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Old 04-04-2011, 09:17 AM   #1
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Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Had several batteries crack, and I presume leak, acid into the bilge. Not sure if they had cracked while the previous owner was still alive (he passed away in Autumn), so am not sure if he cleaned up the acid or not, or if they cracked over winter.

Either way - how do I determine if I do have leaked acid in my bilge, and if I do, how to clean it up?

Thanks
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:53 AM   #2
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Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Throw a little baking soda in and see if it foams.

Acid and a base. If it does add more Baking soda*to nuteralize the acid

*

SD


-- Edited by skipperdude on Monday 4th of April 2011 09:55:53 AM
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:09 AM   #3
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RE: Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

You can buy some ph paper.* Add a little water to the area you think might have battery acid*and test it.* You can always just add baking soda as Skipperdude said and use lots of water.* You'll have a clean smelling bigle anyway.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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RE: Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Tiger,* The horse is out of the barn---but another advantage of battery boxes.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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RE: Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Phillip,

Baking soda will work, as will*limestone (calcium carbonate) which is cheaper if you have a lot of undiluted acid.* Diluting with fresh water (Never Salt water, it will form chlorine gas which is fatal) will probably be the easiest thing to do, as the bilge is large and the acid spill probably relatively little,*a standard car battery takes a bit less than a quart of 37% H2SO4...Call it*6 molar;*16 gallons of water will take that down to about 100 millimolar, which'll give the mixture a pH of about 1, which is pretty low.* But that's just my guess, you might want to call a battery manufacturer and ask what they recommend.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:55 PM   #6
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RE: Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Quote:
skipperdude wrote:
Throw a little baking soda in and see if it foams.

Acid and a base. If it does add more Baking soda*to nuteralize the acid

*

Yes, but you need a liquid too.* Water.
*

*
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:01 PM   #7
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RE: Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Quote:
superdiver wrote:
As far as battery boxes go, how much air ventilation do you need? The one shown above has a small hole in front and where the wire leads go in and out. Is that typically enough?
********* Diver,* The box in my image provides good ventilation, always had standard wet cell batts and no problem, boat built in 1983.*

JohnP

*
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:20 PM   #8
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RE: Cleaning up battery acid in the bilge>

Tiger, acquarium pH test strips will work just fine.* Fill the bilge with water, stir, test, add baking soda to neutralize.* Baking soda is best because it will dissolve, where limestone won't.* A couple of teaspoons of baking soda in a 40 gallon tank is enough to raise the pH 1 point, so you don't need much.

Diver, you need no ventilation other than to allow for outgassing, which is small.* However, if the batteries are located in the E/R, you need to keep them cool and that requires a fair amount of air.* I located my bank in the E/R and plumbed in a separate fan to extract cooling air brought in from outside for combustion to blow over the batteries, located behind an insulated panel.* The objective is to keep them at outside ambient temperature, which significantly extends their life.
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