Pressure Water Issues

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
I replaced a 2.8 gpm 45 psi ShurFlow Diaphragm with a SeaFlow 5.5 gpm 60 psi unit. The original pump was corroded and spraying water all over the engine compartment from the pump seal. I also replaced the manual foot pump in the galley with a new Whale Gusher unit (same as the unit it replaced). Now when I turn on the water in the head, the pump cycles correctly and provides adequate pressure. However, when I turn on the galley faucet, the water trickles out and the pulses. Water also comes out of the foot pump faucet each time the pump cycles off.

I read through Christian’s thread (https://ericsonyachts.org/ie/threads/accumulator-question.16709/) and thought it might be a block in the tank vent and a clogged mixing valve in the galley faucet. I’m thinking the blocked vent and mixing valve is creating a negative pressure large enough to pull the foot pump diaphragm and when the pump cycles off, the diaphragm returns to neutral which is forcing the water out. Before I head down to the boat again to check it out, I wanted to run it past the experts to see if there’s anything else I should look at that could be causing this. If it is an issue with the mixing valve in the faucet, does anyone know where to look for a replacement?

The foot pump is teed off the main line a few feet before the pump. I don’t have an accumulator tank installed yet. The outlet of the pump goes to a few fittings that distributes the pressure to the hot water tank and cold water lines to the galley and head.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Well, I join you in now having extreme pulsing at the galley faucet but not in the head. This is new for me and irritating. From the other thread:

I have a Jabsco Parmax4 36020. It's a constant-speed pump. "When a fixture is opened, the pump instantly begins operation to provide a smooth constant flow from tank to faucet. "

Yeah, but it doesn't. So I'm also plunging into this issue again. First check vent lines. Then, despite my own argument, l may just swap out the accumlator after all, just to eliminate that possible cause.
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
I'm confused (that's a common state of mind for me). I thought you said you had extreme pulsing at the galley faucet. Was that before you replaced the pump?
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
I wasn't able to make it down to the boat last night, but I was racking my brain trying to figure out what could be causing this problem. I started this project because the boat lists to starboard a few degrees and I was trying to figure out why. I assumed the water tank must be full, which it was, and if I drained it, the list would go away. When I turned the pump on and opened the faucet, the water flow was adequate at the galley with minimal pulsing, but the pump was leaking badly so I started replacing it.

Nothing went right with the project. The old pump's bolts were rusted, the bolt pattern wasn't the same, original wiring was too small, hoses were too short and in bad shape, I even found the plywood at the base of the trash bin to be rotten. This also led me down the path of pulling out old unused wiring which is an entire story on its own. In frustration, I took a break and looked at the tank configuration. That's when I realized the starboard 50 gallon tank was switched off and I had been draining the bow tank, so I switched them. I never tested the new pump in the same configuration as the old. This leads me to believe it is probably a vent issue on the starboard tank. I'm thinking I can open the deck fill when I get down to the boat to verify then try to figure out why the vent isn't working.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Trickdhat,
While your project sounds challenging due to rusted bolts, too small wiring, rotten plywood, etc., some projects are just like that, and most of us boat owners have faced similar situations. It requires careful planning, problem solving, step at a time work, but when it's done, you will know that you have made a major improvement to one system in your boat.
Good luck with it, and don't get discouraged--there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even if some tunnels are a bit long!
Frank
 

frick

Member III
FYI, I replaced by water pump with the exact same model, that I found on line in an RV shop in South Carolina for less that half of the price of the same pump from West Marine and Defender.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
My issue turned out not to be the water pulsing but interpersonal dynamics. I had watched my spouse washing her hands Saturday, and the pathetic surging of the miserable trickle from my formerly robust fresh water system. Made a note to fix that--again.

Today I turned the faucet all the way on, and the usual torrent came out with no pulsing at all.

She has trained herself not to waste water. But if you actually turn the thing on, it works fine.
 

eknebel

Member III
I observed that my water deck fill would start to burp/regurgitate near the end of the fill. A good warning indicator that I was ignorant of it's meaning of for a season or two. While installing a carbon filter for the holding tank vent, I noticed the clog occluding the water vent hardware. The clog was not causing noticeable flow issues. However, I observed that it was causing the water tank to accordion as it filled and emptied. I believe this flexing caused visible cracking on the bottom edge of the triangular starboard water tank. After adding a tank access port, I was able to use a airless plastic welder to repair the 2 small leaks that developed, and that repair has lasted for years of Chesapeake bay cruising. But, I have added verifying tank vents to my yearly maintenance chores(water was overflowing out the partially occluded vent before cleaning). If my cruises become more removed from shore support, I will replace the tank, but for now, I just make sure I have additional beverages aboard, even water! I have plenty of other yaks lined up, waiting to be shaved :egrin:
 
Last edited:

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
I got down to the boat yesterday to troubleshoot the system. To eliminate the vent as an issue, I opened both deck fills, turned on the galley sink and switched between the bow and starboard tanks. There was no change in the flow, pulsing of the pump, or water coming out of the foot pump faucet when the pump stops. I was able to get it to pulse rapidly if I shut off both tanks simulating a clogged vent. When I tested the head sink, the pump cycled on 1 to 2 second intervals. I finally got the pump to run continuously when I tested the shower.

On Seaflow's site, they say the series 55 pump is designed to be used without an accumulator tank and there's videos of the pump demoing it's flow on demand feature which is why I purchased it. However, the instructions say it IS designed to be used with and accumulator. It seems like they have released two versions of the pump and I happened to have purchased the non variable speed version. To compound the issue, my galley sink has a really low flow. It could be a bad mixing valve or clogged aerator. It's too corroded to take anything apart to test. replacing the faucet all together would probably be the best course of action.

Having an over sized pump seems to be the root of my issues. Normally a 5 gpm unit would be way overkill, but if had variable speed and could limit flow to accommodate a trickle and ramp up to provide adequate flow when everything is on (rare, but possible) it would be perfect. I'm going to email seaflow to see what there take on the situation is. I'm probably going to end up swapping it out for one of their series 42 pumps which is a 3gpm unit with variable flow. I can re purpose the larger series 55 for a wash down pump when I get around to rebuilding the anchor locker.

As for the foot pump issue, I'm thinking the electric pump is pulling enough to draw the diaphragm and when it shuts off the diaphragm goes back to neutral and releases a small amount of water from the faucet. This might indicate a kink or clog in the supply line. Something I'm not going to be able to fix until I pull the cabin sole up which won't be for a while. For now, I could put a check valve or shut off valve before the foot pump, or just leave it alone and accept that a little water is going to come out when the pressure pump is in use.
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
Eknebel,

The boat is new to me and I didn't operate the old pump in all the configurations. It leaked so bad I didn't want to leave it on to test. I do recall it cycling frequently when the galley sink was on, but not to the point of rapid pulsing.
 

eknebel

Member III
I like your good reasoning on this, and support putting this on the List for now. After all, while I agree with water rat that messing around with boats is a great use of time, I lean towards sea rat’s philosophy. More and more as I realize the immutable limit of my time to sail and mess around.
 

Rufus McCool

Junior Member
Trickdhat,

I'm trying to fully understand your symptoms and analysis and wondered if you could clarify...
When you run the head faucet, a good stream of water comes out with no pulsing, but when running the galley faucet, it trickles out in pulses? And now you've come to the conclusion that it's because the pump is too big, causing the pressure switch to open and close with very little water coming out, correct?

Before you change the pump, maybe try a few more things. I say that because having more than ample flow rate is nice. It's the less than ample that's a problem. What happens when you open every water source on the boat? Does the pump run and never shutoff? I'd say the answer is probably yes. Depending on where the pressure switch is set, this means you are not meeting that pressure. It doesn't sound like a vent problem.

Something you can try is to increase the setting on the pressure switch (as a temporary test. 60psi is pretty high). On my pump there is an allen head adjustment screw. The other thing to try is something you already mentioned and that's to clean the faucet aerator screen. It just unscrews and several parts fall in your hand. Run the pump without it in place and observe the outcome. That may fix it. I'm curious to what you find out.

RM
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
I'm thinking it's a combination of a blocked kitchen faucet and an oversize pump. The pump runs continuously if I have adequate flow which I can get by turning the shower or the kitchen sink and head sink. However, if I turn the kitchen faucet on by itself, I get pulsing and very low flow. I've never been able to get good flow out of the kitchen faucet.

With an over sized pump, it only takes a fraction of a second to go from the cut out pressure to cut in pressure. I can replicate this by turning the head faucet on a trickle. The pulse is a little longer than at the kitchen faucet, but I'm thinking this is because its further away from the pump and has more volume in the system to absorb the pressure difference (exactly what an accumulator is designed to do).

I went down the path of a blocked vent due to the foot pump faucet releasing water when the pump turns off, but I eliminated this as a problem by opening up the deck fills with no change to the pulsing or foot pump water.

At the very least, I don't have a leaking pump and I can get water at all of the fixtures, so I'm not in a hurry. I'm planning on replacing the kitchen faucet to get better flow and replacing the fixed speed 5 gpm pump with SeaFlow's variable speed 42 series 3gpm pump. The faucet is on its last leg anyway with everything corroded in place and the knobs falling apart. Normally, I would just deal with the pump until it fails or I can't stand the pulsing, but it would be a great fit for a wash down pump, so it won't go to waste.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Link to a very good discount on a replacement for the Skandvic faucet that matches the ones EY installed on our boat in 1988, both in the head and the galley. I replaced the galley faucet a few years ago. Good quality - way above the usual "hardware store" household versions, IMHO.
 

trickdhat

Member III
Blogs Author
Thanks for the faucet recommendation Loren. My faucet is a wide set 2 hole mount. I'm trying to find one that covers the wide holes or uses them. I was on the boat this weekend and tried to disassemble the faucet to see the hole configuration. I couldn't get anything to budge, so I sprayed the non water connection nuts with PB plaster and soaked the aerator in vinegar and baking soda using a cut up beer can secured to the faucet with zip ties. I left it overnight and tried again on Saturday. The bad news is I still couldn't get the nut at the back of the faucet off, but I was able to get the aerator off. After cleaning and reinstalling, the faucet had enough flow to stop the pump from pulsing.

I would still like to replace the faucet and find a pump that can handle lower flow, but the system is working if I don't expect too much from it. At least I now have time.
 
Top