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Old 02-11-2014, 18:45   #1
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Bilge Pump

Does anyone know of a good quality bildge pump for the bildge and shower boxes that won't quit. I've tried a couple of different kinds and ones with a separate float and ones without but all have problems within a few months with sticking and work off and on. Rule out Rule.
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Old 02-11-2014, 19:26   #2
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Re: bildge pump

Think Whale diaphragm pumps.
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Old 02-11-2014, 19:44   #3
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Re: bildge pump

I have had great luck with the Piranha pumps. Important not to leave any pump submerged for extended periods, like overnight.

If you have a hot shower, the heat expels the air from inside the pump body, then as it cools, it sucks water in past the seals.

If you evacuate the sump completely this is less likely to happen. The Pirnanha pumps are tolerant of hair and debris, and they prime easily.
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Old 02-11-2014, 20:24   #4
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Re: bildge pump

I now use a switch to operate the diaphragm pump. The floats never get the bilge empty and have turned on and off as the boat rocks under sail. At the inlet in the bilge, I have a simple jabsco mesh filter and this collects the hair, paper, foil fingernails etc,etc. I clean it out once a week. Immediately after this, I have a small non-return valve kludged from a 20 mm irrigation inline unit. This stops the water in the pipe from flowing back into the bilge. I run the unit until the pump runs out of water. So far 2 years without a hitch.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:14   #5
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Re: Bildge Pump

Your bilge pump installation sucks. NEVER install a check valve in a bilge pump line. Use a diaphragm pump to dry the bilge.

Rule and Jabsco produce reliable pumps. Get professional help with the installation this time.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:50   #6
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Re: Bildge Pump

Diaphragm pump, there is a reason big trash pumps are diaphragm pumps, they handle trash better, although mine is on a float, my screens are part of the shower drain
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:04   #7
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Re: Bildge Pump

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Your bilge pump installation sucks. NEVER install a check valve in a bilge pump line. Use a diaphragm pump to dry the bilge.

Rule and Jabsco produce reliable pumps. Get professional help with the installation this time.
Oh boy! It depends upon the installation. Some of us have very deep and narrow bilges where a check valve is a necessity.

If all you know are relative flat shallow bilge boats, then you are probably correct.

And as to Rule pumps, if you look around this forum you will find many folks who will not use a Rule pump. SOME models have an electronic current shut off which is terrible. Others just hate them for their unreliability.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:09   #8
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Re: Bildge Pump

I have a fairly deep bilge, probably about four feet, my diaphragm pump pulls water up this four feet or so vertical distance making it so the pump is mounted in an easily accessed spot, not down in the bilge.
Your manual bilge pump I bet is a diaphragm mounted way up there in the cockpit, yet it can self prime that distance, no need to have a pump sit in the water or be difficult to get to.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:11   #9
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Re: Bildge Pump

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...Some of us have very deep and narrow bilges where a check valve is a necessity...
No, it's not. NEVER install a check valve in a bilge pump line. Install the proper type pump, instead. Centrifugal pumps are not designed to dry the bilge.
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Old 03-11-2014, 13:28   #10
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Re: Bildge Pump

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
Your bilge pump installation sucks. NEVER install a check valve in a bilge pump line. Use a diaphragm pump to dry the bilge.

Rule and Jabsco produce reliable pumps. Get professional help with the installation this time.
I assume we're talking about a system dedicated to pumping out the shower water only; the main bilge pump handles the rest. I want the shower grey water out completely. Leave it in the self contained shower bilge and it starts making odours and slime. My shower bilge ends up almost perfectly dry. A teaspoon of chlorine helps. Boat hygiene is important; you're living in a confined space. The trouble with letting the solids go through the pump is that sometimes something will get stuck and damage the pump. I once found a small bolt in my filter; must have fallen out of my pocket.
Yes my system sucks- extremely well and I'm happy about that.
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Old 03-11-2014, 13:53   #11
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Re: Bildge Pump

A shower sump is not a bilge. Though it can serve as a backup if water rises to a level higher than the sump. In liveaboard use, the sump should be cleaned thoroughly and regularly, perhaps monthly is enough. The most hygienic of these has a sealed lid to contain odors. And so does not stink up the boat. But regular cleaning can prevent premature failure.
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Old 03-11-2014, 17:04   #12
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Re: Bildge Pump

Now I'm more confused, I won't use Rule, they are not reliable, so then what type should I use for shower boxes and what type should I use for regular bilge pumps. Are the diaphragm type good for both?
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Old 03-11-2014, 17:11   #13
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Re: Bildge Pump

Every water pump I have except for the airconditioner pump and bilge are diaphram, I assume a diaphragm pump just doesn't move enough water to be a bilge pump, a large one could of course but it would be a big expensive pump I would think.
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Old 03-11-2014, 18:04   #14
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Re: Bildge Pump

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Originally Posted by edbulmer View Post
Now I'm more confused, I won't use Rule, they are not reliable, so then what type should I use for shower boxes and what type should I use for regular bilge pumps. Are the diaphragm type good for both?
Here is my take, two different problems.

For the bilge there are two purposes. One is to take out small amounts of incidental water and also to take out more water in case of a larger leak. They are typically centrifugal or rotary pumps.

Rotary pumps have higher rated output moving more water. They don't like to run dry and are susceptible to fouling. Diagram pumps have low capacity but will tolerate more junk in the water and will run dry.

Some folks have two bilge pumps, a diagram with a check valve on the inlet to get small amounts of water out and leave a dry bilge. Higher up they will have a bigger rotary pump in case the small pump is over come by flow.

Check valves are frowned on because they can get junk in them and fail open or even be blocked.

The sump pump is different. You expect hair and such and have small volumes and want to suck dry. Diaphragm pumps are pretty routine for that usage.

I like Johnson for rotary and Whale for Diaphragm pumps.

Your solution depends upon many factors including the geometry of your bilge.
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Old 03-11-2014, 18:11   #15
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Re: Bildge Pump

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
No, it's not. NEVER install a check valve in a bilge pump line. Install the proper type pump, instead. Centrifugal pumps are not designed to dry the bilge.
While I agree that you are correct for most circumstances you don't know my boat or my issues.

While I'm not 100% sure I've been told that the ABYC recognizes that in some circumstances its a necessity.

On the 44'er i'm pumping water 8'+ vertically, tell me how to do that, while not getting excess backflow, without a check valve.

On the 33'er my "bilge" is two feet down a 2" pipe. There is no pump that will fit there. So the only option I have is a diaghphram pump, with a chech valve. Actually I have both a Whale and a big manual stuck down there for redundancy.

I use the Whale's rated for fuel transfer using NITRIL daghphrams, that way I have one pump type for shower sump (44) bilge (33 only) and fuel transfer (both). I have four installed altogether and carry a spare pump and rebuild kits.

Both boats also have manual diaphragm dewatering pumps. The 44 has two bilges, each with rotary pump. Sump pump is valves to act as a secondary bilge pump, if needed.
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