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Old 05-24-2015, 09:00 PM   #1
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Winterizing With Alcohol

One sailboat owner we knew added low cost vodka to his water lines after draining them. He believed it was better protection than antifreeze and left the lines cleaner for Spring start up. I wasn’t sure the alcohol evaporation wouldn’t be a factor so I continued to blow out the lines after draining.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:15 PM   #2
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Expensive Alcohol abuse. Just use RV antifreeze.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:21 PM   #3
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Expensive Alcohol abuse. Just use RV antifreeze.
Ohhhhh I thought we were talking about turning the AS into a brewery!!!
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:31 PM   #4
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80-proof vodka freezes at -16°F and costs about $60 per gallon.

Typical pink RV antifreeze freezes at -50°F at a cost of $4 per gallon for the generic stuff or $65 for name brands (Prestone) at Walmart.

Everclear (190 proof) freezes at -110°F at a cost of about $75 per gallon.

at just $4 per gallon, the generic RV antifreeze is the best protection for the money. But if you live above the arctic circle and want all the protection you can get, buy Everclear.

On edit— alcohol is great for drying out rubber seals, so do not winterize pumps with it! RV antifreeze is kinder to rubber.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:12 AM   #5
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I suppose if you used the Everclear you dilute it slightly and have Vodka Martinis on tap

RV anti-freeze is the most cost effective. FWIW in my part of the Deep South, blowing the lines and pouring a half cup or so RV anti-freeze down the traps is all we do.

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Old 05-25-2015, 06:13 AM   #6
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I liked my sailing friend’s idea of not having to flush and re-flush out the lines in Spring by putting in alcohol but I was always wary of the contact with plastics and as Protaganist pointed out, its capacity for drying out seals. Thanks for concurring with me on this fellas.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:03 AM   #7
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When I lived on my sailboat I accidentally spilt some rum down my sink. To keep from wasting it I had to use a straw to get it back out. Still tasted good but a little salty.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:17 AM   #8
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RV antifreeze is palatable. Jim
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:40 AM   #9
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RV antifreeze is palatable. Jim
Not poisonous, but palatable? No way.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:48 AM   #10
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I wouldn't drink it either, but I don't think a little left in the lines will hurt you. I live in Florida, gave never winterized but do keep some antifreeze dandy in case it gets too cold or I have a destination where it might be needed. Have had at least six AS and have never drunk the water out of the fresh water tank, but if it had vodka in it I might be tempted. Another definition if a happy camper. Jim
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:58 AM   #11
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But then you'd need to add a fourth tank- one for lime juice.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:31 AM   #12
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I usually winterize with alcohol too. Rum & coke in my left hand while I pour RV antifreeze into the traps with my right hand...
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:10 AM   #13
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Aren't there 2 types of RV antifreeze ? a Ethanol based one and a Glycol based one ?

latter being somewhat more expensive but having the benefit of not being inflammable/explosive/volatile

The only one I see on "camping world" is a mix. Perhaps someone with knowledge can comment.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:25 AM   #14
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A gallon of the $4.00 RV antifreeze last me about two years. I only use it in the drain traps and toilet. I blow the lines until only air comes through. I've done this for so many years I forget and in all types of RVs including three Airstreams. SO FAR, have never had an issue and live in a pretty cool climate - Pittsburgh, PA. The cheap stuff works fine by me.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:28 AM   #15
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I once used the alcohol based version. It contains a "bitterant" to discouraging one from drinking it. It left a taste in my water lines for over a week. I now only use the glycol version. Cost a little more, but worth it.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:21 AM   #16
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I second the simple process of blowing the lines and RV antifreeze in the traps. Has worked well for me for 9 years here in the NJ winters.
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Old 10-23-2015, 08:16 AM   #17
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I have resolved myself to not drink or brush my teeth with what’s in the fresh water tank. I’ve got a couple gallons of pink Peak antifreeze in the AS and I’ll go with that in the lines and traps. I’ll flush out the antifreeze in Spring and ponder on tapping into a five gallon tank of clean fresh water to be kept in the cabin. Thanks for the input everyone.
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Old 10-23-2015, 03:57 PM   #18
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Amended post. I now, this year for the first time have blown the lines and added two gallons of RV anti freeze to the entire system except the hot water heater. Reason after so many years is I had a real problem clearing all the water out for some reason, gave up and did the anti freeze bit.
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