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Old 03-31-2018, 09:35 PM   #1
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Question Bleach and water tanks

This is the first time we are taking our new to us 1982 KK42 out cruising. Does anyone have any recommendations for initial treatment of water tanks? 250 gallons per side - how much bleach for initial treatment and how much for maintenance?
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:54 PM   #2
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For a first time cleaning I recommend Puriclean. Bleach will kill the stuff growing on the tank wall but it won’t remove it. Puriclean will kill it and cause it to release from the tank wall. Practical Sailor Magazine did a test of tank cleaning chemicals, including bleach, and they recommended Puriclean.
Clean Tabs Ltd | Water Purification | Water Purification Tablets | Water Tank Cleaning | Water Treatment | Drinking Water Disinfection

I think my old company is the only place to get it in the USA.
Puriclean - MFG#UPCSTD - 14 oz. Tub
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Old 03-31-2018, 10:04 PM   #3
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Fresh water system problems--foul odor or taste--are typically caused by allowing water to stagnate in the system. Although most people think only in terms of the tank, the plumbing is actually the source of most foul water, because the molds, mildew, fungi and bacteria which cause it thrive in damp dark places, not under water. Many people—and even some boat manufacturers—believe that keeping the tanks empty reduce the problem, but an empty water tank only provides another damp dark home for those “critters—which, by the way, do not include algae; algae need light.

There are all kinds of products sold that claim to keep onboard water fresh, but unless your water does not come from a municipal treated water supply, all that’s really necessary is an annual--or in especially warm climates, semi-annual--recommissioning of the entire system--tank and plumbing. The following recommendations conform to section 10.8 in the A-1 192 code covering electrical, plumbing, and heating of recreational vehicles. The solution is approved and recommended by competent health officials. It may be used in a new system a used one that has not been used for a period of time, or one that may have been contaminated.

Before beginning, turn off hot water heater at the breaker; do not turn it on again until the entire recommissioning is complete.

Icemakers should be left running to allow cleaning out of the water feed line; however the first two buckets of ice—the bucket generated during recommissioning and the first bucketful afterward--should be discarded.

1. Prepare a chlorine solution using one gallon of water and 1/4 cup/25 ml Clorox or Purex household bleach (5-7% sodium hypochlorite solution ). . With tank empty, pour chlorine solution into tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 5 gallons of tank capacity . (Or do it a much easier way: Use 1 quart/liter of bleach/50 gal water tank capacity. Put few gallons of water in the tank, then add the bleach.

2. Complete filling of tank with fresh water. Open each faucet and drain cock until air has been released and the entire system is filled. Do not turn off the pump; it must remain on to keep the system pressurized and the solution in the lines

3. Allow to stand for at least three hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

4 Drain through every faucet on the boat. If you haven't done this in a while, it's a good idea to remove any diffusion screens from the faucets, because what's likely to come out will clog them). Fill the tank again with fresh water only, drain again through every faucet on the boat. And yes, it IS necessary to drain through the faucets to flush all the molds etc. out of the plumbing.

5. To remove excess chlorine taste or odor, which might remain, prepare a solution of one quart white vinegar to five gallons water and allow this solution to agitate in tank for several days

6. Drain tank again through every faucet, and flush the lines again by fill the tank 1/4-1/2 full and again flushing with potable water.

People have expressed concern about using this method to recommission aluminum tanks. While bleach (chlorine) IS corrosive, its effects are are cumulative. So the effect of an annual or semi-annual "shock treatment" that only leaves bleach in the system for a few hours is negligible compared to the cumulative effect of holding chlorinated city water in the tank for years....or worse yet, adding a little bleach to each fill. 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.

An annual or semi-annual recommissioning according to the above directions is all that should be necessary to keep your water tasting and smelling as good as anything that comes out of any faucet on land. If you need to improve on that, install a water filter. Just remember that a filter is not a substitute for cleaning out the system, and that filters require regular inspection and cleaning or replacement.
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Old 04-01-2018, 01:54 AM   #4
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Ways previously mentioned in this thread sound completely feasible and I imagine work quite well.

This is how we've handled boat-water operations for over 60 years.

I'm not clear of all implications health wise. However, with no recognized complications, I and generations of my family [on all levels] have since the 1950's treated our boats' water tanks the following simple way. Results may vary... this is no guarantee of correctness on the way we do it for sterile boat water containment nor a suggestion to follow our practice.

Usually draining the tanks about 1/2 to 3/4 way down between fillings we pour approximately 1oz bleach per 10 gallons water into tank before refilling. This is done every third fill [sometimes on the second refill if boat has been let sit for couple months or more]. We fill our tanks before leaving boat.

BTW... this was employed in many different boats with tanks of different materials; as well as the lines of different materials too. We have never "flushed out" our tanks or system lines.

We do not drink from our water tanks. We do keep ample supplies of drinking water aboard in large, sterile water containers. We do use tap water for dish washing, hand washing, showering and other general needs. Also, I sometimes rinse my mouth after brushing.

With ample bleach in water tanks on a regular basis we do not get color, smell or cloudy or noticeable "things" in a clear glass of tap water held up to a bright lite.

That's our way! Yours??

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Old 04-01-2018, 03:34 AM   #5
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We follow Peggies method.
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Old 04-01-2018, 06:18 AM   #6
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Here's my detailed procedure. I pour a glug of chlorox into the tank & run the faucets until I smell bleach.
We're happy with the slight odor of bleach instead of the stagnant swamp-water smell.

Like art, we don't drink it.
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Old 04-01-2018, 07:31 AM   #7
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Before you start you should verify your water capacity. The specs on mine were 350 gallons, actual capacity is 260.

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Old 04-01-2018, 08:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Here's my detailed procedure. I pour a glug of chlorox into the tank & run the faucets until I smell bleach.
We're happy with the slight odor of bleach instead of the stagnant swamp-water smell.

Like art, we don't drink it.
We drink the water out of the tap after using Peggy's formula each spring. It tastes just fine, doesn't make us ill. I am not "cheap", but I refuse to pay for bottled water which, unless it is true spring water such as Poland Springs from Maine, is nothing more than filtered water from municipal water sources. You can get the same result, if you must, from a good under-sink filter. That is our choice. Your choices are just as valid.
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:52 AM   #9
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Another item I might mention [especially directed toward small to medium sized pleasure boats]... in addition to our water cleanliness method I placed on post # 4...


We use boat-water-tank fresh water at what we call "boat speed".


In other words; for all uses of tap water our consumption is always kept at the lowest minimum possible. Reason for this is our fun Tolly carries 77 gallons fresh water. Back "in the day" both wife and I have spent considerable time on boats that held only 25 gallons in their tank[s]. And, that was while boating on salt water. So... in limited fresh water availability instances you really learn [in many different ways] exactly how to conserve by using tap and shower water at "boat speed"!

Currently [for last 9 + years] we have kept and use our boats in the freshwater of SF Delta. This enables easy access for cleaning just about all things on the boat without using any of the stored water aboard. Also keeps toilets smelling fresh as compared too sea water flush.

Of course boats having hundreds of gallons fresh water tanks, and especially those with fresh water makers, do not have the same need to strictly minimize fresh water usage as much as some of us do. That said, for all things considered, I believe it is always good to be conservative in fresh water use [and for most anything else too] while aboard a boat.

Happy Water-Use Daze! - Art
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:28 AM   #10
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We always drink boat tank water. Our system is always kept clean and fresh as Peggie describes. The icemaker is a different story as IMO it is extremely difficult to properly bleach and clean out the ice maker since you cant just let it flush but must wait for the freeze. Somebody may know how to flush them but I never figured it out.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art View Post
That's our way! Yours??

We use Peggie's method, augmented.

We DO drink the water, so... we filter it -- usually well water, as from our home marina -- as it enters the tank using a 25/1 micron sediment filter and then a .5 micron carbon block. (The latter is overkill for most uses, but I haven't installed a drinking water filter at the sinks yet. That will take the place of the scond filter... when I get a round tuit.)

Then we also use a Pur filter pitcher (Brita is probably equal, maybe other brands too) for water we run through the coffee maker and the portable icemaker. This is another round of overkill, but seems to cut down on scale buildup in things like coffeemakers.

Finally, we mostly use boat water, not the dock hookup, so mostly that means relatively quick cycling of new water into the tank often.

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Old 04-01-2018, 10:46 AM   #12
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We always drink boat tank water. Our system is always kept clean and fresh as Peggie describes. The icemaker is a different story as IMO it is extremely difficult to properly bleach and clean out the ice maker since you cant just let it flush but must wait for the freeze. Somebody may know how to flush them but I never figured it out.
You can flush it out at the same time you recommission the system....I did.

Save the ice that's in it and/or bring some bagged ice (and a cooler to keep it in if you don't have one) to use while you're doing it. Dump the bucket. Fill the system with the bleach solution...it will fill the icemaker too. Turn off the icemaker...leave it off till the recommissioning process is finished. Turn it on, let it make ice...each "batch" from the cube maker rinses the plumbing to it. Dump the first two buckets. That's all there is to it.
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Old 04-01-2018, 01:14 PM   #13
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We are Headmistress Disciples and have had no issues on our KK42. I installed a 5 micron filter on the cold water side of the galley sink and that is our only drinking water. Our shorelines are littered with empty water bottles - we don't drink bottled water ever.
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Old 04-01-2018, 01:33 PM   #14
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We are Headmistress Disciples and have had no issues on our KK42. I installed a 5 micron filter on the cold water side of the galley sink and that is our only drinking water. Our shorelines are littered with empty water bottles - we don't drink bottled water ever.
Who said anything about throwing their empty's overboard??? I see beer cans & all other kinds of containers on the shoreline sometimes too. I'm not going to stop drinking them just because of a few inconsiderate boaters.
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:18 PM   #15
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I treat our water tanks as outlined in the Headmistress’s book. I drink the water from the tap no problem. We have a water filter on the galley sink but only because the prior owner installed one. We fill the tanks with treated muni water systems.

My wife likes drinking bottled water. I think it is a HUGE waste of money and an environmental crime. However, I dutifully pick up a case of bottled water for anytime she requests it. I will then take an empty water bottle and fill it with tap water and put in in the fridge and reuse that a long time.
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Old 04-01-2018, 04:39 PM   #16
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Perhaps I'm the only one but---
We live aboard and fill our tanks with city water. We only use water from our tanks so they stay fresh (we don't hook up directly to the city water as many do). That said, I purged the tanks with bleach solution when we took possession of the boat 6-years ago. I have done nothing to them since. We have "whole house" filter on the system right after the pump. We fill a Brita pitcher from the tanks for drinking water. The dogs drink it straight from the tap. Never been sick from the water and it never smells or is cloudy. I figure the city never purges their pipes with bleach. There, I've confessed.
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Old 04-01-2018, 05:50 PM   #17
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There, I've confessed.
Confession may be good for the soul... but, bad for the level of verdict.
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Old 04-01-2018, 07:37 PM   #18
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Here's my confession.
I fill the tanks with water, and then use it for washing, showering and drinking.


No bleach, no filters, no problems.
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Old 04-01-2018, 08:02 PM   #19
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Confession may be good for the soul... but, bad for the level of verdict.
Or,"Confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation"
I buy 10L water containers, after use refilling with tap at home. Eventually the plastic taps fail and I splurge on a new full container for about $6.
I think we could drink the water out of our tanks, looks fine and smells good, but just in case we use separate drinking water.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:16 PM   #20
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Redux on a post made on a similar thread....

I fail to understand why so many folks are creeped out by drinking water from their water tanks. I know it's 99% perception. They'll drink water at home or elsewhere that comes from a tap over which they have no control regarding potability; yet refuse to use water on board over which they have complete control of cleanliness! There's nothing mysterious about water tanks. That bottled water that folks pay for, then shlepp to the boat, store, then deal with the trash is typically filtered tap water. You can do the same thing on board and dispense with the expense and hassle of the bottles, and still enjoy good tasting water & ice. You could even go whole hog and fill your own bottles...

It's reported that it's purely coincidental thata leader in the bottled water market, Evian, is naive, spelled backwards....
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