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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there anything that can be done to keep water from fouling if left for several months in the tanks over the summer? During the winter I drain the tanks as much as possible and put in the pink non toxic antifreeze. Now the boat is seeing little use, but water has been added during a recent trip and I wonder if I need to drain as much as possible and add some more of that pink stuff during the summer. I hesitate adding clorine since not sure how that might harm the aluminum tanks.
 

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Most tap water has chlorine in it and unless your water is exposed to sunlight should be good for several months. I need to fill my tanks every few months as, even if I'm not going out on the boat I do visit at least twice a month year round. Just running and refilling as often a possible is OK. When I got my boat the PO didn't use the water at all and both tanks were full of alge. It won't hurt you but I don't care for green water. I got a wet/dry shop vac, cleaned all the gunk out, refilled the tanks, put in a 1/4 cup of chlorine and let it sit a few hours and then turned on every faucet to empty the tanks. Refilled two more times to clean out the chlorine and haven't had a problem since. I don't drink that water as it has been through the marina/dock pipes, then my hose and it has a "tast" to it I don't care for. I also closed my through hole for the head and use the faucet to half fill the sink to flush the head too. I don't think you need to worry about the water for the summer if you are draining every winter and flushing in the spring.
 

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I've heard that adding vodka over the winter will prevent freezing without using the pink stuff. I think it would probably help with the bacteria as well. I haven't tried it (because I don't yet have a boat), but I think I will.
 

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I've heard that adding vodka over the winter will prevent freezing without using the pink stuff. I think it would probably help with the bacteria as well. I haven't tried it (because I don't yet have a boat), but I think I will.
That's just a myth! To be effective you would need a LOT of vodka to keep the percent of alcohol up to above 20%. But it will work if you do it.

For aluminum tanks like the OP stated, assuming they were clean to start with the best thing is to keep the tanks full with a free chlorine level around .5-ppm (need to get some test strips). If there is still a free chlorine level in the tanks when you come back the tanks are probably still clean and bacteria free (I would still flush them if it was me).
 

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Is there anything that can be done to keep water from fouling if left for several months in the tanks over the summer? During the winter I drain the tanks as much as possible and put in the pink non toxic antifreeze. Now the boat is seeing little use, but water has been added during a recent trip and I wonder if I need to drain as much as possible and add some more of that pink stuff during the summer. I hesitate adding clorine since not sure how that might harm the aluminum tanks.
In the long run, stored water will eventually go bad regardless of how much effort one puts into "purifying" it. The best one can hope for is extending the time span that it can be stored. For that one's system--water lines, tank(s), hoses, pump(s), et al--must be sanitized to the greatest extent possible. That is, from the point one takes water aboard to the point it discharges from the fixture(s). People often go to great lengths to clean their tanks, piping etc. but forget the first few feet from the deck fill to the tank(s). If that portion of the system has slime/bacteria et al growing in it, then everything else is compromised as water is introduced.

We periodically go through a cleaning routine that starts at the deck fill. Firstly, we never take on water that doesn't pass through a filter as most, if not all, dock-side water is coming through old, slimy, grungy pipes/hoses. (The water may have left the treatment plant "pure" but it "ain't" by the time it gets to the boat.) Our filter is a transparent under sink canister type from Home Depot with 5 Mc filters. We have short lengths of hose pig-tails attached that allow this to be fitted to the dock side water hose. For sanitizing, I add a cup or two of household bleach to the canister before sealing it and then allow it to fill with water with the air-bleed button depressed before opening the discharge valve to the yacht. I run this through the deck fill for a few minutes to give the line from there to the tank a good dosing and then let that sit for an hour or two while I pull the filter elements out of our other, on-board, filters (which harbor bacteria) and clean their canisters. In this manner the fill line is (somewhat) cleaned/purified. (A pipe cleaner brush with a long flexible twisted wire wand is also helpful if you can find one at a plumbing supply.)

Once the fill pipe and on-board canisters are "cleaned", I proceed to fill the tanks (on our boat two at 50 gallons each) after adding enough additional bleach to the deck canister to get the equivalent of one cup of bleach per tank. All of the fixtures are run in turn until the water from each has a strong smell of bleach so that I know the lines are filled with the mix and particularly the hot water lines. With that, I leave the boat sit over night so the bleach can do it's "thing". The following day I drain the entire system, refill, and drain again several times to flush as much of the bleach mixture and any "gunk" out. With that, I put new filter elements in the on-board canisters (one between the tanks and the pump and a second under the galley sink for a Seagull fixture), a fresh filter in the fill canister on deck, and add enough bleach to the fill canister to get the equivalent of 2.5 oz of bleach in each water-tank and refill our tanks. After a day or two, I add a measure of "Aquabon Water Freshener" to each tank.

With the foregoing procedure, we get many months of "stench free" water storage, even in the heat of southwest Florida, so long as we use the portable fill canister and a few ounces of bleach as a purifying agent with each refill.

FWIW...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all. I do have two 60 gallons tanks. The boat will be stored on the hard during the summer and I always wanted in the past to lessen the weight of the boat when hauled and had the tanks pretty much empty although now I'm thinking that maybe it might be best to store with the tanks filled to lessen the air space. (Maybe even tapeing off the air vents to keep the insects out.) It's well water and not from a city water supply so some clorine might be necessary, but maybe only a couple cap fulls per tank? Getting the proper ppm using some sort of strips would probably be the safest way so not to over clorine. I'm thinking that maybe must adding a gallon of that pink stuff might be sufficient to keep bateria growth away without messing with the clorine.
 

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just like fuel tanks its better to eliminate or lessen the air gap if you will

fuel tanks will rust and corrode and get all sorts of funky if you leave them dry or almost dry

I have always had the best luck when leaving them almost full...stabilizing them with seafoam or whatever or stabil and coming back to crank over the engine and all is fine...fuel too...

I would top off the tanks and fill em up with 2 or 3 cap fulls of bleach...


in the whole scheme of things the water ballast is less of an issue on bigger boats

now if you had a 25footer with 60 galons of water and left it on pads or something yeah that wouldnt be smart

every boat is different
 

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Lancelot

Don't add the non-toxic 'pink stuff' thinking it kills bacteria. Some brands do contain some alcohol but not enough to be useful.

Ronbo
Please read the upcoming article in Practical Sailor regarding winterizing. There is much misinformation out there.

a. Ethanol is NOT a sterilizing agent. It is no better a biostat than glycol. Logically this is obvious; if ethanol killed bacteria at low concentrations (winterizing fluids are typically 24%) then wine would not go bad. It does. So does any ethanol spirit if diluted to 20%.

b. Both PG and ethanol are effective agents above 24%. However, that means you must get ALL of the water out of the system and test the PG coming out the other end. The WARMER the climate the more important this is (bacteria like warm).

c. NEVER put glycol in the tank. Drain the tank, vac it out, and let it dry. ONLY place glycol in the lines (you may need to add a Tee and a valve).

d. Ethanol-based fluids AND vodka are quite corrosive, specifically to brass. There are aditional flaws to using vodka, which you can read up on. Bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The following info was taken from a posting found in Fresh Water System Recommissioning as shown in Post #10. I think it's Peggy Hall's suggestion and while I think it's good advice to shock the system and then be careful about not letting the chlorine remain in the tanks for too long a time, I found it interesting that there might be a cummulative negative effect of long term use of chlorine in small concentrations. Plus it was implied that the chlorine in small concentrations would not be beneficial to keeping the water from fouling. Here is the quote:

"People have expressed concern about using this method to recommission aluminum tanks. While bleach (chlorine) IS corrosive, it’s effects are cumulative. So the effect of an annual or semi-annual "shock treatment" is negligible compared to the cumulative effect of holding chlorinated city water in the tank for years. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to mix the total amount of bleach in a few gallons of water before putting it into either a stainless or aluminum tank. People have also expressed concern about the potential damage to rubber and neoprene water pump parts. Again—the cumulative effect of carrying chlorinated water is far more damaging over time than the occasional “shock treatment.” And it’s that cumulative effect that makes it a VERY bad idea to add a little bleach to each fill. Not only does it damage the system, but unless you add enough to make your water taste and smell like a laundry, it’s not enough to do any good. Even if it were, any “purifying” properties in chlorine evaporate within 24 hours, leaving behind only the corrosive properties. "
 

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we did it for months and years...a capfull each tank no damage effect.

cant get any simpler

its keeping the system in use that saves you from doing all the massive cleaning and hose changes etc...

once water stagnates it will need to be cleaned...no matter what

we deal with it here in our houses as water is cutoff every afternoon for the rest of the day

in the morning we fill our cisterns, I add chlorine like I would to a pool every month or so...but since we use it it never gets funky smelling...

I have only done the system flush if you will once and that was because the water in the 1200 galon cistern was left unused for a very long time...

this isnt rocket science either you can also add a splash of vinegar every once in a while too if you want something "edible"

use the system frequently and be happy if you cant either drain the water and deal with the tanks funk from being left "dry" or keep them in use

like somebody else said its the hoses and connections that get funly first...so clean them first if yuo ever have the chance
 

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btw the reason we used chlorine on the boat(the captain was a doctor) was not to keep tanks from smelling or getting funky...it was to kill those organisms you might find in water around the world...

most of them can be killed off with simple dosages of bleach...we laso had a filtering system if we wanted to drink from the tank water.
 

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the point of freshwater tanks is to have drinkable water even though its not always used for that...

all antifouling paints leach...even if its the new non toxic ones...

there are paints to paint the insides of tanks but they often dont last and peel away

id take an aluminum or monel tank any day over say a glass tank with paint on it...

antifouling is a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad idea
 

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Non-toxic antifouling? Sounds like an oxymoron thought up by Madison Avenue. Potable water grows things. Would we want it otherwise? We empty our tanks each fall with compressed air, which blows them and all the piping dry, so nothing grows over the winter. A rinse with water from the marina faucet (chlorinated) and a refill(same stuff), and we're good for another season with no untoward tastes, odors, or issues. So far we've had the boat 15 years. Of course we use the water in the tanks, and keep adding more, so that it doesn't just sit all season and grow things. Once they start, growing things can keep stubbornly growing and be difficult to remove. (Would we want it otherwise?) As others above have suggested, hit your entire system with a heavy dose of biocides (Chlorine, etc., making sure they won't interact with your hoses, gaskets, or whatever), flush until you're happy with the taste, and try again.
 

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paul do you have a link to the paint you are talking about?

id just prefer to not have painted tanks...however my current ones ARE glass and might need a treatment jajaja

go figure

thanks
 
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