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Freshwater plumbing question

Dec 1, 2020
92
CAL 27 Illahee / Brownsville WA
My Cal 27 freshwater system has never really worked since purchasing the boat last fall. I day sail mostly and use bottled water so it's not been an issue, but I"m planning on a short 2-3 day cruise to see what it's like living aboard, etc., and would like the water system to work for that trip

The issues are the pump runs and water/air is expelled from the two faucets on that boat (galley & head). The PO said the system took 5 minutes or so to fully pressurize before the pump stopped, but my test for 18 minutes with one-stop halfway would indicate otherwise. I need to trace hunt down whatever is causing the failure that keeps the pump running, and started with the pump line stuff in the quest, and am a bit confused about what I see installed presently.

Here is my rather poor drawing of what I have now.

cal27_water_diagram.jpg


What are the thoughts on removing the valve and stuff inside the red line area in the image? Currently when the valve is closed the pump spits water/air - when open nothing comes out of the faucets.

There is no freshwater hose attachment or fill plate on the boat. Filling the tank means a hose into the opening port below the v-berth.

Thoughts?
 
Sep 25, 2008
6,314
Alden 50 Sarasota, Florida
According to your drawing, the galley/head and HW heater aren't fed through a pump. Not sure what is. This can't be correct.
 
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Feb 21, 2013
3,775
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
...........What are the thoughts on removing the valve and stuff inside the red line area in the image? ...........
Yep!! The bypass is not required and risks recirculation. What type of pump, e.g., diaphragm, variable speed (manufacturer/model would confirm that) do you have? Does your freshwater tank have a vent? Could consider a deck fill connection and hose to your freshwater tank.
 
Last edited:
Nov 6, 2006
9,225
Hunter 34 Mandeville Louisiana
There is an air leak somewhere between the tank and the pump, including all fittings...and the suction side of the pump body itself.. (cracks, loose gasket screws, etc) A prime suspect would be the strainer bowl gasket or bowl or body.. Do remove the stuff in the red circle, including the two "t" fittings at the ends of the red circle..
The crazy thing about air leaks under suction is that they can leak air into the line and not leak under pressure.. Sail SF Bay is correct.. a plugged vent line would make an air leak flow more air.. You can test this by removing the fill cap while running the pump.
I understand that there is no water heater, but you do have an accumulator (diy PVC tank).
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,705
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
If the drawing is correct...
Keep the Ball valve closed at all times.
Jim...
 
Dec 1, 2020
92
CAL 27 Illahee / Brownsville WA
According to your drawing, the galley/head and HW heater aren't fed through a pump. Not sure what is. This can't be correct.
My drawing is poor. My assumption is that the cold water pressurized side feeds the hot water side down stream.
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Where is the tank in this drawing? I must be missing something. The only tank I see in the diagram is the home made pressure tank that is fed from the pump. If there is a leak in there, it could be a source of problems, but you should see water escaping into the boat. What is FW outlet tubing? I don't understand that notation. I suppose that is the flexible feed line from the tank? I thought at first that the copper plumbing system that you have circled could be a pressurize line coming from a dock feed, but that doesn't make sense. I'm guessing that the original system had hand or foot pump faucets and the pump system was added. Therefore, the ball valve MUST be closed when operating the pump system.

If your pump is running continuously and isn't pressurizing within a very short time (once the water heater tank is filled), then you are either sucking air in the feed line to the pump, or your feed is collapsed or too small and the pump can't work hard enough to pressurize the line. I would look immediately at the feed line and find out why it doesn't feed enough water. I think that if it is just a 1/2" line with lots of fittings, that is a problem. I found that to be the case in 2 of my boats so far.

Many posters will suggest that you can't identify the problem until you put pressure gauges on the lines to find out where the pressure loss is. That would be a smart way to proceed, but you may be able to find the problem just by simple observations. Look at the filter, ahead of the pump. If it is dirty and clogged, that will force you pump to run excessively. If the pressures are adequate and you don't have pressure at the faucets, check the filters in the faucet heads. The screens also also clog easily and block flow thru the faucet. However, your pump wouldn't be running continuously if the faucet filters are clogged. I think your issue is between the tank (wherever it might be in your diagram) and your pump. Too many fittings, too small pipe diameter, clogged filter, all increase friction head and restrict water feeding the pump. It is very possible to starve the pump with these systems.
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,048
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Hi Rick, all good suggestions thus far. Our water pump comes on and goes off almost instantly. One other suggestion, our forward aluminum tank has a bib valve that will clog with debris over time. I usually clean that valve of calcified material each season.
 
Dec 1, 2020
92
CAL 27 Illahee / Brownsville WA
Where is the tank in this drawing? I must be missing something. The only tank I see in the diagram is the home made pressure tank that is fed from the pump. If there is a leak in there, it could be a source of problems, but you should see water escaping into the boat. What is FW outlet tubing? I don't understand that notation. I suppose that is the flexible feed line from the tank? I thought at first that the copper plumbing system that you have circled could be a pressurize line coming from a dock feed, but that doesn't make sense. I'm guessing that the original system had hand or foot pump faucets and the pump system was added. Therefore, the ball valve MUST be closed when operating the pump system.

If your pump is running continuously and isn't pressurizing within a very short time (once the water heater tank is filled), then you are either sucking air in the feed line to the pump, or your feed is collapsed or too small and the pump can't work hard enough to pressurize the line. I would look immediately at the feed line and find out why it doesn't feed enough water. I think that if it is just a 1/2" line with lots of fittings, that is a problem. I found that to be the case in 2 of my boats so far.

Many posters will suggest that you can't identify the problem until you put pressure gauges on the lines to find out where the pressure loss is. That would be a smart way to proceed, but you may be able to find the problem just by simple observations. Look at the filter, ahead of the pump. If it is dirty and clogged, that will force you pump to run excessively. If the pressures are adequate and you don't have pressure at the faucets, check the filters in the faucet heads. The screens also also clog easily and block flow thru the faucet. However, your pump wouldn't be running continuously if the faucet filters are clogged. I think your issue is between the tank (wherever it might be in your diagram) and your pump. Too many fittings, too small pipe diameter, clogged filter, all increase friction head and restrict water feeding the pump. It is very possible to starve the pump with these systems.
The water tank is not shown in my drawing. It's a plastic tank with the output coming into my drawing at the upper left corner.

Black lines are some type of flexible tubing. Brown is 3/8" copper.

I'm going to replace the pre-pump strainer (filter) so I know it's good. Take the piping inside the red lines out of the system. I will then test and see what happens.

The pump is mounted "upside-down" but here is a "selfie" of the pump label. I read this as 2.0 or 2.8 gal/min and 40psi. I need to google this pump to try to understand if it will shut-off when the line pressure reaches 40 psi.

Pic_056.jpg
 
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Feb 14, 2014
5,705
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
It will shut off, if your pressure switch on the discharge is working.
Most water pumps are set at 40 psi.
Jim...
 
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Dec 1, 2020
92
CAL 27 Illahee / Brownsville WA
Update on this project and here is a better graphic of the system as it currently is set up.
cal27_water_diagram.jpg


The water tank is empty at this point, so I have not tested it to see if the pump stops running. Hope to add water soon and test. A bit more complex since the boat is on a mooring ball.

When running without water, I get some pressurized air exiting the faucets when they are turned on after stopping the pump. This seems to indicate that the system does not have any leaks.
  • If the pump still runs:
    • Pull the chain and anchor and find the end of the tank vent line and make sure it's open (blow on it?)
    • If it still fails - then replace pump with a new variable speed pump, something like a Seaflow 42 series ($70 on amazon) or stay with the constant flow type pump?
      • If variable speed is the choice - is there any reason to keep the expansion tank?

  • The water tank inlet is a screw-out plug that is flush with the vee berth floor. There is no room to plumb a line to a deck fill. The PO told me to bring a hose to the tank. To make filling it easier it seems like my options are:
    • Add some type of ball valve and bypass loop around the pump to allow filling the tank by reconnecting the stern fill fitting?
    • Drill through the existing tank plastic side and install some type of fill fitting with 5200 for sealing it, and adding a deck fill?
    • With either of these options, I will need to route the vent to a deck height outside of the hull vent.
Thoughts on where I'm at at this point are appreciated.
 
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