Eliminating Manual Fresh Water Switch ? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-26-2009
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Question Eliminating Manual Fresh Water Switch ?

I've got a cold water only freshwater system that has two connected tanks (one under the v-berth, the other on the starboard bench). There are two basic single lever whale faucets (one in the galley and one in the head). I currently have a fixed manual switch near the companion way door that turns the water pressurization pump on and off. And I have two basic annoyances that I'd like to correct:

First is that the electric water pump is bolted directly to the below decks transverse bulkhead between the cockpit and the cabin. This dry 30 year old plywood board acts like a huge drum head further amplifying an already noisy Jabsco pump to an incredibly loud roar anytime the pump is turned on. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could isolate/deaden the vibration being given off by the pump to reduce its operating volume? Alternatively, don't they make quiet marine water pumps?

The second issue is that I'd like to make the faucets just turn on when their levers are turned rather than having to flip a separate manual switch. One option is replacing the faucet with one that has a built in electric switch like this one:

Shurflo Electric Faucet

But this is limits me to only using that 1 faucet and means I don't have the choice of using any of the other 500 styles of non-electric marine faucets out there. I've seen in-line electric pressure switches, but I haven't found a discussion as to what these are for or how they work. So I don't know if they would do anything to resolve the issue I'm trying to fix.

What other options do I have based on the water system I've described?

Last edited by backcreeksailor; 05-26-2009 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 05-26-2009
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I may be missing something but your system sounds like the basic setup I have had on my last few boats. Does something bad happen if you just leave the water pump switch on with the faucets off ? That is the normal setup. Turn on the water pressure switch when you come on board and off when you leave. When you want water you then open a faucet and out it comes. What am I missing ?
As for the sound you can dampen the mounting with rubber, surround it with sound blocking material etc... Also you can install an air pressure regulated tank to hold keep the pump from running every time you take even a little out. I can't think of the name of that tank....duh
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Old 05-26-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christyleigh View Post
I may be missing something but your system sounds like the basic setup I have had on my last few boats. Does something bad happen if you just leave the water pump switch on with the faucets off ? That is the normal setup. Turn on the water pressure switch when you come on board and off when you leave. When you want water you then open a faucet and out it comes. What am I missing ?
Maybe my system isn't configured/installed as it should be... It's apparent that the previous owner installed this new pump from the new wiring and pump. But when the pump is turned on (with the faucets off), it LOUDLY stays on and runs continuously until the switch is turned back off. It doesn't pressurize the lines and then shut itself off.

I'll look again, but from what I saw, it only appears to have the on/off pump switch in the circuit. There's nothing in the wiring that would give it the ability to shut itself off unless the pump itself is supposed to be able to sense when the lines are pressurized.

Last edited by backcreeksailor; 05-26-2009 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 05-26-2009
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What Christyleigh can't remember is the accumulator tank. This keeps the system pressurized and stops pump cycling - you can draw a cup or more of water without the pump turning on. It sounds like the previous owner installed a pump without pressure switch. I'd replace the pump with a new one. As to vibration try to mount the pump on a more solid piece of joinery - soft mount it by bolting the pump to whatever with rubber between it and the mounting point.
Brian
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Old 05-26-2009
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As Brain suggested I'd replace the pump with one with a built in pressure switch. They can be had for about $60 and up and may also be substantially quieter.
Bill,
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Old 05-26-2009
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Check the Web

For simple questions about freshwater systems, go to:

West Marine: West Advisor

For several others tips on boating, check also West Marine: Home Page and search for "west advisor". Although sometimes biased by specific products/technologies, this is a good site to start with, as you might clear mostly your questions.
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Old 05-26-2009
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If you do install a new pump with a pressure switch, do not hardwire that and remove the manual switch because if you do the pump wil go on and stay on whenever your water tank gets close to empty.

There will not be enough water available to the pump for it to attain cut-out pressure so it will just keep churning away.
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Old 05-27-2009
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To get the noise out of the pump, I used a softish rubber block, drilled and countersunk it from one side to bolt it to the bulkhead, drilled and countersunk in from a different spot and glued bolts (with nice big flat washers) in to mount the pump to the rubber block. The point is making sure there is no actual physical "bolt" connection between the pump and the bulkhead.

That will stop noise transferring to the bulkhead and that constitutes 75% of what you hear.

A new pump will also help but mounted directly to the bulkhead even a new pump will still be noisy.
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Old 05-27-2009
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What I would do...

1) Buy a new pump with a pressure switch built in.
2) Install an accumilator tank.
3) Install a valve(s) so I could determine which tank was in use (this could be used to help balance the boat vs water forcing you to heel greater).
4) Keep old pump and use it as a washdown pump (probably its intended purpose).
5) If new faucets are needed, I'd buy them from the hardware store vs the same thing from a marine store at a much higher price.

I think you'll find the new pump already has "rubber feet" to help dampen vibration. However, any pump will still be loud when running. Relocating the pump would probably be best, or insulating around it might make it tolerable.

I'd guess the PO went cheap instead of doing things right!

Whatever you do, make sure the electrical power to the pump is OFF when you leave the boat. Several years ago when I was off fighting a war somewhere, I left my son to look after my boat. Although I left specific written instructions on how to take care of the boat, he didn't quite understand. I returned to find the 12v system switch ON, water pump switch ON, both battery banks drainded (and batteries shot), and battery charger fried. He thought the dehumidifier was running but it turned out to be the pressure water pump. After new batteries and charger, I tried the pump and was surprised it still worked! My best guess is it must have been running for a day or two straight, completely dry, before it took out the batteries and charger.

Hope the project goes well for you. You may want to consider installing some sort of hot water heater while you're tearing appart and fixing the fresh water system. It sounds like you've got a very good start in having dual tanks.

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"
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Old 05-27-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J36ZT View Post
1) You may want to consider installing some sort of hot water heater while you're tearing appart and fixing the fresh water system. It sounds like you've got a very good start in having dual tanks.
Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"
I'm not planning on adding anything to the boat that will only work while tethered to shore power, (I don't have a genset and my engine is raw water cooled). So since I'm going to be installing a propane locker/system (and a carbon monoxide detector), for a propane stove. I'm currently also researching the possibility of tying in a tankless propane water heater to handle my hot water needs.
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