Boatworks

Keeping Fresh-water Tanks Fresh

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There's nothing quite as revolting as tainted drinking water. Here are a few tips to keep the water in your tanks tasting sweet.

› At least once a year, drain the tanks completely and pour in half a cup of Clorox bleach for every 20 gallons of each tank’s capacity. Then refill the tanks, pump them dry, and refill them with fresh water to which you have added a little lemon juice or Aqua Tabs water-purifying tablets.

› Check the condition of the hoses. Most molds grow in the clear-plastic water pipe. It doesn't take long, either—just a year or so.

› If possible, remove the pipes while the tank is empty and run some boiling water through them, squirt some lemon juice down them, and leave them to sit for 30 minutes before repeating the boiling-water treatment. Once the hoses are clean, reinstall them while they're still warm; it will be easier to deal with barbed connections and bend-around corners. If the hoses are still black, you should replace them; more algae grows in the hoses than in the tanks, so this alone will make your water taste better.

› Use water that comes from known good-quality sources. In some parts of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, the water is of dubious quality—almost unfit for drinking. If you regularly cruise in far-flung waters, consider buying a filtering arrangement that treats the water before it comes into your tanks. Also, install charcoal filters between the tanks and the galley sinks. Munster Sims makes a good selection of filters, and the cost is cheap when you consider that they remove taste and odor from drinking water for pennies per day.

Posted: November 6, 2007

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