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Old 04-08-2012, 23:23   #1
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Debris in bilge and shower pumps

Hi everybody!

WARNING:LONG POST - skip to the last paragraph for the important part

So I just bought my first real sailboat, a 1991 Beneteau Moorings 38, and I've been living on her full-time for a few months. Overall she's in good shape but there are a bunch of little things that looked good in the inspection but now that they've gone from being used maybe 1-2 days a month at most to 24/7, weak links are starting to pop up. This boat is way bigger than the boats that I've gotten my meager experience on, but I've got some good teachers helping me out and I'm learning fast.

Right now the things causing me the most headaches and worry are the bilge and shower discharge pumps. A few days ago, while working on my AC, the seacock got left open unknowingly. Long story short, I woke up at 5 am to find my floorboards floating around the cabin. This made the problems with my drainage pumps painfully apparent. I don't think the boat's had a thorough cleaning in at least a decade so all kinds of nasty junk had accumulated in the bilge and just clogged up the pipes. We got those cleared and straightened out some valve issues and that fixed the problem with the main bilge fantastically. The shower sump pump is a different issue.

Even before all that happened I was trying to come up with some ideas to make the shower drainage system a bit better at handling debris and stuff. I figure I'm gunna be using everyday and I've pulled up some interesting stuff when I've needed to clear a shower drain on shore, so this pump was probably going to have to deal with a lot of junk. I thought about just changing the filter out with one that's got a finer mesh, but now it looks like the pump needs to be replaced anyway, so I thought there might be a different type of pump that was actually designed specifically for that reason.

So basically that was all a really long way of asking, is there a pump I can get that would be especially good about pumping out small debris, hair, and other nasty stuff that might be present in a shower drain? Does anyone have any other suggestions for ways to tackle this problem?

Thanks for helping! Sorry for the long post, I just love talking about my boat!
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Old 04-08-2012, 23:31   #2
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

check out whale pumps...
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Old 05-08-2012, 00:08   #3
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

Specifically, The Whale Gulper 220. I have one in each shower and they have worked for more than 5 years with no faults or clogs.

Defender has them for about $170 See: Whale Gulper 220 Shower Drain / Waste Water Pump

Whale also has a version for black water use.
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Old 05-08-2012, 00:19   #4
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

I haven't tried it, but I know some people that swear by mascerator pumps for debris heavy water. The theory is they are better at dealing with junk, even if you really don't need the chopping. Personally we just changed out impeller style pumps regularly.
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Old 05-08-2012, 00:48   #5
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

If you take a mascerator pump apart you will find that they generally "smash" rather than chop. There is a variety of different ways they do it from high speed prongs to actual winged "blades." Problem is they get tangled with hair and thread type materials and stop working.

Diaphragm type pumps like the Whale Gulper suck and shove whatever comes up its intake hose out the discharge hose so handle shower discharge which almost always involves hair or thread like material much better.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:00   #6
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

About once per 2 months, this same thread comes along, and I keep replying to say FIT AND FORGET A WHALE 220. Job done.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:44   #7
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Toubab.

See also ➥ Shower Sump Installation

Shower Sump Brand and Design Recommendations

Shower sump pump
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:06   #8
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toubab View Post
Hi everybody!

WARNING:LONG POST - skip to the last paragraph for the important part

So I just bought my first real sailboat, a 1991 Beneteau Moorings 38, and I've been living on her full-time for a few months. Overall she's in good shape but there are a bunch of little things that looked good in the inspection but now that they've gone from being used maybe 1-2 days a month at most to 24/7, weak links are starting to pop up. This boat is way bigger than the boats that I've gotten my meager experience on, but I've got some good teachers helping me out and I'm learning fast.

Right now the things causing me the most headaches and worry are the bilge and shower discharge pumps. A few days ago, while working on my AC, the seacock got left open unknowingly. Long story short, I woke up at 5 am to find my floorboards floating around the cabin. This made the problems with my drainage pumps painfully apparent. I don't think the boat's had a thorough cleaning in at least a decade so all kinds of nasty junk had accumulated in the bilge and just clogged up the pipes. We got those cleared and straightened out some valve issues and that fixed the problem with the main bilge fantastically. The shower sump pump is a different issue.

Even before all that happened I was trying to come up with some ideas to make the shower drainage system a bit better at handling debris and stuff. I figure I'm gunna be using everyday and I've pulled up some interesting stuff when I've needed to clear a shower drain on shore, so this pump was probably going to have to deal with a lot of junk. I thought about just changing the filter out with one that's got a finer mesh, but now it looks like the pump needs to be replaced anyway, so I thought there might be a different type of pump that was actually designed specifically for that reason.

So basically that was all a really long way of asking, is there a pump I can get that would be especially good about pumping out small debris, hair, and other nasty stuff that might be present in a shower drain? Does anyone have any other suggestions for ways to tackle this problem?

Thanks for helping! Sorry for the long post, I just love talking about my boat!
Virtually all Beneteaus are fitted with diaphram pumps for the bilge sump and with an in-line debris filter somewhat before the pump. The diaphram pump is largely tolerant of small debris but the filter should be inspected and cleaned at regular intervals. To prevent debris even making it to the bilg, however, pick up some Scotch "Scrubbie" Pads, cut them into triangles, roll the triangles into cones and insert the cones into the drain-holes in the shower pan(s). These "filter traps" will allow water to flow through but trap debris and can simply discarded at regular intervals. A couple of cups of Simple Green or other citris based bilge cleaner and hot water, poured into the shower pan from time-to-time, will break-down the oils/soap-scum that will tend to collect in the drain lines and bilge sump obstructing things and, if left untreated, turn rancid.

FWIW...
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:08   #9
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

G'day Toubab, welcome and thanks for the thoughtprovoking thread. Hope you didn't get too much of a shock when you discovered the tide came in....right in to the saloon....
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:20   #10
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Toubab.

See also ➥ Shower Sump Installation

Shower Sump Brand and Design Recommendations

Shower sump pump
Man, I swear I did a search before posting! I've been stuck doing all this from my phone so I'm gunna use that as my excuse!

It seems like the Whale Gulper is pretty highly recommended. Does it really not require a filter? And it supposedly will require less maintenance than a diaphragm pump/strainer combo? I'm also not sure I understand how the install will work... getting rid of the sump all together would probably be a bit too much of a project for me right now.

Quote:
G'day Toubab, welcome and thanks for the thoughtprovoking thread. Hope you didn't get too much of a shock when you discovered the tide came in....right in to the saloon....
Oh you have no idea... or actually maybe you do
It had already been a long day so there was much yelling and swearing. My poor puppy was perched on the settee, not sure what to do but she knew something was wrong! At least she didn't think it was playtime (her default setting...)

Thanks so much for all the help! I've got some homework to do now.
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:28   #11
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+1 for the single diaphragm type pumps, I have the jabsco branded ones, installed without a filter and since fitting I haven't had a problem in 4+ years. I use them for the bilge and shower/sink sump.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:43   #12
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

We have the Jabsco Pump Guard filters inline with all the pumps: Jabsco Pumpgard In-line Strainer. Amazing the crud that is blocked, even in the fresh water circuit!
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:35   #13
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

Quote:
G'day Toubab, welcome and thanks for the thoughtprovoking thread. Hope you didn't get too much of a shock when you discovered the tide came in....right in to the saloon....
Quote:
Oh you have no idea... or actually maybe you do
It had already been a long day so there was much yelling and swearing. My poor puppy was perched on the settee, not sure what to do but she knew something was wrong! At least she didn't think it was playtime (her default setting...)
Quote:
Thanks so much for all the help! I've got some homework to do now.
Yes...two near-disasters, but neither of them were my boats. One off Moreton Island, an anchoring calamity I saw coming and didn't push hard enough to prevent........ and one in Germany's largest lake, an ex-French channel pilot cutter with a not-so-slow leak and a waterpistol for a pump. At least there're no sharks in Germany....

Glad to hear you caught it in time....wishing you happy sails and successful remodeling!
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Old 06-08-2012, 13:26   #14
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Re: Debris in bilge and shower pumps

A gulper with no screen is really the best answer for the shower. Cleaning the screen is a nasty task. Check that there are no 90 degree elbows in the hose. They can still cause a clog.

For the bilge pump a gulper is great or a cheap vane pump that you change every few few years.

But I'd first install a high capacity 2nd bilge bilge pump like a Rule 2000 2"-3" higher in the bilge. Hose should be at least 1.25" diameter. The idea is that this pump never runs (or even gets wet) unless something is seriously wrong. Hook a loud alarm buzzer to it.

Carl
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