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floken
floken

Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:36am

Post Subject: Semi Winterization

Hi Tony This is our first year owning a boat and as such our first winter. We intend to continue to use the boat during the winter but are a little concerned about extended periods of cold weather. The plan is to utilise a small electric heater, (the boat will be connected to a shoreline via a 3Kw inverter), set to operate during periods of cold weather. Our concerns are the water tank which is an integral part of the boat rather than a seperate tank and the calorifier which is located in the engine compartment. A local 'expert' has recommended that we reduce the water tank to half full and to drain the calorifier by disconnecting the bottom pipe. Though this sounds logical to us we wonder whether it would be more sensible just to open the hot & cold taps to drain the tank and calorifier completely, then when we want to use the boat all we need to due is to fill the tank and then the calorifier. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Many thanks Ken Clark

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:47pm

Post Subject: Semi Winterization

Dear Ken, First of all DO NOT feed the heater via the inverter. If you do and the mooring suffers a power cut you could easily end up with fully discharged and possibly damaged batteries. Feed it directly from the and line and your boat's mains wiring. Remember it is rare that more than the top inch or so of the canal freezes so in my view your water tank will draw heat from the unfrozen water below the ice and remain liquid. However it would probably be a good idea to leave an air-gap above the water so if it does freeze the ice has some expansion room. There is a good chance that the bottom calorifier connection is below the water level in the tank so draining it (and it is often not as easy as your adviser makes out because you have to get air in the top AND there is often a one way valve at the bottom) could drain the tank as well. Personally I would not turn off the tank isolator valve to prevent this happening because that traps water in the tank, but you may have to do this. Remember the hull is steel and it will conduct heat from the canal into the engine bay and your calorifier should be insulated. Even last winter I only heard about a few boats that suffered frost damage and most of that was pipes pushed out of couplings. The pipes are nominally below the water line. My calorifier is in the back cabin and all I have done for the past few years is to use the water pump to drain the tank and then leave the taps open without damage in the South Midlands. I would be far more concerned about the shower mixer which is above the waterline but your heater should deal with that risk. If the calorifier drains easily the by all means drain it, but as I say it might drain the tank as well. Please leave the boat will all the taps and shower mixer turned ON. Tony Brooks

floken
floken

Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:45pm

Post Subject: Semi Winterization

Hi Tony, Many thanks, that's very helpfull. Just one point, I may have misunderstood your response, but will opening all taps empty the water tank and calorifier? and if so, is this a practical solution? Regards Ken Clark

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:40am

Post Subject: Semi Winterization

Opening the taps on its own only allows space for water freezing at some point in the system to push water out of the way. Using the water pump to pump water out of the system until the tank is "empty" will leave perhaps an inch or two of water in the tank and water laying in the lower parts of the pipework. You can not totally drain the system without opening joint(s) in the lowest parts of the pipework. Plastic plumbing seems to have frost resistance that copper plumbing and as most boats now use plastic plumbing I personally can not see that leaving the system nearly full with the pump off and taps open presents much more of a frost risk than pumping all the water out but leaving it in the lower pipes. Your engine room calorifier is a different case though. I suspect I would modify the pipework so there is a tap Td into the inlet at the bottom and another tap or radiator bleed valve Td into the outlet at the top. That would make draining it easy. Tony Brooks

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