Sea Flush is a funnel-shape reservoir intended to ease engine and equipment winterization. It also adapts to a shop-vac hose and can be used to unclog blocked through-hulls.
The tapered funnel fits inside the sea strainer on the intake line of an engine, air-conditioner or generator. It proved large enough to hold an inverted gallon of antifreeze during our test. Supplied elastic straps secured Sea Flush reliably to the sea strainer’s plumbing. It was a simple matter to get the generator we used to ingest the antifreeze. Costing less than 70 bucks, Sea Flush is a good deal, particularly if it saves you from paying a diver to unclog a through-hull. It can also be used to extend your boating season into the cold months and to fresh-water flush engines and generators.
For an extended review and videos of Sea Flush in action, visit boatingmag.com/seaflush.
$69; seaflush.com --Kevin Falvey
TONS OF FUNNEL: Sea Flush is a simple and ingenious aid when it comes time to winterize generators and engines. And it can help unclog intakes.
Regular maintenance for you may include winterizing. There’s a new product that makes this much easier than before. Without it, you normally had to remove hoses from through-hull valves and extend or rearrange the hose so it could be inserted into a bucket full of antifreeze. This had to be done for engines, refrigeration and air conditioning systems, and any other systems that use seawater for heat exchanging. The biggest problem with this job was usually removing the hoses from the throughhull. The ends often are difficult to reach, and after a few years they become stiff and difficult to pull over the ridges on the barbs. Enter the Sea Flush (www.seaflush.com). This tool allows you to winterize your engine, generator and air conditioner, as well as other jobs — for example, flushing fresh water through the saltwater cooling side of engines — without pulling off a hose. The concept of the Sea Flush is simple, and the execution is impressive. The Sea Flush system uses a funnel-shaped device designed to fit into most seawater strainers, such as the popular ones by Groco and Perko. Close the through-hull, remove the strainer top and the basket and push the device in. You then fill the device container with antifreeze and turn on the motor to suck it through. Keep pouring it in so the container won’t run dry and ruin the impeller. If you don’t want to do this or if your engine is large enough that it sucks faster than you can pour, the Sea Flush includes an adapter that screws into the funnel and a hose that mates with the adapter. With this, you can suck antifreeze from a bucket. You can also attach that hose to the output of a small Shop-Vac and blow air through the system to purge the line down to the through-hull. (You can’t blow air or liquid past the impeller in the engine.) You can also use the Sea Flush to descale the interior of the heat exchangers on your engines, air conditioning and refrigeration. A few minutes of descaling with a manufacturer-approved product may vastly improve the effectiveness of the heat exchanger in any cooling device. Use an approved product because of the risk of damage if you use something too strong. If you’re dealing with a seawater pump with a magnet impeller coupling, remember that these don’t suck well and may need to have a head of water above the pump. You can do this with the Sea Flush, according to the company, if the strainer is above the pump or by extending the Sea Flush hose up higher to create a water column well above the pump. How you use it varies with the system, but the device offers a lot of versatility to make your day easier. As with any product and procedure on a boat, there are important safety precautions to follow. There’s a helpful set of instructions, and the bottom line is that the entire job is much
easier and quicker than before.” -Tom Neale
“For those in colder climes, the only drag bigger than the end of the sailing season is the need to winterize engines, generators, and air-conditioning units in preparation for their long winter’s nap. Wandering the docks at the 2011 Annapolis Boat Show, we came across the Sea Flush, a new product designed to make the process relatively painless, eliminating the struggle to pull a cooling-system hose end or installing a “Y” valve in order to flush and winterize “raw water” cooling systems or the open side of a closed cooling system. Virginia-based owner John Gregal developed the Sea Flush while working as a boat mechanic on the Potomac River. He realized his invention allowed him to winterize boats faster, using less antifreeze, and while working alone. Sea Flush is a two-piece, funnel shaped device with an injection-molded plastic reservoir and a rubber shop-vac insert, which provides enough friction to hold the vacuum hose in place, freeing up the users hands to take care of other tasks. The reservoir fits into the top of any canister-style sea strainer with an inside opening of 1.6 inches to 5 inches, allowing users to winterize or do a freshwater flush through the sea strainer. The shop-vac insert screws into the reservoir, making it easier to use a shop vacuum to clear a clogged through-hull or purge water from a system as part of the winterizing process. We decided to put the Sea Flush through its paces by using it to winterize the raw-water circuit on the freshwater-cooled Beta 43 engine on our Chesapeake-based test boat, a Union 36 (which we reviewed in the February 2010 issue). Testers found the Sea Flush easy to use and the instructions clear and easy to follow.
"The first step was to remove the lid and strainer basket from the engine sea strainer, then insert the Sea Flush reservoir into the body of the sea strainer and secure it in place with the two provided bungee cords. Because our test boat was in the water, the next step was to screw the shop-vac insert into the reservoir and use a shop vac to blow the seacock and hose clear of water.
"We used a 6-gallon, 5-horsepower vacuum, and it cleared the water with no problem. To keep water from re-entering the seacock and hose, we closed the seacock, then turned on the shop vac. Next, testers removed the vacuum insert and upended a gallon of antifreeze into the reservoir, allowing the running engine to pull from it—much like an office-style water cooler. Prior to the reservoir emptying, we replaced the jug, which lasted until we saw a steady flow of antifreeze at the exhaust discharge, at which point, the engine was shut down, the reservoir removed, and the strainer basket and lid reinstalled.
The process for winterizing a generator would be the same, with a few minor variations for air-conditioning units. Note that winterizing an engine without running it—by simply forcing antifreeze through the raw water loop with a shop vac—is a bad idea. Should the exhaust can fill up and drive the water-antifreeze mix into the exhaust manifold, an open exhaust valve will allow water to enter one or more cylinders, which could lead to rings rusted to the cylinder wall come spring time.
"We liked the concept of the Sea Flush and found that it performed as advertised. In the past, we’ve used a bronze “T” fitting attached to the seacock, which allowed us to winterize by inserting a threaded hose barb connected to a length of hose run to a modifed five-gallon bucket of antifreeze. This setup cost only $30—compared to the $69 Sea Flush—but it was a pain to use. The Sea Flush was faster and easier, and it allowed us to more accurately monitor the amount of antifreeze needed. Even with a lifetime warranty against defects, the Sea Flush seems pricey, but for those with multiple systems (engine, generator, AC unit, etc.) to winterize, it’s a good deal. It’s use for unclogging through-hulls and freshwater rinsing are bonuses.”
CONTACT SEA FLUSH 703/553-1150, www.seaflush.com Photos by Frank Lanier
Reprinted from Practical SailorTM Copyright© 2012 Belvoir Media Group, LLC. Practical SailorTM is published once a month (12 issues) by Belvoir Media Group, LLC., 800 Connecticut Avenue, Box 5656, Norwalk, CT 06856-5656. 800-829-9087. Subscriptions are $39 annually. www.practical-sailor.com
“Maintenance on engines, generators, and air conditioning units can be time consuming and expensive, especially when you pay someone else to do it. In 2011, Sea Flush entered the industry with its products as a way to offer an easy alternative to take care of your vessel with very little waste of your time and money. Sea Flush’s most recent product, the ShopVac Adapter, utilizes the output side of a regular ShopVac in order to force air into the raw water system. This new technique gives you the ability to winterize and unclog throughhull fittings from inside the boat. ShopVac is efficient at pushing common clogging material such as seaweed, jellyfish, and trash bags out of the through-hull fittings. The best part being, that all of that can be done from inside the boat. There is no need to go swimming yourself or call a scuba diver. It can also be used to introduce a cleaning agent into the raw water system with use of the optional Sea Flush Snorkel, which forces the cleaning agent into the a/c hoses to remove debris from the water environment, such as barnacles and silt. With the use of ShopVac, you can forget dealing with the well-known hassle of flushing the air conditioning systems. The use of Sea Flush’s ShopVac makes it a no-brainer to force water out of your a/c system and then insert some antifreeze. Use the ShopVac to winterize your vessel easily. The ShopVac Adapter can clear water out from the inlet hose, which leads to the sea strainer, and then pour some antifreeze in the inlet hose for protection. To learn more about Sea Flush and its complementary products,
visit www.seaflush.com, or call 703.553.1150.”—E.S.