Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought. - SailNet Community
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Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

I'm pretty new to this. Been living aboard since last November.

In Oct, before I left the dock, my freshwater had an odor and bad taste to it. So loaded up the tanks with a bunch of bleach, let it sit for a while, then pumped it all out through the system. After flushing a bit, the water came out tasting like you'd expect water to taste again.

Now it's Jan, and the foul odor/taste is back. Since I'm not at a dock anymore, the bleach and flush is going to be a bit more difficult to do, but I guess I'll have to figure something out.

My question is how typical is this? Do most freshwater systems need bleached every 3 months or so or is this a bad sign?

I'm seriously considering ripping out the entire freshwater system and replacing it this summer while hauled out. And the return of this odor is only making me more determined.

What is the experience of people who have been out there longer? How difficult is it to keep a freshwater system clean and healthy?
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

My tanks are stainless steel and installed in 1985. I drain them in winter and add some chorox when I fill them. I don't drink the tank water. It is used for cleaning and showers and doesn't smell. I have a water filter and sometimes use this filtered water for making things like rice. The water used for drinking and brushing teeth and cooking comes from the bottled water we store in the dispenser pictured below.

I filter the water going into the tanks regardless at every fill up.
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Hi Bill,

Every time I fill I put in 30 mils of bleach into each 200 litre rank.
That 1 spirit measure into a 44 gallon drum.

Just leave that bleach in. You won't notice it or taste it.

Bleach is about my best friend on the boat.

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

A spirit measure is 1 ounce, I think.

So one ounce per 50 gallons approx.

Obviously make sure the bleach is pure, not lemon flavoured etc.

Chlorox is good.

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Id find the access ports, scrub tank/s and replace any old water hose/tubing.
...cuz thats what i did...

Start..fresh. after that, theres only yourself to blame
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

There is a good chance it is the hoses as much as the tank. If you decide to replumb, go with PEX - easier to plumb, cheaper, and doesn't grow stuff like the vinyl hose does. Best thing about it is you don't have hose clamps ripping your flesh every time you reach someplace.

Put an inexpensive house filter on the tank output and use a carbon block filter on it. Even clean water in tanks gets a bit of smell and stale taste if not used quickly. The carbon filter will remove that, as well as provide a 1-5um filter (don't go too small on the pore size or your pump will have issues).

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Obviously make sure the bleach is pure, not lemon flavoured etc.
While it might be lemon scented, it probably isn't flavored...

Mark

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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RegisteredUser View Post
Id find the access ports, scrub tank/s and replace any old water hose/tubing.
...cuz thats what i did...

Start..fresh. after that, theres only yourself to blame
When I bleach+flushed them in Oct I tried scrubbing as well ... but in my case the access ports are so tiny compared to the size of the tanks, I can't really reach much of the inside.

I'm toying with the idea of installing a watermaker this summer ... looks like I'll be able to afford it ... and I'm considering ripping out the entire freshwater system and replacing all of it at the same time I do that. Not sure how much is the original 1979 stuff, but it's clear that a lot of it is very old.
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

You can prob see where the plastic tanks are stained. You can get long brushes.
It is a true pain, but make the effort.
Again, start fresh.

Id not yet think watermaker until you have spent some time cruising...learning what works for you. If you are solo, you can carry enuf water for months

$s dont always solve problems you perceive.

Get out there for a while. It will become more clear. You will save money
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Re: Livaboard freshwater system maintenance advice sought.

When you live in a house, the city does the maintanance for you, you just don't realize it. Now you have to learn the chemistry and do it yourself.

This post is the short version. Clean the tank, filter the inlet to reduce solids, chlorinate, carbon filter, dechlorinate. And don't for get about the bugs crawling in the vent. New stuff won't solve the problem.
Sail Delmarva: Drinking Water Filtration--The Short Version
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