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Old 01-20-2020, 02:13 PM   #1
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Vodka for Winterizing

I have searched the forum on using vodka for winterizing and the results all made references to vodka as jokes. I have had sailboats in the past and a pop-up. I did use vodka on them, because I hate the taste and smell of the pink stuff, with no issues. It worked very well. I would like to use it on my new 2020 Roo 19 but I have not been able to find out if the alcohol will damage any of the water system components. Does anyone have experience with this?

The dealer has already winterized it since I just picked it up this past weekend. Planning ahead for next fall or maybe if we get another warm spell and get a chance to take it out in the next month or so.

I do find I have lots of friends when I de-winterize the boat...
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:18 PM   #2
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Much of the pink antifreeze is alcohol based. I would not think it would hurt but I wouldn't drink it later .
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:32 PM   #3
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I doubt that it would hurt anything but I can't imagine the cost. Even using the cheap stuff you're probably going to spend somewhere close to $100.

AF is like $3 or $4 a gallon.
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:38 PM   #4
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Mix it with grapefruit juice and I'll dewinterize it for you.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:57 PM   #5
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Neither antifreeze nor vodka is needed to winterize. Just blow out any water from the system and you're done. The air left behind will not freeze.

Filling an inboard engine is different since some can't be fully drained. Very unlike your Roo.

Leaving "pink stuff" in the system is guaranteed to make it taste funny next spring. Blow it out now!

-- Chuck
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:11 AM   #6
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I use about 1 handle for the boat and the pop up. Most of it goes into the water system. The cheap stuff is about $6 for a handle (half gallon). Roughly how many gallons does it take to winterize the average Roo 19?

If I go the blow out route, I assume I hook up the compressor to the antifreeze inlet. What pressure do I set the regulator on the compressor to?

I never ran alcohol through the inboard engine. It had closed loop cooling system like the car. The water side of the loop got the pink stuff as well as the plumbing for the head. I only used vodka for the fresh water system.

The popup only had a sink with cold water. That was easy.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:20 AM   #7
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I wouldn’t us Vodka for anything other than a relaxing drink. Air blowout works and is easy. Water gone = no ice. I’ve used the pink stuff and it never seems to go away. The only way I would use it is for drains and tanks.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:39 AM   #8
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I use a bit less than 2 gallons for the RV AF from Walmart for a Roo 21SS.
I don't put it in the fresh water tank, hot water heater, nor the filter element. We don't notice an aftertaste after a de-winterizing flush.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by hobienick View Post
I use about 1 handle for the boat and the pop up. Most of it goes into the water system. The cheap stuff is about $6 for a handle (half gallon). Roughly how many gallons does it take to winterize the average Roo 19?

If I go the blow out route, I assume I hook up the compressor to the antifreeze inlet. What pressure do I set the regulator on the compressor to?
If I had to guess, I'd say it would probably take a gallon or 2. Still going to cost twice as much as AF though.

The other problem is that when you pump it through you won't be able to tell when the water stops and the alcohol starts. At least with AF you know when it comes through because it's pink.

You can blow out the lines AND add AF/alcohol to the system if you want to. Many people do. Most set their compressor to somewhere between 30 and 60 PSI.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
Neither antifreeze nor vodka is needed to winterize. Just blow out any water from the system and you're done. The air left behind will not freeze.

Filling an inboard engine is different since some can't be fully drained. Very unlike your Roo.

Leaving "pink stuff" in the system is guaranteed to make it taste funny next spring. Blow it out now!

-- Chuck
I'm with Chuck on this one. No antifreeze needed if you blow water out of lines.

I use regulated to 25 psi. First drain water heater and bypass. Open each faucet until water purged. Same with toilet, shower ect. Including ice maker water line/water in door.

Drain all holding tanks, pour antifreeze into water traps... go about your business.
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:01 PM   #11
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The other problem is that when you pump it through you won't be able to tell when the water stops and the alcohol starts. At least with AF you know when it comes through because it's pink.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:26 PM   #12
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I use the food coloring when I use vodka as suggested. Plus, you can smell it at each tap.

About blowing the lines out. If I connect the compressor to the antifreeze input, drain and bypass the water heater, set the pressure to 25-30 psig will this purge enough water out of the pump? Also, do you have to open the faucets in a certain order?

Once benefit of the vodka is it sanitizes the lines. However, the ease of not having to purge the lines in the spring is enticing.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:53 PM   #13
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You wouldn't want to use vodka for winterizing, in Washington State.
The cheapest 1.75l bottle of vodka costs $18.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:27 PM   #14
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Those coastal taxes... Here in the Midwest I can get a handle for about $8 for really crappy stuff.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:33 PM   #15
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Those coastal taxes... Here in the Midwest I can get a handle for about $8 for really crappy stuff.
Same here in NC.
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Old 01-21-2020, 05:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
Neither antifreeze nor vodka is needed to winterize. Just blow out any water from the system and you're done. The air left behind will not freeze.

Filling an inboard engine is different since some can't be fully drained. Very unlike your Roo.

Leaving "pink stuff" in the system is guaranteed to make it taste funny next spring. Blow it out now!

-- Chuck

Agree. 20+ years of blowing out instead of pink stuff and never had an issue. And before someone says "Yeah but I live in Minnesota and it gets really cold..." I'll have you know that it does indeed get below freezing for long stretches in the STL. 20 or 20 below makes no difference to you water pipes.

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Old 01-21-2020, 06:54 PM   #17
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Those coastal taxes... Here in the Midwest I can get a handle for about $8 for really crappy stuff.
We could get it in California, for about $8-$9. So even though California is the most taxed state, booze is still cheap. I don't fault Washington for the high liquor taxes since they have no state income tax.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:16 PM   #18
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Vodka would freeze at a certain point. If its 40 proof it only 20& alcohol. Ive never had an after taste after dewinterizing and sanitizing lines and fresh tank.
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