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Old 09-22-2019, 05:13 PM   #1
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Winterizing: alternate anti-freeze brand (cheaper!)

Hi All,

West Marine is usually my store of last choice or convenience, yet I find myself buying antifreeze there every year for winterizing. I like/use the purple -60 degree stuff for engines/potable water systems. I've looked a couple times and never easily found an alternative that screamed to me that it was the same. I'm sure I can find something suitable for half the price, but the Walmart pink stuff doesn't make me feel comfortable (maybe for the fresh water system, but not the engines) Any suggestions? I found something suitable at defender, but the shipping for a couple cases evens it out.

Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:41 PM   #2
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I use the -100 or -200 because you can use a refractometet to check that the antifreeze is good down to a certain temperature. When I get the blue color first coming out the engine exhaust it may only test to +20 degrees or so. I keep adding antifreeze until it tests to at least -20 degrees. The -60 antifreeze does not work with the refractometer, not sure why but it doesn’t. So I don’t use the -60 because I cannot be sure what protection I have.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:55 AM   #3
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I like/use the purple -60 degree stuff for engines/potable water systems. I've looked a couple times and never easily found an alternative that screamed to me that it was the same. I'm sure I can find something suitable for half the price, but the Walmart pink stuff doesn't make me feel comfortable (maybe for the fresh water system, but not the engines) Any suggestions? I found something suitable at defender, but the shipping for a couple cases evens it out.

If you can use compressed air for your potable water systems, you can reduce the quantity you need for that to near zero.

-Chris
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ssurabus View Post
Hi All,

West Marine is usually my store of last choice or convenience, yet I find myself buying antifreeze there every year for winterizing. I like/use the purple -60 degree stuff for engines/potable water systems. I've looked a couple times and never easily found an alternative that screamed to me that it was the same. I'm sure I can find something suitable for half the price, but the Walmart pink stuff doesn't make me feel comfortable (maybe for the fresh water system, but not the engines) Any suggestions? I found something suitable at defender, but the shipping for a couple cases evens it out.

Thanks!
Perhaps you are confusing ethylene glycol based engine coolant system antifreeze (and boiling point increaser) with propylene glycol (often pink) based potable and raw water antifreeze.

The former is toxic and should never be used in potable water systems. The latter is safe for potable water systems, but leaves a funny taste and should be flushed out well after the winter season.

Both have the same approximate effect on the freezing and boiling point of water.

Just like coolant antifreeze you can buy the propylene glycol antifreeze in different pre mixed concentrations. It doesn't matter which concentration you start with, a refractometer reads the actual concentration of the solution as it comes out. I just look for a strong pink color and it is usually below zero F.

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Old 09-23-2019, 09:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ssurabus View Post
Hi All,

West Marine is usually my store of last choice or convenience, yet I find myself buying antifreeze there every year for winterizing. I like/use the purple -60 degree stuff for engines/potable water systems. I've looked a couple times and never easily found an alternative that screamed to me that it was the same. I'm sure I can find something suitable for half the price, but the Walmart pink stuff doesn't make me feel comfortable (maybe for the fresh water system, but not the engines) Any suggestions? I found something suitable at defender, but the shipping for a couple cases evens it out.

Thanks!

I have always purchased my potable system antifreeze from Walmart, but NOT their store brand - it contains alcohol. At least here in Northern NH they have also sold a name brand next to their brand. For a few years they had Prestone, the last 2 years it was Sta-Bil RV and Marine, but they DO sell out rather quickly each fall. In fact, I'll probably be going to my local store in a day or so to get what I need for this year.


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Old 09-23-2019, 10:27 AM   #6
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As mentioned above it is better if you can utilize compressed air or a wet vacuum to eliminate the water so there is no freezing.
Most of the domestic antifreeze solutions sold can adversely affect many seals and valves on pumps, connections one way valves etc.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:24 AM   #7
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“As mentioned above it is better if you can utilize compressed air or a wet vacuum to eliminate the water so there is no freezing.
Most of the domestic antifreeze solutions sold can adversely affect many seals and valves on pumps, connections one way valves etc.”

Is eliminating all of the water possible? Seem that low points in the plumbing would still gather left over water? Thoughts?
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:33 AM   #8
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“As mentioned above it is better if you can utilize compressed air or a wet vacuum to eliminate the water so there is no freezing.
Most of the domestic antifreeze solutions sold can adversely affect many seals and valves on pumps, connections one way valves etc.”

Is eliminating all of the water possible? Seem that low points in the plumbing would still gather left over water? Thoughts?
"Is eliminating all of the water possible?"
Some residual water is not a problem.

"Thoughts?"
30+ years experience in the NE near Kingston NY with a fresh water system that has 4 sinks, 2 heads, 2 showers, 2 water tanks, an ice maker and a few other items I cannot think of currently.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:44 AM   #9
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“Is eliminating all of the water possible?"
Some residual water is not a problem.

"Thoughts?"
30+ years experience in the NE near Kingston NY with a fresh water system that has 4 sinks, 2 heads, 2 showers, 2 water tanks, an ice maker and a few other items I cannot think of currently.

Well maybe worth a try. I have been blowing out all the water that I could and then sucking up the AF. Maybe I will try eliminating the second step. Hate that pink AF!

Are you just draining / blowing out the water from air conditioners and fridge?
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:57 AM   #10
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Is eliminating all of the water possible? Seem that low points in the plumbing would still gather left over water? Thoughts?
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"Is eliminating all of the water possible?"
Some residual water is not a problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cigatoo View Post
Well maybe worth a try. I have been blowing out all the water that I could and then sucking up the AF. Maybe I will try eliminating the second step. Hate that pink AF!

Are you just draining / blowing out the water from air conditioners and fridge?

Almost all the water can be purged.

Happens I can pretty much drain our freshwater tanks, and even though there's still maybe 6-8 gallons in each, freezing action allows lots of room for expansion, no issues. I can also drain most of our water heater, and the manual says if whatever's left freezes, it'll do no harm.

I then usually use compressed air to force-drain a tad more from the water heater... then from all the plumbing through each of the faucets, shower, etc. Whatever's left in any low places -- not very much anywhere, in our case, more like vapor -- can freeze with no adverse reaction to the PEX.

Afterwards, I finish off by disconnecting plumbing from each end of our strainer/freshwater pump/accumulator assembly (using the quick-detach QEST fittings at either end) and then shooting a brief shot of pink AF through those to protect the pump and accumulator. Probably less than a cup of AF, easily purged at the beginning of the next season.

Air conditioners are more like engines when we winter in the water; pink AF through the raw water system. Fridge is mostly emptied, defrosted, turned off, doors left open.

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Old 09-23-2019, 11:58 AM   #11
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“Is eliminating all of the water possible?"
Some residual water is not a problem.
I blow out my lines by hooking the air compressor line directly to my shore water line. While I'm hooking that up I turn on the water pump and open a couple of faucets to drain the water heater.

When the water heater is empty I shut the faucets and wait a bit for the sir pressure to build. Then I go through the boat and open faucets, one at a time until nothing but a bit of mist comes out. Then I go back and do each faucet again and usually get a tiny bit of water before it turns to just mist.

Two cautions when you do this:
1. Set the air pressure output to not more than 30 psi so you don't blow out a fitting somewhere in the system.
2. Don't forget the seldom used faucets like the anchor wash down, stern shower and I have a hose bib in the storage area beneath the cockpit.

I've done this for years with a series of boats I've owned and never had a problem.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:10 PM   #12
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I have a fifth wheel trailer and here in Utah it will freeze.
I have never used compressed air to blow out the lines but let the water pump pump the antifreeze through all the lines, sink p-traps, shower p-trap and the toilet. When the pink stuff flow out the faucets, I know the lines are full of antifreeze,'I do by-pass the water heater. Don't want that in the heater; just drain the heater.
Never an issue in the 12 years we have owned it.
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cigatoo View Post
“Is eliminating all of the water possible?"
Some residual water is not a problem.

"Thoughts?"
30+ years experience in the NE near Kingston NY with a fresh water system that has 4 sinks, 2 heads, 2 showers, 2 water tanks, an ice maker and a few other items I cannot think of currently.

Well maybe worth a try. I have been blowing out all the water that I could and then sucking up the AF. Maybe I will try eliminating the second step. Hate that pink AF!

Are you just draining / blowing out the water from air conditioners and fridge?
"Are you just draining / blowing out the water from air conditioners and fridge?"

Here are the sections from my winterizing list ...

Alternate method A/C
1. Remove drain plugs from raw water pump
2. Use wetvac to pull water from each through hull opening (3)
3. While removing water from each through hull, temporarily block the other 2 with tape
4. Visit each through hull in order until no water exits, then repeat one more time

Fresh water system

Alternate method (preferred) : disconnect water tanks at tank side, disconnect water pressure pump at pump outlet, use wetvac attached in place of water pump to pull water out, beginning with farthest faucet, in order ‘hot’ and ‘cold’:

a. Forward Wash Down
b. Master shower
c. Master sink
d. Washer
e. Guest shower
f. Guest sink

g. Rear shower
h. Rear wash down
i. Bar sink
j. Ice maker (2 places)
k. Galley sink



Repeat the entire sequence in order expecting no additional water out.
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