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FAQ: Water Tank Commissioning


How do I commission the water tanks?

Also see the FAQ C34 FAQWinterization How do I winterize my boat?  for more information on this subject!

Also check out Capt Al's page on  Water System Smell, or Sulfer Smell from Hot Water Tank
If you have a Sulfur (rotten egg) smell from the hot water side of your water system, or a stinky smell from your water tanks, then it is time to bleach the system.

Original Message:
[C34] Water tanks - commissioning
Hope to have the boat in the water soon, and need some advice in commissioning the water tanks. I used the pink antifreeze in the water system for the winter. I would like to know what I should use to sanitize the tanks and what the process is. Should I use Clorox and if so, how much, how long should I leave it in and how many times should I flush the tanks. Thanks,
Richard Beecham, "Refuge", C34 MK II, #1430, Rock Hall, MD, rbeecham@home.com

Reply One
Vodka! Has about the same resistance to freezing and taste better when
working it out in the spring.
Re and Frank Puff #691

Reply Two
We've had aluminum tanks on our Tanzer 29 for the last 13 years - now we're looking at C34s. We use some pink antifreeze on "empty" tanks and flush through the pump etc. Probably it is best to try to drain a water heater.
Anyway we pump dry in the spring and then add a couple of gallons of water and pump dry - repeat until all the pink colour is gone. Don't fill up the tank to get rid of the pink. Once the pink is gone then fill the tank after adding a couple of shot glasses of bleach per 25 gallons. Let pump through the full system and let sit for much of a day and then pump out and fill with clean water. During the season use lots of water when you know you can get more - keep the water moving and partway through the season add a shot glass of bleach.
Murray Charlton

Reply Three
Ah yes....but go easy on the vermouth when cleaning out the tanks...
Bob Mack, Upon A Star, #52

Reply Four
Go to www.planetcat.net and go to the page called "the head mistress".
There are some tips on head maintenance, water systems, etc at the beginning of the page. Everything you need to know, from an expert in the field.
Roc, rpalaia@cpcus.jnj.com (Palaia, Rocco [CPCUS])

Reply Five
For the past 12 years, except last year, I used Vodka in the water tanks over the winter. This seemed to work well in both Rock Hall, MD and Stonington, CT. Each year, however, I did blow out the water lines and empty the hot water heater. Last year, I used a small vacuum to blow out the lines and the tanks after disconnecting them at the water pump and the hot water heater. Seems to have worked just fine.
In the spring I fill the tanks and add a little chlorine. As the water sits over the summer, it usually gets a little more chlorine as needed. I find that pumping the tanks dry repeatedly to sanitize them gets tedious although it is not exactly backbreaking labor. We usually buy a couple of gallons of Poland Spring for drinking and replenish these gallons from dockside water so we know that it is fresh and more or less algae free.
One an earlier C34 (1989 model), I added a three gallon tank which sat abode the aft water tank. Fill and overflow hoses were in the stern locker. I ran it to the foot-operated sea water pump in the galley. We used that tank for drinking water since it was recycled pretty frequently, it was easy to keep clean. In the Chesapeake, I wasn't going to use the sea water for much of anything, so it was, to me, a reasonable tradeoff.
Phil Davies, PhilDavies1@compuserve.com (Phil Davies), Cat's Paw, #1360

Reply Six
I am becoming very concerned over the apparent waste of Vodka and its frivolous dispersion into the environment for the use under discussion. As a noted imbibing conservationist and environmental worry wort this practice is most disturbing. Furthermore, it could do irreparable harm to east-west relations if we in the west were found to be treating the national drink of the east in such a frivolous manner.
It brings forth the vision of perestroika failing and the Berlin wall being reconstructed! Kissinger would have a Lady Bird......
I have a better solution and a process during which I drink the vodka.......
I use RV antifreeze; while drinking vodka, I suck out all the water in the fall with a shop vac; pour in antifreeze and suck it through the system until the color shows; again, while drinking vodka, I suck the residual out in the spring with the shop vac; rinse and suck out twice with about 6 gallons of fresh water each time; fill the tanks; add a small amount of chlorine bleach (half cup to each tank) and away we go.
For safe drinking water I have installed a high quality filter, (known to remove all potential bugs and taste) plumbed to a separate facet in the galley. The water is a fresh as a daisy and, more importantly, we are assured any stray tummy bugs etc. are filtered out. The filter is changed annually. More vodka is associated with this somber ceremony......
As an added bonus I find I can save over half of the antifreeze to use again each year.
Save all of the vodka, half of the antifreeze and contribute to east-west relations.... ain't it great???
Remember; amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic.......
Have a great day!
Gary Wiseman, gwiseman@ftn.net (Gary Wiseman), Up Spirits #894

Reply Seven
BLUE MOON's water supply is rarely frozen in Southern California and therefore hasn't the same requirements as those boats East of Las Vegas. However, having learned painfully my lesson about not heeding this list's advice I have faithfully replaced BLUE MOON's water supply with vodka. <hiccup> signed, mud
John LeMasters, BLUE MOON, #753JAL@flashcom.net (JAL)

Important: The opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors to this page, and not those of the Catalina 34 National Association or Catalina Yachts, Inc. Additionally, this material has not been reviewed by Catalina Yachts, Inc. for technical accuracy. This page's maintainer cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information or the desirability of suggested modifications or upgrades. Please obtain assistance from a competent marine mechanic or boatyard prior to making any significant modifications to your vessel.   

Last modified by Phil Imhof, Wednesday, August 11, 2004 . Copyright 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.