Winterizing Fresh Water System

Discussion in 'Winterizing' started by MattB92, Oct 13, 2021 at 10:53 AM.

  1. MattB92

    MattB92 Active Member

    144
    Nov 9, 2019
    Barrie, Ontario
    1994 Sundancer 270
    7.4 w/Bravo II
    First time winterizing the fresh water system on my own. Going to try and avoid the typical questions you guys get. I've read previous topics, but just wondering if you guys can help answer some questions regarding my situation.

    Eventually I am going to install a bypass for my hot water tank, but for now I am just going to connect my in/out together. Put some pink into my fresh water tank and run it through all the lines. Simple enough. My questions are regarding the black hoses (See pic below). How exactly does this system work? Do I need to pull these lines off the hot water tank as well to drain out? I realize they go to the engine to heat the water when running, but hoping someone can explain how this works a little better. I will be letting my marina winterize the actual engine, so is it up to them to make sure these black lines have no water in them?

    Also, looks like my drain for the hot water tank is pretty high up from the bottom (Far Left corner of picture). Looks to me like quite a bit of water will be left in the tank, that's fine to let that much water to freeze?

    Thanks in advance!

    upload_2021-10-13_10-14-11.png
     
  2. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Yup, connecting the in/out together is as good as bypassing. Somewhere on here I did a video on this process - maybe it can found with a search. You actually don't even have to waste AF putting it into your fresh tank (and then waste time flushing it in the spring... which takes a while). If you have access to your fresh tank, just remove the hose that is connected to the tank and stick it (extend it with a garden hose clamped on, if needed) into a jug (or pail) of AF. That jug/pail now becomes your "fresh tank". You'll use less AF doing it this way.

    Anytime the engine is running, water is flowing through the HWH. So keep that in mind regarding when you do each one. I usually drain the engine first, then clear the two black HWH lines by removing at the engine and draining them (you can blow through them to get everything out). Then I pour AF into one of the lines till it comes out the other just to be sure, then reconnect the lines and the pour the AF into the engine.

    For your HWH drain... I think you're talking about the pressure relief valve (the bronze one with the red)? That's not the drain. The drain is lower - I can't quite tell, but is that in on the lower, left corner? But, do flip the pressure valve open to drain it faster.
     
  3. MattB92

    MattB92 Active Member

    144
    Nov 9, 2019
    Barrie, Ontario
    1994 Sundancer 270
    7.4 w/Bravo II
    Thanks Dennis! You are always good help. Access to fresh tank is pretty good so I will definitely do as you suggested. Just wasn't sure if the fresh water tank should have a little bit of AF in it to be safe?

    Ok, now I am a little confused about the engine part. You're saying disconnect the two black lines at the engine side, blow them out, then put AF into one of the lines till it comes out the other side? But are those lines not going to the hot water tank at the other end... therefore putting AF into the tank which we are trying to avoid? Sorry for the confusion, clearly I am no understanding this part haha

    And no I did actually mean the drain on the lower left corner. Still thought that was pretty high, but I guess that's fine. Thanks for the relief valve explanation as well.
     
    villain style likes this.
  4. HawkX66

    HawkX66 Well-Known Member

    978
    Jul 27, 2020
    SE Virginia and NH
    "Tread Knot"
    1997 Sea Ray Sundancer 290DA

    2020 F350 6.7L
    454 L29 Carb w/ Bravo III
    What if he has closed cooling? I didn't see him mention either way. The two black lines don't need to be drained if so right? That's a/f running through them and through the hwh in closed cooling right?
    Matt,
    I know some guys put cheap vodka in their water tank instead of a/f. Works as well, isn't poison and doesn't cause taste issues in the spring. I'm a FNG when it comes to bigger boats so I'm still learning too...
     
  5. Timeflys

    Timeflys Active Member

    394
    Dec 7, 2013
    Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada
    "Frequent Flyer"
    2002 Sundancer 360
    Merc Horizon 8.1s
    Sadly, there is no cheap vodka or cheap anything with alcohol in it north of the border.
     
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  6. HawkX66

    HawkX66 Well-Known Member

    978
    Jul 27, 2020
    SE Virginia and NH
    "Tread Knot"
    1997 Sea Ray Sundancer 290DA

    2020 F350 6.7L
    454 L29 Carb w/ Bravo III
    Might not be any down here either. I haven't looked yet. Still a couple months before I'll winterize... Sounds good though lol
     
  7. Phil S

    Phil S Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    937
    Oct 16, 2020
    Taxachusetts
    2004 300DA
    5.0 Merc B3
    Mine is similar. The way the tank sits on a flat surface, the drain has to be up a little or you'd never get a drain hose attached. I think the inside bottom of the tank is up off the bottom a bit.
     
  8. Phil S

    Phil S Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    937
    Oct 16, 2020
    Taxachusetts
    2004 300DA
    5.0 Merc B3
    I'm looking at my home hot water storage tank, and the drain is up a few inches off the floor so you can get a hose on there.
     
  9. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Matt, the two black lines that come from the engine simply circulate heated (by the engine) water. Inside the HWH is a simple coil - it's completely closed off and separate from the water inside the tank. They just go in one side and out the other.

    The residual amount of water that stays inside the HWH after draining is of no consequence. Also, the residual amount of water that stays in the fresh water tank (after running it dry) isn't an issue, either. Same for the black tank after a pump out - but you'll end up with some in there anyways due to holding the pedal till pink comes out and also dumping some extra pink stuff down the toilet for good measure.

    Yes, if you have closed cooling, you don't need to touch those black lines - although I imagine you probably would have mentioned that?
     
    MattB92 likes this.
  10. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake, Middle River
    1991 250 Sundancer
    7.4 Bravo 1
    I bought a 90 degree elbow that goes on the tank drain, then connect hose to that.
     
    MattB92 likes this.
  11. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Here is my routine, similar to the above.

    I made a short "bypass" hose using a short lenght of 1/2 garden hose. I pull the in and out water lines to the HW heater out of their pex connectors and fit the hose over the ends. Two small stainless clamps on each end holds the hose to the pex pipe without leaking.

    Then I open the HW heater (and open the pressure relief valve too) and let it drain while I winterize everything else.

    First think I do is run the water pump with all taps open until the tank is empty, then shut all taps.

    The I put 6 gallons of pink into the water tank, turn the pump on and open each tap until pink flows out (don't forget the transom shower). I flush the head a few times as well, and use the shower head/tap to run some into the shower sump, letting it pump out a few times.

    Then I just let the system sit pressurized with the ice maker on until it spits out pink slush for ice. Takes about 30 min.

    While that is going on I do the AC unit by closing the sea cock, and opening the lid on the strainer. I have a small plastic hand pump that I use to back pump pink AF back through the AC discharge thru-hull until pink spills out the strainer. Not sure how much that takes but maybe 1 gallon??? I buy two 4 gallon pink jugs, 6 used earlier, and after AC, the rest goes into the water tank.

    After the icemaker is done, I go and flush the head a couple more times for good measure and put a bit more pink down the shower sump.

    Then the water pump goes off and the bypass on the HW tank is removed and the tank set back up. I close the drain and the pressure vent, and then turn the pump back on. Whatever Pink is left in the water tank is then pumped into the HW tank. I let it run until the tank runs dry then turn the pump off. Now the HW tank has pink in addition to whatever residual water may have been in the tank. I leave that sit for a while while I deflate the dinghy, get it on the bow, drink a beer etc.

    Then at the very end, I crack open the HW tank drain and let it run "dry" into the bilge. That way it is no where near full and any water is well diluted with AF.

    I let the marina do my engines and the AF they run through the engines will run through the heating side of the HW tank.

    This will be year 12 of doing that, and I have never had freeze damage.
     
    MattB92 likes this.
  12. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    pittsburgh
    2006 Crownline 250CR. 5.7 Merc BIII
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer. 260 Merc Alpha 1 Gen 1
    5.7 Merc BIII
    I don't winterize my HWH. I installed a bypass and leave it empty and I don't have engine side heat for it so no hoses going to it from the engine. But for the fresh water I did like Dennis said and pull the hose from the fresh tank, which drains it, then put that hose in my AF bottle then turn the pump on. I then go to each faucet and turn it on until I get pink out of each faucet. Very easy. I also have a fitting to thread onto my dockside water inlet with a shrader valve on it. This year I ran the AF through my fresh water then blew air through all the lines after that to get them empty. I keep the pressure to only 25 PSI. Not necessary with the pink in it but started reading up on how bad the cheap AF is and I bought the cheap stuff so figured best to flush the water out then blow the AF out. Next year I will buy the better AF.
    https://www.amazon.com/Camco-36153-...ocphy=1024833&hvtargid=pla-273435320602&psc=1
     
  13. MattB92

    MattB92 Active Member

    144
    Nov 9, 2019
    Barrie, Ontario
    1994 Sundancer 270
    7.4 w/Bravo II
    Ahhh ok, that's where I was confused. Makes sense now, the black lines are just circulated through the tank warming up the water that is in there.

    I am not entirely sure if it is a closed cooling system. I am assuming it's raw tho. I am going to go to the boat tonight and get in there to check things out. What's the easiest way to check, pull off a hose and check if it's raw water or a type of coolant?
     
  14. importmonkey

    importmonkey Opinionated Member

    Jul 9, 2015
    Space Coast, FL
    2005 260DA (sold)
    2007 44DA (sold)
    ...shopping
    Big ones
    Why not just blow the lines out? That way you don't have any AF to evacuate from the lines next season which seems to take forever!
     
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  15. Lazy Daze

    Lazy Daze Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 21, 2009
    PA
    Various
    Various
    Yup - you got it.

    Chances are much higher that you do not have a closed cooling system. But if you did, there would be a big (usually black) cylinder laying horizontally across the top/front of the engine. It's about 5" in diameter and just about the width of the engine. You won't miss it. Google for pictures, if you want.
     
  16. MattB92

    MattB92 Active Member

    144
    Nov 9, 2019
    Barrie, Ontario
    1994 Sundancer 270
    7.4 w/Bravo II
    Perfect, thanks again @Lazy Daze!

    Almost certain I don't have the big cylinder I'm seeing on the good ol' google, but I will confirm tonight.

    In this case when the marina winterizes my engine, this cooling system should be taken care of and I shouldn't have to worry about the black lines to my HWH. Safe to assume this? Will probably confirm after they are done anyway and take a hose off, make sure some pink comes out
     
  17. b_arrington

    b_arrington Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    Back Cove 37
    AB Ventus 9VL
    Cummins QSC 8.3 600
    This is exactly what I do. I used to circulate the AF through the water hoses, but the residual taste was bad. Then I realized I've got a 10 gallon compressor in the garage, let's use that to blow out the lines! Just like an inground sprinkler system.

    For a while I was simply disconnecting the water line after the pump and sticking a blow gun adapter in there - opening one drain at a time. Was time consuming climbing in and out of the bilge, but saved on the antifreeze cost and the bad taste. Most any portable compressor should do the trick.

    The real epiphany was when I realized I could use the dock water inlet connection to blow out all the line. I got the adapter below. One side screws into the dock water inlet, and the other chucks into the compressor hose. It has a valve to turn off the air. Simply connect hook up the compressor and open all the faucets in turn. Do keep the pressure under 35 PSI though, to avoid blowing out a hose. With this method bypassing the water heater isn't needed either. Just open the bottom drain to let out the water. I've been using air to blow out the water system for probably 10 years.

    I'll just note that if you have an ice maker you may need a special procedure. It can be difficult to get the solenoid to open on command. My ice maker had a detailed winterizing procedure that specified a disassembly process.


    [​IMG]
     
    Phil S, importmonkey, HawkX66 and 2 others like this.
  18. Shaps

    Shaps Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2019
    Long Island,NY
    2010 Sundancer 500
    2015 Brig Falcon 330T
    Twin Cummins QSC550 DTS w Zeus
    I do very similar to brad. Made my own version of that hose.
    I do take the hot water heater out of the loop and drain it separately. Don't forget to blow out the hose taps in the anchor locker and engine room if so equipped. Also remember to blow out the windshield washer lines.
     
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  19. MattB92

    MattB92 Active Member

    144
    Nov 9, 2019
    Barrie, Ontario
    1994 Sundancer 270
    7.4 w/Bravo II
    Thank @b_arrington for another perspective. I do have an air compressor so might be another method I may do.

    You noted you used to disconnect the line after the pump. Any little bit of water left in the pump then or the line from the tank to the pump? or did you just not worry about it.

    Also, you say no need to bypass the water heater with this method, but I'm wondering how well the air would go into the tank then through the out hose for your hot water lines. I question how much pressure would even be going through those? I guess you've done it enough times without any issues though, so clearly it works
     
  20. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Related to @b_arrington's comment and my method of letting my icemaker run pink AF until pink slush comes through: The U-Line manual says to NOT run anitfreeze through it. So if you use my method, beware that its not what is recommended. I expect the reason is that the ice tray is coated aluminum (I think its a non-stick coating). AF can cause corrosion on some metals so there is risk of damaging the tray if there is a nick through the coating. Mine is fine, but your experience may differ.

    On my Uline cockpit icemaker you can get at the solenoid by pulling the unit out or taking off the lower panel (more awkward). Then you can open it in some way probably (not sure if its 110v to that solenoid or not. Probably is) or I guess you could disconnect the in and out water lines at the solenoid and blow out the lines both ways. That is a major PIA to do, which is why I don't. Letting pink run through it is my method.
     

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