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Old 28-03-2010, 14:54   #1
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Random Noise from Water Pump

About every 4 hours, our water pump runs for about 1 second. No water is in use. We can't find any signs of dripping to explain the pump being activated. Could it be due to the water heater? Is it normal or is there a small leak somewhere that we haven't found yet?
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Old 28-03-2010, 14:59   #2
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Or pressure is leaking back through the pump? However you just know it's going to fail on day one of a fortnights holiday just as you are making an offshore passage. Do you have a manual pump too, just incase?

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Old 28-03-2010, 15:11   #3
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thanks for the reply. How do I check if pressure is leaking back thru the pump? No manual pump on board ... maybe time to buy a back up.
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Old 28-03-2010, 15:14   #4
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I'll bet you do have a small leak, somewhere. I've had the same symptom and it drove me nuts, but I finally found the leak. It took a concerted effort, though. Wrap a bit of toilet paper or paper towel around every connection and it will eventually turn up. One second every 3 or 4 hours, though, is a small leak so it may take awhile. Don't forget the water heater, though!

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Old 28-03-2010, 15:25   #5
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we've suspected the water heater may be the culprit. How does one fix a leak there? Does the entire unit need to be removed?
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Old 28-03-2010, 15:34   #6
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First, have you confirmed that your water heater has a check valve in place? Since the water will expand (when heating) and contract, the check valve helps keep the water flowing where it should.

In terms of leaks, ours was rather obvious (and that wasn't what was causing the brief pumpings) in that water was seeping out from underneath it. Was only 5 years old, too, and supposedly high quality (an Isotemp), but the weld on it was bad.

Do you have valves on the lines such that you could isolate the water heater?

Unless you're getting moisture, I'd first eliminate the most likely sources, which are loose hose clamps. There's usually lots of them to check, but I'd just about bet you that would be where it is. Every 6 months or so, I just go around the boat and check all of mine for tightness. I'm always surprised at how many have loosened.

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Old 28-03-2010, 16:19   #7
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Thanks! you rock! we've done all the things you suggested (we do have a check valve on the water heater, but no moisture there, and we've checked all hose clamps and replaced any problem ones.). For now, we've got towels stuffed around the bottom of the water heater ... no obvious signs of moisture or rust though. If the water heater does have a small leak, is that repairable? And if the problem is pressure leaking back into the pump (Pete's suggestion), does that mean a new water pump?
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Old 28-03-2010, 16:29   #8
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We had the same problem. We have copper pipes for the water and it turned out we had a very small leak under the cabin sole. The pipe looked like it was blown open from the inside so it must have been water trapped and frozen during winter.

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Old 28-03-2010, 16:35   #9
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I have the same problem and suspect it is the check valves in the pump leaking back. Everything was fine when the boat was delivered and for the first tank of water. I think that some gunk at the bottom of the tank was picked up and trapped in the pump valves. Lately the problem has gotten better, the pump cycles after 7 or 8 hours.
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Old 28-03-2010, 16:35   #10
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RE: A water heater leak, whether repairable would probably depend on where it was and the design -- ours wasn't; the entire weld going the length of the tank was bad.

RE: The pump turning on -- believe me, I have been where you are. It irritated me enough to wake me in the middle of the night. It became a crusade! Damn it, I was going to find it! I ended up replacing the pump with our spare -- didn't make a difference. Though, if you have one, I'd do that anyway, could be?! If it isn't, then you've eliminated that as a source. Never hurts to have a spare pump on board, anyway.

Not to keep you in suspense -- I believe ours turned out to be a deformed washer in a shower hose where it joined up at the handle. I say "believe" because I did that and also changed out a faucet set in the galley at the same time, so I'm not sure which was the responsible part. But, after I did both of those, it stopped. For now. Might come back, any time.

Good luck!

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Old 29-03-2010, 18:05   #11
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i've been busy wrapping all suspect connections with paper towels .. the only thing i've noticed is that the paper towel on one side of the water heater gets damp (not soaking wet but damp to the the touch) after being there all day. Is is condensation? or a leak? The faucet in the head is also suspect, so heading there next ...
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Old 29-03-2010, 19:29   #12
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RE: Condensation, or leak? If it is a metal pipe or fitting and you've got a cold pipe in hot weather or a hot pipe in cold weather, then it could be condensation -- or a leak. See if you can tighten it up and find out. The faucet is also a possible source, from loose clamps, deformed washers, and worn faucets, themselves.

All if takes is a drip every 10 minutes to eventually make the pump engage.

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