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Old 02-14-2016, 11:57 AM   #1
gar
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r/v antifreeze=mold?

Hi All, I store my boat in the water under a shed in southern Virginia. I winterized the boat with non-toxic antifreeze. This winter I found mold in the toilet bowl and on the bilge water. I pour antifreeze in the bilge to run thru the bilge pumps. I did the same last winter & had no growth. The only thing different is last year I had a couple 150 watt light bulbs on in the engine room. I did not think it necessary to pay for electric at a flat rate to use so little amount, but could I be wrong? I don't think the heat they generated would help matters in the cabin head, where much mold was present. Any input would be appreciated. Gary
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:01 PM   #2
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In low concentrations, the pink antifreeze is like a petri dish, i.e. food for bacteria. Higher concentrations, like the -100F stuff is toxic to bacteria, and is what's used to pickle water makers.

Personally, this is why I prefer to blow out fresh water systems with compressed air rather than pump pink stuff through them.
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Old 02-14-2016, 11:07 PM   #3
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Haven't dealt with it on the boat, but we use RV ( non- toxic) antifreeze winterizing the house and come back to a Saragossa sea of mold in the toilets most years. The temperature has been quiet warm til now so that might have accelerated the growth.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:20 AM   #4
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NON toxic antifreez does work to keep pipes from freezing.

Silly to expect "non toxic" from killing stuff!
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
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NON toxic antifreez does work to keep pipes from freezing.

Silly to expect "non toxic" from killing stuff!
It's probably more accurate to say that in high concentrations, Prop Glycol won't support growth. The water maker companies have some good material on this, and stress the importance of using -100F Prop Glycol when pickling a water maker to ensure you end up with a high enough concentration to not get growth.
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Old 02-15-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
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Light and fresh air are the best mold prevention. So while you don't need 300 watts of light in the engine room, a 60w bulb there and in the cabin will help a lot. Leave drawers slightly pulled out and lockers open so that air can circulate. Prop the fridge, freezer and/or icemaker doors open so that air can circulate. Leave the head door(s) open...prop cushions up, put something--under mattresses to lift them enough to get some air under them. A couple of small oscillating fans help a lot too.

As for mold in the toilet bowl...wipe it out after you've run antifreeze through the system. It's not freezing temps that cause damage, it's, frozen water--ice. The volume of ice is 10% larger than the same amount of liquid water...so when water freezes in enclosed spaces that don't provide enough room for it to expand, something's gonna break. So there's no reason to leave antifreeze sitting in an open toilet bowl.
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
In low concentrations, the pink antifreeze is like a petri dish, i.e. food for bacteria. Higher concentrations, like the -100F stuff is toxic to bacteria, and is what's used to pickle water makers.

Personally, this is why I prefer to blow out fresh water systems with compressed air rather than pump pink stuff through them.
I'm assuming (not a biologist nor positive?) that in addition to the media (water, antifreeze, etc) you also need exposure to air for mold or other "stuff" to grow. I don't believe a closed container or pipe full of AF will support growth - only when you have a surface also exposed to air.

Early in my RV / boating experience I read a caution that simply blowing out lines left a damp surface / air interface that would support growth of "stuff" where as blowing then filling w/ AF ( my practice in boat & RV) eliminates the air interface.

I've had "stuff" grow in "empty" tanks but they were damp & had air available... never had a problem in closed pipes, pumps, etc.
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:08 PM   #8
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Mold and fungi CAN grow in boat piping--and do grow in fresh water plumbing...this article explains why:

Re: Can molds grow in the absence of air?
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:59 AM   #9
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Mold and fungi CAN grow in boat piping--and do grow in fresh water plumbing...this article explains why:

Re: Can molds grow in the absence of air?
Peggie...

Thanks - I was hoping you would comment.

So now I wonder what is the best method for winterizing fresh water systems on boats & RV's.
Any insights?

I do make it a practice to treat w/ bleach at start-up each season

How about the Prop Glycol / Alcohol mix RV AF's? -
Enough alcohol to prevent molds?
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Old 02-16-2016, 11:36 AM   #10
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Removing all the water using compressed air--which is certain to require installing more than one "quick release" fitting in the plumbing to make that possible, leaving all those connections open to allow air to evaporate as much remaining moisture as possible--is a far better solution than antifreeze or alcohol. A full recommissioning of the system (described in both my books as well as in just about every RV site on the 'net)--NOT just what most people consider "treating" it with bleach--in the spring will remove any molds or fungus in the plumbing and the tank and leave you with potable water that smells and tastes at least as good as any that comes out of most faucets on land. If that's not good enough to suit you, a faucet filter on the galley sink.

If you've already use antifreeze, recommissioning will also remove all its taste/odor.

And btw, do NOT put antifreeze in the water heater...you'll never get it all out, and if you don't, antifreeze can damage the thermostat and heating element. Instead, drain (there's a petcock at or on the bottom) and bypass the water heater. Bypass kits are available from most major marine suppliers.
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