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Old 06-23-2022, 07:37 PM   #1
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water tanks Helmsman 38E. Cold weather storage preperation

I know it's a ways off, but anyone in northern climates that keep their boat on the hard, what do you do with your water tanks. Since there is no owners manual with diagrams wondering if there is a way to entirely empty both water tanks and hot water heater for winter storage on the hard. My understanding of the tanks is that they are fed by the same in hose and as you fill, one tank sort of spills into the other, rather than two separate tanks. the question is: is there a way to empty both tanks and lines to the pump? Have no idea how many dozens of gallons of rv anti freeze would take to prevent freezing.
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Old 06-24-2022, 09:29 AM   #2
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I can't help with winterization questions. Yes, the tank deck fill supplies both tanks directly. There are iso valves for each tank suction. The only way to drain the tanks is via the water pump through open faucets within the boat. The boat comes with 1 pump, but I have a secondary as a back up and fresh water wash down connection.
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Old 06-24-2022, 10:48 AM   #3
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You will need to empty the fresh water tanks using your fresh water pump through one or more faucets. Then drain the hot water heater with the bottom drain. Your bilge pump should take care of that water. Once the water system is as empty as you can get it, add a gallon or two of pink RV antifreeze to each tank. Use your fresh water pump to move some freeze into the hot water heater until you see pink stuff coming out of the water heater drain. Shut the pump off and bypass the water heater so that all water plumbing is carrying only cold water from the tanks. Now, run the pump to move the pink stuff throughout the entire water system, including showers, sinks and toilets. Once you see pink stuff come out of the last outlet, you are done. I only add enough antifreeze to do the job, the tanks don’t need to have anything left in them.
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Old 06-24-2022, 01:42 PM   #4
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You will need to empty the fresh water tanks using your fresh water pump through one or more faucets. Then drain the hot water heater with the bottom drain. Your bilge pump should take care of that water. Once the water system is as empty as you can get it, add a gallon or two of pink RV antifreeze to each tank. Use your fresh water pump to move some freeze into the hot water heater until you see pink stuff coming out of the water heater drain. Shut the pump off and bypass the water heater so that all water plumbing is carrying only cold water from the tanks. Now, run the pump to move the pink stuff throughout the entire water system, including showers, sinks and toilets. Once you see pink stuff come out of the last outlet, you are done. I only add enough antifreeze to do the job, the tanks donít need to have anything left in them.
That's what I did with my two tanks on the sailboat I owned for last 22 years. But unfortunately, this boat has only one fill and at some undisclosed location there is some sort of a cross over where when one tank is full or near full, the water then goes to the other tank, so no way to isolate or feed RV fluid into each tank separately. pretty messed up way to build a boat. the prior owner said as he fills the tanks he has to slow the water fill otherwise it spills out at the fill site even though the water is slowly moving to from the tank being filled to the tank less full. And, of course, there are no diagrams or boat manuals that show where these connections are made. was hoping to figure out a way to 100% empty every bit of water aboard, both in tanks as well as in lines.
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Old 06-24-2022, 01:44 PM   #5
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I can't help with winterization questions. Yes, the tank deck fill supplies both tanks directly. There are iso valves for each tank suction. The only way to drain the tanks is via the water pump through open faucets within the boat. The boat comes with 1 pump, but I have a secondary as a back up and fresh water wash down connection.
WOW. Beautifully done. can you tell me the model number of the pumps. I at least want to keep a spare and the current water pump is out of production.
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Old 06-24-2022, 06:48 PM   #6
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I really want to try to avoid putting antifreeze into my fresh water system end of this season. We don’t use a ton of water but it has taken us awhile to get it all flushed out of our system. The marina winterized our new to us boat and it was easiest for them to flood everything with antifreeze. I plan on running my tanks dry, disconnect the hose from the pump, disassemble the pump and hook my vacuum pump to both the pump and tanks to get any residual water out. Do the same to the hot water heater too.
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Old 06-24-2022, 08:03 PM   #7
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I really want to try to avoid putting antifreeze into my fresh water system end of this season. We donít use a ton of water but it has taken us awhile to get it all flushed out of our system. The marina winterized our new to us boat and it was easiest for them to flood everything with antifreeze. I plan on running my tanks dry, disconnect the hose from the pump, disassemble the pump and hook my vacuum pump to both the pump and tanks to get any residual water out. Do the same to the hot water heater too.
I was hoping I could get some tricks to do just that. Surely there must be a Helmsman 38 owner that has figured it out. If I just understood the fresh water tank hidden connections and had a diagram of the tanks and water system. Are the tank bottom below the level of the pump? In my Catalina 34 the bow tank was below the level of the pump, so easy to get it all drained, but the aft tank bottom was below the pump. very frustrating that there is no published manual.
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Old 06-24-2022, 08:55 PM   #8
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Mine is Hull #3 and has only one water tank. 80 gallons at the aft end of the generator engine room. Where are the two tanks on newer versions? And why two pumps?
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Old 06-24-2022, 09:35 PM   #9
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Mine is Hull #3 and has only one water tank. 80 gallons at the aft end of the generator engine room. Where are the two tanks on newer versions? And why two pumps?
I am told hull number 9 is one fill, two tanks total of 140 gallons but they are somehow linked. The PO says at some point when filling he must reduce the volume of water going into the single fill hole because somehow the water movement from the one being filled to the one attached slows down. And it makes no sense to have 2 tanks but only one gauge! We've only filled once and didn't overfill, but in less than a week our goal is to head out for several months, so we'll fill as best we can. Maybe someone will be able to articulate what the design looks like and where to access the tanks, although they are probably like the holding tank and even when the paint is removed they are not transparent. a second pump would make it ready in case the main went out
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Old 06-25-2022, 07:09 AM   #10
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If you're confident you can avoid any puddles in low spots in the system, there's nothing wrong with winterizing by removing all of the water. Personally, I don't trust that I won't get a wet spot, so I just bypass the water heater and run antifreeze through everything else. Then flush a few hundred gallons of water through in the spring to get rid of the antifreeze.
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Old 06-25-2022, 07:34 AM   #11
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WOW. Beautifully done. can you tell me the model number of the pumps. I at least want to keep a spare and the current water pump is out of production.
Morning, its a Marco UP6/E model. Our pumps age in dog years because we use them a lot. I had one of them apart a couple months ago and the PTFE helical pump gear teeth were in very good shape.
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Old 06-25-2022, 07:54 AM   #12
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If you're confident you can avoid any puddles in low spots in the system, there's nothing wrong with winterizing by removing all of the water. Personally, I don't trust that I won't get a wet spot, so I just bypass the water heater and run antifreeze through everything else. Then flush a few hundred gallons of water through in the spring to get rid of the antifreeze.
That's what we've been doing for 21 years on our catalina 34 but was hoping a helmsman owner has a strategy to avoid it, especially since the water level in the tanks shares a line, and not sure if it might take dozens of gallons of RV antifreeze to even get it to that point.
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Old 06-25-2022, 07:58 AM   #13
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That's what we've been doing for 21 years on our catalina 34 but was hoping a helmsman owner has a strategy to avoid it, especially since the water level in the tanks shares a line, and not sure if it might take dozens of gallons of RV antifreeze to even get it to that point.

It might be possible to just drain the tanks completely and hook up a temporary feed to the selection manifold or pump input from a container of antifreeze. That way you can antifreeze the lines without feeding it through the tanks.
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Old 06-25-2022, 08:49 AM   #14
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Where are those two tanks on the newer 38s?

And on a related subject, is the water heater still to port in the lazarette? And are the house batteries to starboard in the lazarette?
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Old 06-25-2022, 09:34 AM   #15
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Post #3 is the best way to winterize a somewhat complicated fresh water system on a Helmsman. Elbows, faucets, check valved pumps, valves, ice makers, low spots etc are unfortunate freeze points. The non toxic pink purpose made antifreeze works well on literally millions of applications every winter.

The hassle, cost and aggravation of dealing with an improperly winterized oops can take the fun out of the next cruising season.
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Old 06-26-2022, 01:29 AM   #16
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It might be possible to just drain the tanks completely and hook up a temporary feed to the selection manifold or pump input from a container of antifreeze. That way you can antifreeze the lines without feeding it through the tanks.
That's a possibility if I can make sure tanks and water heater are empty and that there are no hidden lines lower than the area I am working on, but that's the issue. How to trace the in and out lines and know for certain I'm not leaving water in them to freeze.
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Old 06-26-2022, 01:33 AM   #17
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Post #3 is the best way to winterize a somewhat complicated fresh water system on a Helmsman. Elbows, faucets, check valved pumps, valves, ice makers, low spots etc are unfortunate freeze points. The non toxic pink purpose made antifreeze works well on literally millions of applications every winter.

The hassle, cost and aggravation of dealing with an improperly winterized oops can take the fun out of the next cruising season.
That's why I am so preoccupied with finding out what the connection between the two tanks is. somehow, when one is filling through the single fill line, at some point it transfers to the other tank, yet there is only one sensor. Makes no sense and is a very poor design.
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Old 06-26-2022, 01:40 AM   #18
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Where are those two tanks on the newer 38s?

And on a related subject, is the water heater still to port in the lazarette? And are the house batteries to starboard in the lazarette?
in this 2008, the water heater is to port under the floor of the main living area. Several people have referred to the cockpit floor locker as the Lazarette, so I am still trying to understand the terminology. Are there 2 lazarettes, one under the cockpit floor and one under the dinette seating/table area? and the batteries are right in the centerline of the boat, under the dinette flooring, almost at the doorway.
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Old 06-26-2022, 07:31 AM   #19
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It might be possible to just drain the tanks completely and hook up a temporary feed to the selection manifold or pump input from a container of antifreeze. That way you can antifreeze the lines without feeding it through the tanks.
This valve (self installed) is after the water tank. Once the tank is drained I close the valve at the tank. Next, I run a hose from the top of the valve to a fitting in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. Bucket is filled with anti freeze, the pump pulls it through the system. The water heater is bypassed.

I have a single water tank with a drain at the bottom. A week or do before winter haul I drain the tank and leave the valve open so boat movement helps empty the tank. Have never added anti freeze to the tank or water heater.

The five gallon bucket has adaptors so I can attach it directly to the strainers for engine, generator and air conditioning strainers. Makes winterizing much easier. I can't find the pictures of the bucket in action. Will take some more this week if anyone is interested.

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Old 06-26-2022, 07:57 AM   #20
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in this 2008, the water heater is to port under the floor of the main living area. Several people have referred to the cockpit floor locker as the Lazarette, so I am still trying to understand the terminology. Are there 2 lazarettes, one under the cockpit floor and one under the dinette seating/table area? and the batteries are right in the centerline of the boat, under the dinette flooring, almost at the doorway.
Since virtually all of our water use is forward, my plan is to relocate the water heater from the port side of the lazarette to the space just forward of the work bench in the main engine room. Putting the heater closer to the use points saves water by shortening the waiting time for the flow to get hot. It also puts the heater in a far more serviceable location.

By convention, the locker beneath the cockpit is called a lazarette. Since only the thinnest of humans could wiggle through the constriction between the main engine and the generator, I refer to those spaces as the main engine room and the generator engine room.
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