. I suggest you double what the manual says and use it all. Don't forget you are also flushing your muffler and exhaust system.

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post #4 of 22 Old 10-05-2018
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Re: question about winterizing water system

Don't forget the water heater if you have one. I drain mine, then put a bypass in between the fresh water inlet and outlet and then proceed with draining the water from the lines and filling with anti-freeze. If you don't drain the heater it will take lots of anti-freeze to fill it. I don't like putting anti-freeze in the water tanks (for taste reasons next spring) so I just drain them and then connect a line from the water pump suction so it can draw directly from a jug of anti-freeze. Generally takes a gallon or two to fill the water lines and get the faucets to discharge full strength anti-freeze.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-06-2018
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Re: question about winterizing water system

I connect a small pancake compressor to my fresh water system, open the taps one at a time and blow them all out. I set the compressor to about 40 psi. When I was a kid, it seemed all fresh water aboard tasted and smelled disgusting, due to all the chemicals that were commonly used to sanitize and winterize. No anti-freeze is ever going in my tanks.
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Re: question about winterizing water system

Use -100. Itís a minor additional expense and at that level is cidal even if you left a little water while draining things.

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Re: question about winterizing water system

Ditto. All I use is -100 (in other systems). If it mixes with a little water, itís still amply potent. -50 actually freezes well above 0 F. Itís rated not to burst to -50F. Accidentally mix a bit of water and those temps rise dramatically. My engines only get -100.

Since I get mast water in the bilge, I also put -100 there. Although, I remove all float switches, as they somehow get ruined sitting in the slurry all winter. I also pull a low thru hull to drain, but it doesnít all get out.

I really need to sail south in the winter. I figure it takes us 6 days to winterize and 6 more to commission. I can get pretty far south in that amount of time. Bermuda for the winter? I wonder if thatís even possible. Ie dockage.


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post #8 of 22 Old 10-06-2018
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Re: question about winterizing water system

Gycol does NOT go in the tank or hot water heater. Drain both and by-pass the latter (unless it is instant hot, in which case it makes more sense to simply flow glycol through it--they don't hold that much).

The primary reason for funky tastes in the spring is that glycol AFs ferment if they are less than 25% glycol (-40F burst). Skimp on AF or fail to remove all of the water first and it will be nasty in the spring. Get it right and the system will be sanitized and it takes only a few gallons to rinse it clean in the spring. As for those that claim vodka is the answer, it is more expensive, does not antifreeze as well, and ferments just as badly (worse?) than AF. I've done side-by-side trials and the vodka really stinks. Save it for drinks.

Winterizing should be a matter of an hour or two, not days. Install valves at all key points so that you can simple suck in the AF. My last boat had AC, water, and sanitary systems to winterize, and I could do all three in an hour with no mess and nothing more than a little valve turning.


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Re: question about winterizing water system

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
....Winterizing should be a matter of an hour or two, not days. .....
Packing our clothing, washing and vacuum packing linens and arranging the mattresses on 5 bunks takes half a day alone. Clean 7 seawater strainers, change oil in 3 motors and pump 12 gallons of antifreeze through them, blow out the freshwater lines, haul the dinghy, add antifreeze to 4 shower sumps, three head intakes, three waste lines, one mascerator, a washdown pump, a washer/drier, clean out two fridges, top the transmission with ATF, etc, etc.

I think your missing the mark here, by a mile. 6 days.


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post #10 of 22 Old 10-06-2018
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Re: question about winterizing water system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I connect a small pancake compressor to my fresh water system, open the taps one at a time and blow them all out. I set the compressor to about 40 psi. When I was a kid, it seemed all fresh water aboard tasted and smelled disgusting, due to all the chemicals that were commonly used to sanitize and winterize. No anti-freeze is ever going in my tanks.
What about the pump(s)? You surely don't blow the water out of them, right?
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