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Old 15-07-2012, 18:49   #1
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Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

We would really like our boat to have simple systems - no pressure/ hot water specifically. We like the idea of simple, manual foot pumps in the galley and head. Of course we are seriously looking at a Pearson 28 that has only a pressure/ hot water system, no manual. We wouldn't think it should be difficult to change out the system but though it prudent to ask for the thoughts of those with more experience that us.

What say you?
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Old 15-07-2012, 19:01   #2
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Gee Connie made me change the other way !!! Even made me put in a head and get rid of My Bucket!! Why spend money to change it if it works ??? spend the money on electronics or something real nice and keep what most other women would want LOL
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Old 15-07-2012, 19:45   #3
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Beyond just liking simple, we'd like to not have a pump using battery for something we can so easily do manually. Well be relying on a small solar system mostly and dont want to have to run the engine to charge batteries if we can help it. it's all hypothetical now, use wondering if someone has done and it and if it was easy enough to do
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Old 15-07-2012, 20:20   #4
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Hi terminalcitygrl, I did exactly what you propose on our first boat, a 34' ketch. It was an easy and inexpensive job. I did it b/c, like you, we are predisposed to simple systems that are easily maintained. I was also inspired to do the switch right away b/c the pressure pump was leaking when we bought the boat. It would have been easy to swap out the pressure pump, but manual foot and hand pumps fit our needs better.

Our new (old) boat came with pressure water again. We have maintained the electrical pumps, but I am installing a parallel manual system for the same reasons. And no hot water on either boats. So far, we've never missed it.

I have much respect for the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" perspective ... I really do ... but in this case, manual pumps make much more sense for me and my wife.
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Old 16-07-2012, 11:49   #5
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

One additional advantage is that you use less water, which is a definite plus when you get to an area with $.50 gallon water.
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:00   #6
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Foot pumps work well and will conserve water. You could leave the hot side as-is in case you occassionally want it. Leave the breaker off until you want it. After a long day of motoring and in a hot anchorage... you might not want to boil water to do the dishes... I wouldnt go with hand pumps as it is very hard to use them and hold a pan etc while doing dishes. I have seen boats with both systems. Frankly I would try to conserve energy elsewhere... but it's definitely doable with just manual pumps.
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:25   #7
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Foot pumps are definitely easier to use. The fact that you can have both hands free is a big plus. However, hand pumps give you more refined control over flow and water usage than foot pumps, and sometimes it's simply a lot easier to install hand over foot. Both are much better than pressurized systems for conserving water.

Water conservation, cost, and simplicity, are for me the reasons to go with manual over electric water pumps. In reality, pressure water systems don't typically use a lot of amps.
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:01   #8
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

we have both. when the pressure pump went out we had to use the foot pump for a few days. i found i used less water that way, an important advantage. you CAN have both but if you just want manual you don't have to be a hydraulic engineer to make the change. on the other hand, the pressure pump is used so little i doubt you will make a dent in your electrical usage by removing it. probably better to spend the money on interior/exterior led lights to replace incandescant/flourescent lamps.

think anchor light. my old anchor light drew a couple of amps each hour all night. my new led anchor light from bebi electronics doesn't draw a couple of amps the entire night. and if you're anchored out you will probably have that light on all night every night.

my hot water heater went out two years ago and i never replaced it, just ran the engine hose around it. hot water is now heated on the stove or by the sun. free sun is easier to do in florida/bahamas then vancouver, sorry to say. we use a garden sprayer with a sink style spray hose fitted to it for a shower; there's one available on the internet already made up or you can make one yourself (i did both). see the spray shower here -

Pump-up Solar Shower

we also have a sun shower bag; they're cheap enough that it's a no brainer buy.

but i think you've got the right idea. most boats i've encountered are grossly overequipped - some yachties just have too much money - and the owners spend more time maintaining and fixing than cruising...
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:16   #9
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Don't worry about the electrical consuption of the automatic pump, you won't have enough water to have it on long enough for it to consume much, but foot pumps reduce water consumption and after a while are nicer to use. Both hands free, perfect. So foot pumps are much better, but I would install the foot pump and leave the electrical system intact. They will serve as a backup for each other. The average life of a pump ( electric or manual) is about 4 years full time use and they will fail at the worst time.
Fitting a foot pump is an easy job, but make sure you have room for one. I had a yacht once that not even one of the low profile foot pumps would fit.

Make sure you fit a salt water pump as well if the boat does not have one.
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:17   #10
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

I would not, and I've had both.

a. It doesn't actually use any electricity to speak of. The pressure tank holds and the pump only runs for as much water as you use. Really, it's complete trivia.

b. You can always bail water if the power dies. No biggy. Foot pumps break sometimes.

c. You can still be very water stingy. When washing dishes, fill a small bowls and work from those. Don't let it run.

d. In my case the water tank is high and it actually comes out slowly by gravity when the pump is off. VERY stingy.

e. I threw my shower bag away. Easier to take a sponge bath or jump in and then rinse with a small bowl.

f. We never use the hot water in the summer. A hot shower is nice in the winter, but I could live without. That is the thing I would remove first as it wastes the most water (warming the lines).
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:20   #11
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

I plumbed a foot pump into the pressure water system. No problems though I did put in a swing check valve so the pressure system wouldn't back flow through the foot pump. Don't know if it was necessary, just put the check valve in to be safe. I'm not a fan of hand pumps. Totally impractical underway as you need one hand to pump, one to hang on and the third, oh wait, don't have a third hand, to hold the container your filling. Foot pumps pump more water and do it in almost any condition.

Tied up at the harbor using the pressure water system, would go through a 40 gallon tank of water in a week or so. Sailing, using a saltwater foot pump as well as freshwater pump, we'd use less than 40 gallons in a month. Pressure water systems are real big water wasters. Wouldn't throw out a pressure system if one is installed. They are handy for pumping out the tanks if you want to empty them or large volume of water from the tanks if you need it.
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Old 16-07-2012, 16:31   #12
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

In our boat all water pumps (2!) are manual/foot. No issues.

In other boats that we sail everything is electric, no issues.

If you get a boat with electric pumps, stick with them (make sure there are more than 1!). If they give you headache, convert.

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Old 16-07-2012, 17:15   #13
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Foot pumps work great, no problems after many years, but they need strong mounts.

I have had problems with the fynspray hand piston pumps (easily fixed but irritating) and the hand rocker pumps (chuck out and buy a new one). Enough problems to make me think that an electric pump may be more reliable than hand pumps longterm.
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Old 16-07-2012, 17:27   #14
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

G'Day TCG,

Well, we have both systems. The water to both galley and head sinks is via foot pumps, but we have a pressure system for an onboard shower plus a spigot on the transom for after-swim washdown. It is all cold except that the shower runs through a propane fired on-demand water heater. It would be fairly simple for us to switch to pressure for all fittings, but we prefer is as is. We use less water, and actually find it more convenient with the foot pumps. YMMV.

Oh, the footpumps we have are the Whale models, and they are now 21 years old. The boat has been cruised full time for about 18 of those years. We carry rebuild kits, of course, but they are now so old that I wonder if their rubber bits are any good!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 16-07-2012, 18:10   #15
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Re: Changing out a pressure water system for manual pumps

Thanks all for sharing your thoughts, some really good info and advice here. I thought folks might think we were crazy for asking such a question but it seems some of you are just as crazy then

Cheers, TCG
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