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 Water system winterization

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
HOGAN Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 14:27:04
I want to use compressed air to blow out my system, do I need to bypass the water pump?
31   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
WALSHIE Posted - Oct 25 2010 : 08:51:41
I did the water system yesterday. I bypassed and drained the water heater first. Then I disconnected the output at the pump, let the pump remove last water from tank (into bilge). I then added 1/2 gallon to the water tank and pumped it all through the pump. I added some air to the dockside inlet which removed water at the leg to the pump. Apparently my dockside check valve is at the pump/filter/bladder housing. I replaced outlet to the pump and blew air.

Without a doubt this is the way I will go moving forward. The compressed air even blew debris through the lines (YUK!). It was much faster and I used about four gallons less than usual. The remaining 1/2 gallon went to the shower sump pump. Another gallon for the head and two more for the genset. I'm up to four gallons with only two engines and the A/C to go.

Eric, are you sure about your setup? Is the pump AFTER the dockside inlet? Does your pump run when connected to dockside or does the water flow through the diaghpram pump?
starfishkiller Posted - Oct 19 2010 : 11:12:35
To answer your question, it depends on what type of pump you have. I have a diaghram pump for my fresh water system. It can run dry without any damage. I connect my air compressor to the inlet side of the pump, and turn the pump on during the process of blowing air through the lines. Doing it this way insures that there isn't any water in the pump.
However, this will not work if you have a rubber impellor type pump, that will get damaged when run dry.

boatbum Posted - Oct 18 2010 : 06:25:47
Note, our pump is a Galley Maid, non diaphram type.
nwaring Posted - Oct 18 2010 : 05:39:54
I do both, air first from the city water connection, around 80 pounds of pressure for several minutes. I then close all the faucets and apply pink under pressure from a bilge pump mounted in a 5 gallon bucket. I then proceed to open the faucets one at time. Every one of them, 3 sinks, 2 toilets and the shower spit out clear water for about a second before turning pink. Is it enough to harm anything? I donít know, but I sure sleep better during our long cold winters.

To answer Hoganís question when I am done with the above I disconnect the line before the pump and stick it in a gallon of pink and repeat the above.

To each their own and whatever works for them.

boatbum Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 21:13:09
We never bypassed the pump but I did bypass the heater and drain it as best as possible. What I did was blow out the system by working from the longest runs in. Once all of the water was out, and you can tell by the lack of "barking", I disconnected the pump inlet and outlet, and ran pink through it. I also have a switch that enables the water solenoid to the ice maker so I can control it with regard to the rest of the boat and ensure it blows clear. PITA to install initially due to pulling out the ice maker but it shortens the winterization of the plumbing with air.
I usually used pressure around 40 psi tho.

The compressor would shut down at 40 psi. I went to the longest run and opened the valves quickly. When the air slowed down I'd shut the valve let the compressor build pressure again and open the other temperature and repeat. When the longest run pipes were quiet except for air rushing, I'd work my way back and then repeat a few times.

Just make sure the lines leading up to the pump are clear. Ours were right at the tank and easily drained. You can run a pump until it cavetates and shut it down and then blow it out. The compressor should be attached at the dockside inlet which will be a parallel input with regard to the pump.

Never had an issue.
Double D Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 20:27:36
SO true........don't ask how I know !
Audrey II Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 20:05:50
My gauge never read higher then 50 and was down at 40 most of the time. But very good advise could do some major damage or at least hard to find damage if you use too much pressure for sure.
Double D Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 18:43:04
Remember not to exceed 60PSI of compressed air......if you blow thru the city water fitting.
Audrey II Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 17:18:35
So I blow out all my water systems today. It was very easy to do. To be safe I installed bypass kits on both hot water tanks and drain them before starting the process (for some dumb reason one of my hot water tanks does not have a drain valve PIA). There is a lot of plumbing on my boat two wash downs three showers four sinks two toilets one washer dryer an ice maker and last but not least windshield washer.
I blow every connection out several times so I'm confident I got it all out. Then I disconnected the output from the pump and flushed that out. With the output to the pump disconnected I run the fresh water pump to drain the tank I was not happy with the amount of water still in the feed line so I pour one gallon of pink in the holding tank and ran it through the pump not into my water lines. In the spring I'll flush out the tank and I'll be ready to go. Being the first time I was doing this it took a lot longer then it should have but I'm happy with the results.

I also blow out the A/C lines but they seem to be self draining and there was next to nothing in them. I don't think I really needed to do anything the way the lines are run there is no low spot for water to collect it just runs out the output or but down to the strainer, very cool.

Next I'll try out the built in oil change pump that I have never used. Always did the easy way paid someone else.

I enjoyed the work today I wont say it was fun but it wasn't difficult and I learned and enjoyed. I'm sure I saved some money at the same time.
Thanks for starting this thread Hogan you motivated me to get something done. If you have any question about fitting or adapters needed let no know. It was mostly self explanatory.
Robyns Nest Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 07:40:24
yes pink does damage the ice trays in the makers. It pits the metal.

Pinks is messy and kinda greasy.

Pink makes the water taste funny.

Pink turns your water pipes pink.

Pink cost money.

Pick is heavy to carry.

Pink takes up space in your car, house and boat.

Pink comes in plastic bottles that fill up land fills.

I use the least amount possible. Still need pink for the holding tank and the motors, the washing machine and sink drains and the shower sump.
abalmuth Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 06:55:03
I have been using the Air method for 5 years just like Robyns Nest, no issues and all.
If I remember right Vic recently posted that Pink could damage some Ice Makers- but I may have been having a CL moment.
Audrey II Posted - Oct 17 2010 : 06:38:28
I think I'll try the air method today and if I'm satisfied that I got everything out I'll skip the pink.
mixman Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 22:14:00
After this reading this thread, I'm glad I keep my boat heated all winter :-)

(yes, I've been through power outages - 18 hours one time - and survived well)
JVM225 Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 21:35:10
I do both a blow out and the pink stuff.
First I drain everything, including the HW heater.
Next I turn off the water system breaker, otherwise the pump keeps running if it's just sucking air.
Then I blow the system out from the city water hook up.
Then I bypass the water heater.
Then pour a couple of gallons of pink in to the fresh water tank.
Then I turn the water system breaker back on.
Turn each faucet on until pink comes out. (I recapture the pink that comes out for use with the bilge pumps).
Re-connect the water heater.
I do double the work because it only takes an extra few minutes, but I know I could get away with just doing either one.
Robyns Nest Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 21:06:40
No. You will just blow the air into the water tank. You do have to disconnect both sides of the pump and drain.

Remember one side of the pump goes to the water tank, the other into your system. If you connect both sides together your system will never build up pressure.

HOGAN Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 21:00:13
So back to my original question, do I need to bypass the water pump?
Robyns Nest Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 20:46:24
You're right Jim, I just drain mine, I will edit post.

But blowing the lines works every time.

For my sprinkler system too, and my neighbors pool as well.

JimPend Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 20:35:15
I don't know where you are but air blowing out the pipes is questionable, air blowing out the water heater is not, it won't.
Robyns Nest Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 20:18:47

They used pink in the past and you still and problems right??? The air method is such a simple and easy process it's a joke.
JimPend Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 19:15:31
Carver it might work for you, as long as you can drain the water heater. Like I said at first for some boats it will for some boats it won't work. I will continue to by-pass and drain the water heater and run the pink. After 25 years with this boat no problems.
carver 2557 Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 18:44:45
I use the air method and don't bypass the water heater...I drain the heater by opening the drain on it...I then close the drain and charge the system with air and re-open the heater drain...I keep doing this untill just air comes out...Works for me...I do the same for all the taps both hot and cold...
Audrey II Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 18:39:58
I'm so confused I'm not sure what to do and I would like to do it myself this year, if for no other reason to be thorough being I have had problems in the past. I'm thinking of doing it tomorrow but it may have to wait.
JimPend Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 18:18:19
Who knows what is right? You by-pass the waterheater no matter how you do it air or pink. I'm up at the boat right now and 3 boaters with 30+ years each all say the same thing, if you try it with air it is an hour or two of blowing air to make sure. Bottom line is I know how to do mine and will help anyone that asks but I have never done air and won't because failure is a real problem in the spring.
CurrentSea Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 16:31:06
air is better.
It keeps the pink out of your water tank and if you have a ice maker like me, it is preferred.
No reason to put pink in.
If done right, air works fine.
Robyns Nest Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 16:30:35

How was you system winterized in the past? With pink?

This is what I have done for the past 5 years with zero problems.

Drain the water tank completely with your pump.

Then drain the water heater and close it up.

Pump the air into the dockside fitting, you do not have to bypass the heater, it will blowout thru the heater and all the water lines.

Use up to 50 psi and it will push all the water out of the lines, no problem with that.

There will be no water left after you let the air blow out for a few minutes.

If you have an ice maker, leave the system pumped up with all faucets closed and the ice machine will cycle and all the water will blow out on one or two cycles.

If you have a clothes washing machine, pressurize the system with air, turn on the machine on warm water mode and it will blow out all the water. Dump a gallon of pink into the machine and go to spin cycle to let the pump in the machine send the pink down the line.

Vacuflush heads, when you do the water system step on the pedal, air will blow out. Pour a gallon or two in the bowl and step on pedal again sending pink downstream.

You then have to disconnect both side of your water pump and drain those lines and let the pump drain out. You do not have to connect the lines back up until spring if you are paranoid.

Pour pink to the shower drains until you hear the sump cycle a few times. Pour some pink into the sink drains until pink comes out the thru hull.

Pour pink (I do 5 gallons total) into the holding tank, macerate the pink out to winterize that side of the system.

If you have salt water washdown you can use air to blow that out.

I also blow out my a/c system with air no pink at all, 1" hose on my system.


Sprinkler companies do the same thing to winterize every one of their customers without problems. It works, 50 psi will blow out all the water.

Go to marineeast and get their hose to garden hose fittings for the a/c hose size and any other hose size you have to blow out.

Go to homedepot or Lowes and get the fittings to take the air compressor end (usually 1/4") and get it up to garden hose male fitting, I put 1/4" ball valve before the garden hose end so I can control the air flow easily.
Audrey II Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 16:22:06
Why do you want to do this? Aside from cost and spring flushing is there an additional benefit?
I have had line leaks over the last couple years and I don't want to take any chances with freezing cracks. It was a pia finding and repairing a leak this spring. I'm thinking I will winterize the system myself this year. I have heard and this may be wrong but using air doesn't clear all the water from the lines and water can find a low spot in the line and still freeze and burst therefore antifreeze is a safer choice.
I use an adapter to blow out my sprinkler lines I'm sure it could be adapted to work on the boat just need a gender bender. As mentioned above you would need to blow out the feed to the pump as well in addition I would suggest disconnecting the output of the pump and blow this out as well or there will be a section of pipe that will remain full and nowhere for it to go.
Good luck with whatever you decide but if you need a hand I would be happy to help just to see how well it works. Do you have a compressor? You have a lot of lines to blow out.
JimPend Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 16:05:28
Air might or might not work for the system, it does not replace the water it just blow it out. It can blow over the top of the water and it will appear as though the line is clear but the water can go and settle in a low spot later and break the line when it freezes. I've seen it both work and fail to work over the years, depends on the boats water system runs and lay out.
carver 2557 Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 15:45:57
Side Note:
By blowing air through your city water inlet will not clear your inlet line from your fresh water holding tank and your pump of water...
carver 2557 Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 15:30:21
I didn't know that you had a city water inlet...So yes you can blow air through it...There should be a check valve that will not allow air or city water to get into your pump...
HOGAN Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 15:07:33
So why do they make the fittings that go into the city water inlet?

I'm not winterizing for a couple of weeks, just getting info
carver 2557 Posted - Oct 16 2010 : 14:40:44
You need to blow the air in after the pump...Disconnect the line going out of your pump and blow the air in there...

Why are you winterizing now?..Is the river frozen down there?....

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