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Old 15-01-2016, 02:21   #1
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Do things grow in the plumbing?

Hey guys,

Please excuse this newb question but it's got me worried.
Do barnacles / worms / algae etc grow on the inside of the raw water pipes?
If barnacles grow everywhere else on a boat, what's to stop them growing in the plumbing as long as they have a supply of fresh sea water?

Thanks in advance

Dave
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Old 15-01-2016, 02:33   #2
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

They do grow in the inlet through-hull and can practically block it.
I put some bleach down the tube and a few hours later put a hose into the tube and voila: it was cleared.
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Old 15-01-2016, 02:40   #3
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

The reason I'm asking is, I'm designing my boat and I don't like the idea of having a large number of below water line through hulls.
I basically want one in and one out.
Which means having more pipe work / longer pipe runs. Then I thought, jeez, what if the pipe fills up with barnacles and the like....
Minor panic

If they only grow at the entrance / exit, easy enough to clean them out, but a pipe full of them is a disaster.
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Old 15-01-2016, 03:54   #4
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Unless you have a continuous flow of water through the pipes, they usually only grow at the entrance. Further into the plumbing the oxygen is soon depleted and then nothing grows.
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Old 15-01-2016, 04:00   #5
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

So does that mean, the raw water side of an engine heat exchanger that runs many hours a day is likely to block up with living things?
What happens on vessels where the systems run for weeks or months at a time? How do they stop the buggers growing all through the pipe work and killing the whole system?
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Old 15-01-2016, 05:37   #6
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

your sea strainer, which is a filter that is placed at the engine thru hull inside the boat, keeps the living things from getting into the engine. you may wish to look into this. they do help.
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Old 15-01-2016, 05:48   #7
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Life needs light.

So the pipes remain clear. As others have said, growth occurs at the thru hull.

Having a sea chest instead of individual thru hulls is a concept usually on quite big boats. No doubt you've had advice from boat builders.
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Old 15-01-2016, 06:18   #8
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

If you guys say so, but my strainers seem to fill up with what appear to be small barnacles over time and I have to clean these things off the baskets, they are growing on the basket.
I'd assume the heat exchanger gets hot enough to kill anything that might try to live there

But something does in fact grow in my lines to the air conditioner condenser as I have to flush it out with muratic acid periodically, whatever it is, it's very green in color making me think it's algae, but there is no light in those lines.
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Old 15-01-2016, 08:51   #9
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Algae needs light, but not all life does...molds and fungi do not...nor, I think, would bivalves, which live inside closed shells. Salt and sea water mineral buildup is an even bigger issue.
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Old 15-01-2016, 09:37   #10
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Life prevails - consider the barnacles growing around deep water vents. I once had to clear sea growth from the raw water copper lines inside the transmission and engine block heat exchangers.
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Old 15-01-2016, 09:41   #11
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Copper piping acts as an antifouling agent. We got rid of all our intakes and converted to a water box like the olden days with the various pipes going from the box to their various assignments. Easy to inspect, easy to repair, and unless you sail upside down, basically foolproof.
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Old 15-01-2016, 10:07   #12
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
Copper piping acts as an antifouling agent. We got rid of all our intakes and converted to a water box like the olden days with the various pipes going from the box to their various assignments. Easy to inspect, easy to repair, and unless you sail upside down, basically foolproof.
can you post a picture of this. I'd be curious to see it
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Old 15-01-2016, 11:14   #13
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
can you post a picture of this. I'd be curious to see it
Will look for some pics. We sold the boat about 10 years ago as old age caught up with us.
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Old 15-01-2016, 11:43   #14
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

The thingy is, I think, called "sea chest" and I am very much liking the idea. You can google for pics to have ideas about how people build them.
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Old 15-01-2016, 12:24   #15
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Re: Do things grow in the plumbing?

Yes, sea chest, water box, well, whatever you call it do not call it a water closet. In some of the olden sailing ships, it also performed the duty as a fish box and a way of keeping perishable foods cold; but doubt if anyone today is going to sea in a frigate.
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