Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought. - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 82 Old 01-22-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

We donít use much bottled water. Only buy it as a fallback safety measure for passage. So weíre drinking RO water and cooking with it.
The major downside of RO is thereís nothing in it. No trace minerals. Overtime, especially if you have a lot of insensible water loss (sweat/breathing) you may get depleted. We drink coconut water on occasion to keep our electrolytes in order.

s/v Hippocampus
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post #22 of 82 Old 01-22-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Lots of good information here. Thanks to everyone.

Like so many things, the situation can be a bit complex. There are really multiple layers of questions.

On the surface, I'm looking for a short-term solution so my water stops smelling.

However, I'm also in the process of planning what projects I'm going to do when I haul out for hurricane season. And the fact that I'm having issues makes me wonder if I should have "replace the freshwater system" at the top of the list. I have old, vinyl plumbing, so I'm thinking it's worth it to replace it all with PEX. While I _could_ scrub out the tank with a bent brush and some determination, there are other problems with it ... like the fact that the outlet is on the side, thus it's impossible to fully drain it without opening the access ports. And the fact that the access ports leak, so I have to be really careful when filling or it overflows and makes a mess.

I'll try adding a bit of bleach on a regular basis for the remainder of this season ... and will continue to mull over what I want to do this summer.
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post #23 of 82 Old 01-22-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Leaking accesx ports would be a biggy alarm for me.
I would play with it to learn..the why.
If not tank deformation, then its gasket/thread seal...which can be solved cheaply.

Hose replacement and tank cleaning..is just what it is..not rocket work

Dont let all of the projects make you feel overwhelmed.
Stay the course and it will be right
Lots of mini and biggy hurdles...tis life
Youre there
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post #24 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

I have three 200lt tanks and use them in rotation filling with chlorinated mains water as I change the tank over. When first returning to the boat after a long break there is a bad smell so I run water from each tank to clear the pipes and add fresh water . From then rotate the tanks, no filter system at present but going to install a carbon filter this year. Never have used the water for drinking cold but do use tide it for cooking and hot drinks. Never had a problem to date in three years with this boat. Used the same practice with previously boats with no issues in 30 years.
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post #25 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Having grown up on boats, with disgusting water systems, I'm totally sympathetic. In fact, even the tank disinfectants in the 60s and 70s made the water disgusting. I think it may have been iodine based. Absolutely nothing goes in my water system, other than filtered water (I use a high volume coconut shell carbon hose filter) and occasional chlorine. My system is blown out for the winter, I never use anti-freeze. It's a full-on child based psychosis.

I'm sure I'd replace the hoses with Pex, especially if I was going to drink the tank water. We have Pex. Lord knows how your prior owner maintained the potable water system.

The tank is a field call. I can't see it. The leaking gets my attention, but one would think that could be repaired. One big advantage of having a new tank made, is you can specify where you want the cleanout, if it's not currently in an optimal place.

Water is a basic necessity. I think it is a place to be sure is right.


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post #26 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

I believe there is really no reason to drink stored tank water. In the most seaside locations bottle or even healthy clean tap water is available. If you buy bottled water, it's not terribly expensive considering how much we drink.

Tanked water needs to be stored in a clean system and members have made many good suggestions how to achieve this. Discard and replace old hoses. Clean the tank if possible, use chlorine to disinfect the tanks and hoses periodically. There is not reason for a clean, bacteria free system to have any unpleasant odors. Used tanked water for cleaning ONLY if possible. If you must use the tank water for cooking.... used it through a filter and boil it. Always use a filter on the hose when you fill your tanks. Don't leave the tank water sitting... use it and refill. Water in most places is free.

Where water is not free it makes sense to have a water maker. Segregate drinking/cooking water from cleaning water. If you are off the grid set up a rain water collection system.

Clean water requires some thinking and work. The pex plumbing presented here sounds like a great idea! I've had Shiva for 35 years and the above are my practices and we never had foul smelling water in the system. My tanks are stainless steel and have no access ports. When I need to tank up I head to a fuel dock which usually not a problem, and we bring a few gallon jugs of bottled water to drink each time we go to the boat.

Having clean water is not hard to manage.

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post #27 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
I believe there is really no reason to drink stored tank water. In the most seaside locations bottle or even healthy clean tap water is available. If you buy bottled water, it's not terribly expensive considering how much we drink........
While we could drink our tank water, we generally don't. I don't trust all dock supplies, I doubt they are tested for potability. A touch of chlorine will kill most bugs, but I also worry about lead or other contaminants. Probably overthinking it. We cook with it, without reservation. We drink and make coffee with gallon jugs of bottled water. I repurpose the jugs as oil collection, or other uses. I even cut the bottoms off to make drip trays or parts collectors, during projects.

However, I plan to drink one gallon per day per person in hot weather. We drink just a bit less than that. It adds up for a cruise and storage can be an issue. For really going on an extended cruise, I think one needs to think about drinking tank water. If one's system is clean and they have a water maker, it's a gimme. If anything, you need to add minerals back somehow.


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post #28 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
While we could drink our tank water, we generally don't. I don't trust all dock supplies, I doubt they are tested for potability. A touch of chlorine will kill most bugs, but I also worry about lead or other contaminants. Probably overthinking it. We cook with it, without reservation. We drink and make coffee with gallon jugs of bottled water. I repurpose the jugs as oil collection, or other uses. I even cut the bottoms off to make drip trays or parts collectors, during projects.

However, I plan to drink one gallon per day per person in hot weather. We drink just a bit less than that. It adds up for a cruise and storage can be an issue. For really going on an extended cruise, I think one needs to think about drinking tank water. If one's system is clean and they have a water maker, it's a gimme. If anything, you need to add minerals back somehow.
Even when we cruise for 2 or 3 weeks from LIS to Maine... we get to land almost every day... to shop, walk the dogs and sight see. Going to shore is a fun part of cruising. Shlepping groceries is a bummer. We got a fold up cart to use for this purpose. We stow 4- 8 gallons before departing and try to keep our stores topped up with a new gallon each trip to shore. Not always possible, but we have never had to drink from the tanks.

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post #29 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

In the tropics, I drink (and sweat) over a gallon a day. If exerting, then 2 gallons a day. In many places in the world, bottled water isn't available, or very costly for 0.5L bottles priced as soda. Even if it was free, there is no place to store enough bottled water for more than a couple of days.

One shouldn't be afraid to drink their tank water - just get the plumbing system to snuff. Our tank water run through the plumbing tastes the same as from straight out of the watermaker, and we haven't had any ill effects from drinking it for 17yrs.

However, we are very cautious about accepting tank drinking water from others. We get so used to clean, tasteless water that we just assume it is all that way. Have had some nasty surprises when offered a drink of water on other boats. So it can be a problem, but it also is a solvable problem. There is nothing unique about our last two boats that give us drinkable tank water - clean tank and plumbing, no leaks, PEX pipe everywhere, carbon filter shore water going in, carbon filter tank water coming out.

There is no need to add minerals to RO water. This belief is a misguided one formed from procedures at commercial RO facilities. RO systems used on boats do not produce water depleted of all minerals. Most of them, depending on the waters they are operated in, produce more minerals than found in shoreside tap water. Any minerals that are depleted are easily provided in a normal diet.

For example, we are in a brackish river right now, and our watermaker produces 100ppm water here. The shore water is 50ppm. In Long Island Bahamas last year (very salty waters), we produced 350ppm water, while the shoreside RO plant water supply was 10ppm. Nowhere have we found our watermaker making purer water than available at shoreside facilities - for those shoreside facilities providing drinkable water.

Even drinking pure mineral-free rain water is no issue - a normal diet takes care of the needed minerals.

Don't fear your tank, and don't fear your watermaker.

Mark

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post #30 of 82 Old 01-23-2020
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Watermakers give less troubles the more theyíre used. Where we are it seems good practice to avoid shore water. Often heavily chlorinated to the point you can smell it (southern bays of Grenada had pipes fail. No shore water for over a week. When replaced they heavily chlorinated for quite sometime). Also tends to have more sediment. (Water in oriental had slight brown tinge).
Agree with Mark donít fear RO. Our watermaker is often below 100ppm and never above 150ppm. Itís an isolated example but wife was having leg cramps at night. Started drinking coconut water on occasion. Cleared. When home she wasnít getting cramps. Would just occur after being on boat for several months. Sheís on no diuretics or other salt wasting meds. Only apparent variable is water. Agree one would think diet would provide sufficient trace elements. We tend to be more active on the boat and sweat more. Perhaps lost of minerals increases. But we both like coconut water and when bought in the big bottles isnít a big expense.

s/v Hippocampus
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