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Hi there! this is my first post on Sailnet, I recently (december 2013) acquired a 1971 Ericson 39, and have been working on it since then.

This thread regards the usage of the water heads and the water system on boats. I found the system on my boat to be far from fool-proof and wondered if anyone has a better suggestion or gear that can help.

Turns our I have two heads (kitchen and bathroom) and one shower head on deck. Normal operation with friends and family who are not extremely conscious of the system will leave the water pressure switch on the control panel ON, so now its the pressure switch turn to shut the pump off right? Well many scenarios have happened in which I get undesired results:

1.- shower head hose got loose, pump kept on going until all the fresh water was pumped into the closet where the hose leak was, everything stored in the closet was soaked, 500L of water were wasted into the bilge, batteries depleted, etc.

2.- control panel switch is OFF, but a bit of pressure remained on the system, someone used the bathroom head, used the little pressure on it and left the valve open. Then someone uses the kitchen head, there is no pressure, then turns the switch ON and uses the water, shuts the handle but forgets to turn the switch to OFF, bathroom's handle is open, so 500L of water get flushed into the sea, batteries, depleted, etc.

3.- you get the picture

and some other scenarios in which fresh water is wasted, along with battery energy, maybe you can think of more... (please share).

Anyways, has someone developed some solution for this problems? is there any new technology I might not be aware of that can help me solve this issue? thanks a lot!
 

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Juan, when you say you have two heads I think you mean two faucets. The word "Head" on a boat usually refers to the bathroom or toilet.

As to your problem, the water system should be strong enough that you can leave the pressure pump breaker on all the time you're aboard. I think you just need to go through your water system, look for weakness, and fix it. You may want to re-plumb the whole system. Take a look at the newer systems that use semi-rigid tubing, PEX. It's very easy to install and very strong.

Whale and Sea Tech make push on fittings for PEX that are really easy to apply.

Scenario 2 won't happen if the pump is on all the time someone is aboard.

I do turn off the breaker when I leave the boat and open a faucet until the pressure drops when I leave the boat.
 

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Those are situations where it is real nice to have multiple smaller water tanks.
Actually I am very fond of multiple smaller tanks for cases where you are taking on water of unknown quality or if you have a leak in the tank or what-not. Water is too important to not have a spare supply in case of a problem. Even if you are just a day sailor, it can ruin an otherwise nice day.
BTW, my water pump is powered up all the time.
 

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I've never been aboard a boat where one couldn't hear the fresh water pump running from anywhere aboard, while at anchor or the slip. It should be very easy to hear that it is continuously pumping. In fact, I determined I had a small dripping leak, because the pump would cycle on for just a second or two every 30 minutes to rebuild system pressure, even though no one used a faucet. If someone left a faucet open, I would recognize it in seconds.

When underway, we always shut the freshwater pump off, as we would not hear it running over the wind and water noise above. If we need it underway, we just turn it on, use the water and turn it off. We also shut it off when going ashore, especially when cruising and getting more water may be troublesome.
 

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p.s. There are alarms that can sound when a pump runs for more than a certain period of time. I've only seen them installed on bilge pumps and, frankly, have found them to sound false alarms more often. Something to consider anyway, if you are somehow unable to hear the fresh water pump running continuously.
 

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a. Fix the leaks. You wouldn't tolerate them at home. You wouldn't feel the need to depressurize the system at home.

b. Turn off faucets. Learned that as a kid.

c. Remind all guests that when he water is gone, it is gone, and that the captain is OK going without showers!

d. Always keep a stash of bottled water. Even the best system can break a pipe or get depleted. It should be enough for drinking only to get to the next water hole with no tank water.

----

My boat had a few small leaks when I got it and I played with alternate solutions, such as you described, with similar consequences. I fixed the leaks--not hard--and everything is good now.
 

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Welcome to sailnet!

I always keep a close eye on guests and check the head after it is used. I never leave the main switch on when not on the boat. But you need to have a tight system just in case you forget to turn the switch off. There are many things you can do, but KISS is the best. If you want to get complicated...

You could put a water alarm in the closet that gets flooded. Or in the bilge at a point high enough to only let you know when there is an issue. There are many to choose from, here is one...Shop Basement Watchdog Plastic Alarm at Lowes.com

Or you could put a water sensor in the same places with a relay shut-off to the pump. And or email you of a problem. HWg-WLD Relay detects a water leak anywhere along the length of the connected sensing cable (up to 85m ? 280ft). Water leak or cable disconnection is indicated by activating a relay (NO/NC). The sensor can be connected to a Poseidon unit over the 1-W
 

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This is one reason that--unlike most people, it seems--I am perfectly happy to have a water pump that is rather noisy. When it is running, I want to be able to hear it from anywhere on the boat.
 

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Agree with the comments above... fix the leaks, not difficult. Educate your guests when they arrive. Shut off switch when out of earshot..

On the power saving side you can add a pressure accumulator so the pump doesn't cycle every time someone opens a tap. Bladder types work best.
 

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PDQ & Delta have it covered. Once the system is mechanically solid then it boils down to operator training and supervision. In time you will develop a keen sense of everything going on on your boat to include knowing who you have to double check.
Hope you enjoy your time on sailnet. It has been a wonderful resource for me.
Oh, how about some pictures? We all love pictures.
John
 

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I'm going to start by saying you should fix the leaks.

Even though I know how important it is to turn off the water pump circuit I often forget to when leaving the boat. I'll turn everything else off, wash my hands (or do some other minor cleanup) and forget this one.

As a result I'm adding a simple delay timer in the circuit. Press the button to get 10 minutes of water pressure. If we forget to turn it off and leave the boat it's not a big deal.
 

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My boat came with one tank with pressure water that goes direct to the galley...the other tanks are standard manual...

Im a huge fan of foot pumps for obvious reasons...both salt and fresh...makes washing dishes a breeze plus its more economical and youll save water...

but a good pressurized system shouldnt leak or be complicated...
 

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Thanks a lot guys, I appreciate all of your comments! This forum is amazing!

so this is what I ended up doing... I hope most of you don't think my solution is "overkill", it cost under $50. The thing is, the boat is kept in a partnership and not all partners are as conscious as one would think, so I needed a solution that was completely foolproof...

The one I liked the most was the one involving footpumps!

Yet I went another way, with an Electronics background I developed a Remote Controlled timer, so simply enough, the main breaker can stay on, and when one needs water on a "faucet" (thanks for the correction) a button is pressed on a tiny remote control that is fixed close to the faucet. The remote controls are cheap, and splashproof.

When a button from any of the remotes (currently 2) is pressed, the pump will go for 30 secs, and the safety pressure switch is still engaged in case there was already a lot of pressure when an extra press was made... also, when turning on the breaker switch the pump will also go on for 30 secs.

*The time is adjustable, 30 secs seems to do the trick.

I think this solves most of the worst case scenarios as the pump will only go on for 30 secs per press. Would be a bit like having many 1L water deposits and using them one at a time (thanks for the many containers idea).

Take a look at the attached image and let me know if you can identify the water button for that faucet.

Thanks again!
 

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