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Draining Water System


Matt72
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Hi

 

I will be getting ready to drain down my water system soon and as it is the first winter with the NB I just wanted to check about the calorifier. Will emptying the whole system through the taps also empty the domestic water supply in the calorifier ? I also assume that the coil from the engine will be ok as long as my antifreeze is the correct mixture?

 

 

 

Thanks in advance

Matt

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The calorifier will probably need draining once you have run out all water from the taps. The water usually goes in at the bottom and out at the top. Have a look for a drain valve on the inlet side. As you say the coil will be OK as long as the antifreeze in the engine is OK.

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Although we don't live aboard we use our boat for at least a week every month of the year, so fully winterising everything is a bit of an imposition when you're gonna be back in a week or two and have to undo it all again.

 

Last winter (my first, so I'm not trying to be a know all), I ran the water until the fresh water tank was empty, drained all taps/shower and left them open, turned the fresh water pump off once it had run to empty and and isolated the tank at the first the valve. That was that for the fresh water system - I figured that the calorifier was itself really well insulated and was sited in a very sheltered, well insulated space, hence what water was left in there was probably ok with just the taps open. This worked fine last winter and I was planning to do the same this winter, with the possible exception of just making sure that the fresh water tank level was low (thus allowing room for expansion due to any icing) rather than completely.empty.

 

Not trying to steal the OP's thread here, just to add or discount his possible options. Was I taking a little too much risk last winter or do other frequent visitors to their boats do something similar?

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My experience (I live south of Watford, so we don't get really, really cold winters)

The only time I've ever had frost damage was when the boat was out of the water and two tap cartridges were damages.

 

A fellow boater on a steel cruiser (probably less insulation) take some measurements a while ago, with a data recorder and the temperature inside his engine room never fell below 4deg C even though it was well below freezing outside. It was on the Thames where there is constant water flow - but in an offline marina where there isn't.

 

It's got to be really, really, really cold and for a long time before anything reasonably well protected and below or near the waterline freezes.

Simple precautions such as:-

  • open all taps,
  • turn the water pump off (!)
  • isolate the water tank in case the worst happens
  • Ensure the engine and wet central heating has the correct amount of antifreeze in it (they both need that for corrosion inhibition anyway)

 

 

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Hi

 

Sorry had not seen these 2 additional replies and Seadog you are more than welcome to add questions to the thread, if anyone is saved from getting a burst pipe from information shared on here that's all to the greater good :)

 

I have thought of something else which touches on your point ,Seadog, about using the boat at least a bit over the winter, if I drain calorifier can I still run the engine or would the coil get damaged as there is no water in the calorifier fresh water space ? I'll need to run the engine to charge the batteries over the winter but then I have also read that charging the batteries by running the engine not in gear and under load is not good for the engine, although most in our marina seem to do it.

 

Thanks
Matt

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Hi

 

Sorry had not seen these 2 additional replies and Seadog you are more than welcome to add questions to the thread, if anyone is saved from getting a burst pipe from information shared on here that's all to the greater good smile.png

 

I have thought of something else which touches on your point ,Seadog, about using the boat at least a bit over the winter, if I drain calorifier can I still run the engine or would the coil get damaged as there is no water in the calorifier fresh water space ? I'll need to run the engine to charge the batteries over the winter but then I have also read that charging the batteries by running the engine not in gear and under load is not good for the engine, although most in our marina seem to do it.

 

Thanks

Matt

 

It's fine to run the engine when the calorifier tank is empty (unless you have overheating problems in normal operation, which indicates your skin tank is too small).

 

Do try to avoid turning the immersion heater element on though (don't ask how I know this...)

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I have posted many times what I do, ie. all empty except the cold water storage tank. I have known a few boaters to get split calorifiers, I have had a burst pipe in the toilet on a piece I forgot to drain, the leg to the toilet flush. I have also known boaters to lose shower mixer valves, water traps inside the mixer and splits it, likewise fresh water pumps that have water trapped inside them. Last winter was mild but about 3 years ago we couldn't get out boat across the cut to our moorings for weeks due to the thick ice. If the day time temperature doesn't rise above freezing the inside of the boat will also be freezing especially above water level.

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Hi

 

I will be getting ready to drain down my water system soon and as it is the first winter with the NB I just wanted to check about the calorifier. Will emptying the whole system through the taps also empty the domestic water supply in the calorifier ? I also assume that the coil from the engine will be ok as long as my antifreeze is the correct mixture?

 

 

 

Thanks in advance

 

Matt

Where is your calorifier?

 

This can often make a difference as to whether you need to drain or not.

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I drained my system today, I'll be back on board in a fortnight for the weekend so will need to fill and empty the water tank again, I thought that might be a good time to sterilise the tank and system, what do folk generally use to do this, bleach, Milton fluid or something else?

 

It's a 160 litre tank, how much of what should I be pouring into it, and how long should I be leaving it there before flushing it out? I don't use it for drinking, just showers and washing-up etc, but there are a lot of fish living in my marina and I wouldn't want to harm any of them.

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Lots of choices, but I use Elsil Fresh Water Tank Clean as an annual treatment. The litre bottle does about a 200 litres iirc, but I doubt a bit either way is an issue. Based on peroxide I believe, so oxygen is the active ingredient hence non-toxic, no nasties, no taste issues, won't bother the fishes - Google it for the full details.

 

You can save some, maybe most, of the eight quid I splashed out last year by using bleach, milton fluid or something similar as someone will be along to say shortly.

  • Greenie 1
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Hi Martin

 

It is under the bed and surrounded by additional insulation (like the sort you get around an immersion heater in your house).

 

Thanks

Matt

Exactly the same as ours and insulated in a similar way.

 

We have never drained ours and we have been through some serious very cold spells since we bought the boat four and a half years ago.

 

Given the location it would be a PITA even if we wanted to do.

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Supermarket's cheapest thin bleach, make sure it is pure bleach not scented. 1 x 2 litre bottle per 200litres tank capacity, Fill tank - draw through system until you can smell the bleach at the taps/shower etc leave for a hour, drain down tank. Refill and flush out through taps and shower etc until tank empty. Refill the tank before next outing.

Cost - staggeringly expensive at about 60p for a 400 litre tank

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I drained my system today, I'll be back on board in a fortnight for the weekend so will need to fill and empty the water tank again, I thought that might be a good time to sterilise the tank and system, what do folk generally use to do this, bleach, Milton fluid or something else?

 

It's a 160 litre tank, how much of what should I be pouring into it, and how long should I be leaving it there before flushing it out? I don't use it for drinking, just showers and washing-up etc, but there are a lot of fish living in my marina and I wouldn't want to harm any of them.

I wouldn't bother especially if you are not drinking it.

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Supermarket's cheapest thin bleach, make sure it is pure bleach not scented. 1 x 2 litre bottle per 200litres tank capacity, Fill tank - draw through system until you can smell the bleach at the taps/shower etc leave for a hour, drain down tank. Refill and flush out through taps and shower etc until tank empty. Refill the tank before next outing.

Cost - staggeringly expensive at about 60p for a 400 litre tank

If you do want to do it this is the way. When I worked Offshore we used Champion Sterilising Bleach. If the bug count was slightly up we added 1 1/4 pints to 40 tons of water. At that ratio it was drinkable but made the tea taste foul. We use to sample the water every 3 months and our water was loaded via a hydrant hose in Lowestoft in the tanks of a supply boat and then pumped to the platform via another 6" hose lowered by a crane. Our biggest problem was due to dead ends in the pipe work where the water stagnated and caused problems. I never knew of us having a health problem due to the water system.

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