lowering freezing point of water safely?

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  • Im quickly thinking about using a friendly antifreeze to add to the fresh water tank in my boat, not only to protect the pipes but also the expensive microswitched taps. I know you can get the caravan specific stuff but its for part time campers and not to be consumed!
    I dont drink the stuff but do occassionally get a wash, brush teeth etc so ideally needs not to be poisonous. My only thoughts are salt or baking soda but both will probably clog up the system & salt wouldnt be ideal in a steel water tank. Any more ideas please?

  • Don't, would be my advice. Water inside your boat is highly unlikely to freeze I would have thought. Its rare to see ice on the canals and when you do its usually a thin sheet on the surface, the inside of your boat isnt ever likely to get as cold as the surface of the canal is it? I can't think of anything to put in water to lower the temperature that isnt just a little bit poisonous either. Water borne nomads please feel free to correct me....

  • i agree julian.
    this will be our third winter on the boat, and even in all the snow if feb this year our water was fine.
    admittedly the river is less likey to freeze than a canal, but it did freeze for about a week.

    i'd say unless you have had a problem already, leave well alone. oh and our water tank is not 'inside' the boat, it is under the bow deck.

    abby x

  • I would think there was no need unless the boat was out of water and being left empty and if that was the case I would drain all tanks and pipes.


    If you are still worried, and can access your pipes and tanks without having to rip the boat apart, insulate the pipes and tanks to keep them warm. You can buy all the stuff you need to do it in most DIY shops. I'd pick an insulating material that doesn't absorb water, for obvious reasons, so natural wool or newspapers would be out.

  • its a precautionary measure, first real winter aboard so im preparing for the unexpected as theres currently no heating & the water froze briefly in my camper last year, which was to be expected, along with the 5mm of ice inside the windows at the height of the coldness. I will wait and see, if I have a problem baking soda would seem the safest option. I think the metal tank is likely to be first as the pipes are pvc.

  • hi gs, its a grp cruiser, it had a knackered wood burner in it previously that wasnt ideal in a grp boat, it now has a nice propex heater but it cant be used as the ignition & blower needs at least 12 volts and the battery power is usually lower due to the engines currently being out of action!
    I have plenty of alububble type insulation so might wrap the tank, along with myself!

  • yeah, i don't know what the insulation is like on cruisers but without any heating it will get bloody cold; that would be my priority, running water is non-essential.

    hello from another boathippy :waves:

  • I did 5 winters on a narrowboat (steel then wooden). Sometimes had to work away for a week over winter too. Never had frozen pipes.
    You could replace the water for Smirnoff blue label..? Might work.


    Ps I remember being far more worried about the ice on the cut crushing my rotting woden hull. That never happened, but i did go round ice breaking every day just in case.

  • A bit techy but, if you are genuinely worried, would it not be possible to suspend a heating element in the tank, running off a small rechargable battery with a solar trickle charger?

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

  • I think I'd have to agree with groove on that one coyote. I think a heating element would take more energy than most solar panels that would fit on a boat could generate in the winter. Also I would worry about keeping water warm as it could cause bacterial growth... although I'm guessing you don't mean to heat it over 2-5C, so it should be ok if you could get it to work.

  • i still maintain that heating the boat and therefore yourself is a much higher priority than the water freezing, and anyways, the former will prevent the latter from happening.

  • i still maintain that heating the boat and therefore yourself is a much higher priority than the water freezing, and anyways, the former will prevent the latter from happening.


    Ditto. You need the temperature in the boat to be above freezing so you don't die. As long as you keep yourself alive the water won't freeze.

  • I think I'd have to agree with groove on that one coyote. I think a heating element would take more energy than most solar panels that would fit on a boat could generate in the winter. Also I would worry about keeping water warm as it could cause bacterial growth... although I'm guessing you don't mean to heat it over 2-5C, so it should be ok if you could get it to work.


    Indeed; I was thinking about a constantish 2 degrees c, but yes I wasnt sure whether it would drain faster than it would charge. If you are moored on a river, I wonder how tricky it would be to put a dynamo over the side and use the river flow to turn a prop on it :S


    The general principle of keeping the boat warm as a whole is good - although with that you'd have to be careful not to insulate your water tank from the rest of the boat.....as that could allow it to freeze :D

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

  • i will stick my neck out here and say that as far as i know, none of our boat friends have ever had trouble with tank freeze.

    but cold = damp, discomfort, and misery in general.

    'please' look at getting some heating sorted out?

  • I wouldn't worry about the water freezing, last winter, I went up to my van. baring in mind I hadn't been near it in a week, opened the door, the thermometer on the wall was showing -9C. My metal kettle was half full, and the water in it was just starting to crystallise. The plastic water cans in the cupboards had no sign of ice whatsoever. If you're living in this thing, there's no chance on earth the water will freeze enough to do any damage. Engines should always have strong antifreeze though, because they can freeze and crack, as well as antifreeze preventing water jacket corrosion......

  • Hi all, drinkable antifreeze is available in good motorhome accessory dealers and many chandlers. Its pricey though.
    http://www.marinemegastore.com…t-product-AFX_9_90760.htm


    regards


    reg


    This stuff is for winterizing, in other words for protecting things while you're away for the winter. It might not be poisonous in the sense that normal antifreeze is poisonous, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't really want to drink it! Glycol? Euch...:vomit:

  • Having done many years on a boat on the canal my advice would be not to worry too much. If you are going away for a while then turn the water pump off and leave the tap open. I have had a few times that the water has frozen along with the canal but usually if you are away from it for periods of time. If its run in using poly pipe and speedfit tis pretty bulletproof. And as long as you have the burner lit it will keep the tank from freezing. I would say a grp boat would retain less frozz (technical term) than a steel hull.