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Old 16-05-2016, 14:15   #1
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Water Leak - Fresh Water System

Hello, I have a 2008 Crusiers 395 Motoryacht. We are experiencing “what we believe” to be a leak in the fresh water system. Our bilge fills up with water and while all our bilge pumps work there is always about 2-3 inches of water. In past seasons I have pumped down the bilge several times throughout the season with a shop vac but they fill back up again. Last week we pumped down bilges to dry conditions. We placed the boat in the water for and let soak for over 24 hours and no water penetration from the Hull. The boat also had no water in holding tanks and we did not connect dockside water so we could determine if it was from hull. We had a man in each compartment and didn’t notice any water penetrating the hull through fittings, shafts or bow thruster. We re-launched the boat this weekend and with the dockside water connected after about 24 hours we had about 1-2” of water in the forward and mid bilge. I noticed the faucet handle on the forward shower was dripping or wet to the touch. The concentration of water is in the forward bilge are. This leads be to believe that it could be leaking from behind the forward shower compartment. The only problem I don’t see any access panels. There is a scum line stain right underneath the shower compartment and this water flows through weep holes to the deep forward bilge. We checked connection at hot water tank and that appears to be ok. If anyone has any suggestions on locating a leak from fresh water system it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 16-05-2016, 23:17   #2
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

Am I missing something? Can we assume you are in fresh water and the usual taste test doesn't tell you whether the water originates inside the boat or outside? If the source of the leak is inside the boat, surely you would notice your freshwater tanks going down? Or has it been raining hard?
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Old 16-05-2016, 23:55   #3
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

If I understand your post, you have dock side water hose connected to your boat's water system when you find water leaks? If so, this is a potential boat sinker. If the leak gets worse, a hose ruptures or comes off a fitting you have an essentially infinite quantity of water flowing in to sink your boat. Any problem with your bilge pumps and you're on the bottom.

Also, some public water systems have higher pressures than the boat's plumbing can handle so this could be a cause of leaks.

Why not just fill your tanks and run off the boat's system? Try that and see if you still have a leak. You can also monitor how quickly the water leaves the tank as a further check on whether or not the leak is from your water system.
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Old 17-05-2016, 05:06   #4
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

Quote:
Originally Posted by osprey877 View Post
Am I missing something? Can we assume you are in fresh water and the usual taste test doesn't tell you whether the water originates inside the boat or outside?
That's the most crazy useless "test" ever!

To the OP, if you think it is the fresh water you can tell by disconnecting shore water and taking note of whether your potable water pump runs a lot. Or pressurize your system before gong to sleep and then turning the water pump off and then seeing if there is still system pressure in the morning.
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Old 17-05-2016, 05:40   #5
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

If you can pin it down to plumbing -- it's freshwater and not leaking thru-hulls, rub rails, portlights, shaft seals, etc. -- you're halfway there.


If water is leaking from the (probably relatively short section of) plumbing fed by the shoreside inlet... you should only see that when attached to shoreside water.


If you're finding water when NOT connected to shoreside water, that could narrow down the search. You can try something like food coloring in the water tanks to verify... And as SB mentioned, you would likely hear your water pump pressurizing from time to time, when the breaker is on but the faucets/shower/etc. are not in use.


Sometimes you can pinpoint water leak sources by using flour or chalk or powdered laundry detergent spread around in various likely areas... so then you can find the water trails through that stuff, backtrack toward the source.


Another thought you might check, if you've been running your AC systems (although perhaps that unlikely this time of year): AC condensate can either overflow the drain pan or the drain line (if that leads to something like a shower sump or an overboard discharge outlet) could be plugged...


And that in turn suggests a check of your shower sump, if you've used the shower. The box could be overflowing due to clog or bad bilge pump...


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Old 17-05-2016, 07:48   #6
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

Thank you for all the feedback. The boat is located on the great lakes. We are pretty convinced that its coming from the fresh water system. We pumped down all the bilges at the end of the season last year. The boat was stored inside over the winter so it couldn't be residual rain water. We dropped the boat in the water last weekend and it sat at the dock with NO water in the fresh water holding tank and disconnected from shore water. The boat was in the water for a little over 24 hours and the bilge was dry. When we relaunched the boat this weekend we did NOT fill the fresh water holding tank but were connected to dockside water. We needed to flush out the system and remove anti-freeze from winter storage.

To answer your question we rarely use the fresh water holding tank. We usually only fill this tank to use head and wash hands etc. when we are cruising. We spend a lot of time at the dock typically 3-4 days per week so its easier to just have a direct connect to shore water. When we are not on the boat the shore water is turned off. I will try the suggestion of turning off shore water and filling fresh water tank this weekend to see if we experience the same amount of water in bilge. I also don't open the valve for dockside fresh water to the full position to keep pressure down.

I will also check our A/C unit overflow. Its cold so we are using the reverse cycle heat. I am pretty sure this discharges to the shower sump and then overboard.

I also plan on replacing "O" ring on forward shower handle as this has a slow drip. I am still convinced that the leak is somewhere in the forward shower area because of the amount of water in this area and the dirty scum line where water sits in the bilge right underneath shower. The problem is I can not see any drips or splashes of water because access is limited.

Lastly, one thing I noticed from last season is when we were using the fresh water holding tank the water pump breaker would trip if only one faucet was being used and would also trip when there was no demand for water. Could this indicate that there is a leak somewhere in the plumbing system?
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Old 17-05-2016, 08:03   #7
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

empty your tanks and remove em and look for the leak in you r tanks. do htis after you tighten all hose clamps to see if that is issue.
. is easy to follow the lines and find the leaks. mine are from weld fail. my welds are 40 yrs old. duh they leak.
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Old 17-05-2016, 08:11   #8
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

Hi Jzender,

Some comments and suggestions below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzender42480 View Post
Thank you for all the feedback. The boat is located on the great lakes. We are pretty convinced that its coming from the fresh water system. We pumped down all the bilges at the end of the season last year. The boat was stored inside over the winter so it couldn't be residual rain water. We dropped the boat in the water last weekend and it sat at the dock with NO water in the fresh water holding tank and disconnected from shore water. The boat was in the water for a little over 24 hours and the bilge was dry. When we relaunched the boat this weekend we did NOT fill the fresh water holding tank but were connected to dockside water. We needed to flush out the system and remove anti-freeze from winter storage.

This is pointing towards the plumbing and fresh water.

To answer your question we rarely use the fresh water holding tank. We usually only fill this tank to use head and wash hands etc. when we are cruising. We spend a lot of time at the dock typically 3-4 days per week so its easier to just have a direct connect to shore water. When we are not on the boat the shore water is turned off.

Very good plan. Doesn't happen every day but it is not unheard of for boats to sink at the dock when a hose connected to shore water system leaks.

I will try the suggestion of turning off shore water and filling fresh water tank this weekend to see if we experience the same amount of water in bilge. I also don't open the valve for dockside fresh water to the full position to keep pressure down.

Actually, opening the valve partially doesn't reduce the pressure of the water, just reduces the rate of flow. It might take a little longer to get there but unless you are using a pressure regulator valve the full pressure will come through to your system.

I will also check our A/C unit overflow. Its cold so we are using the reverse cycle heat. I am pretty sure this discharges to the shower sump and then overboard.

I also plan on replacing "O" ring on forward shower handle as this has a slow drip. I am still convinced that the leak is somewhere in the forward shower area because of the amount of water in this area and the dirty scum line where water sits in the bilge right underneath shower. The problem is I can not see any drips or splashes of water because access is limited.

Lastly, one thing I noticed from last season is when we were using the fresh water holding tank the water pump breaker would trip if only one faucet was being used and would also trip when there was no demand for water. Could this indicate that there is a leak somewhere in the plumbing system?

If the breaker on the electrical panel is tripping then you have an electrical problem. Either the pump is drawing too much power or the wiring is loose or corroded which will also draw more power. The pump could draw too much power if the pump motor is bad, internal corrosion, bad brushes or similar or if the pumping section is not working freely. That could be a bad bearing, debris in the pump or other issues that cause a restriction.
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Old 17-05-2016, 09:29   #9
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

If you have a leak and your pump is not triggering, then the leak has to be in the tank or the hose from the tank to the pump. You should have a valve before your pump. When you pull you boat next time, put some water in the tank, mark a dipstick, close the valve and remeasure and/or check your bilge after several weeks. No water loss means no leak before the shutoff valve and your tank is fine.. Downstream losses are easy to diagnose but can be a pain to track. A leak will cause a loss of pressure so your pump will turn. on when all outlets are closed. You will probably hear that before you seem much water in the bilge. If inspecting all your connections one by one does not find your leaker you will need somebody to pressure test your system. So far I have been lucky and inspection worked each time.
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Old 17-05-2016, 09:35   #10
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

Are you sure you are your head uses your fresh water? Normal set up would use ocean or lake water not precious drinking water. You might want to check those intake lines along with your fresh water lines.
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Old 17-05-2016, 09:45   #11
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

What the advice here is saying is that you must use a systematic approach to detecting the leak, based on the systems you have on the boat.
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Old 17-05-2016, 09:50   #12
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

If that's a 39 ft boat... it's shaft drive not I/O drive? Are you sure it's not just drippage from the shaft/stuffing boxes?
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Old 17-05-2016, 10:00   #13
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

We have straight inboards with drip less stuffing boxes. I have checked the drives and no leaks here. The concentration of water in the forward bilge compartment. Thanks again for the comments and suggestions. Since we are only connected to dock side fresh water and by-passing fresh water holding tank and pump I am still fairly confident that its a leak some where in the plumbing system and more specifically in the forward head area. We did pull out cabinets in forward stateroom to get a better look at bow thruster and no leaks here.

It seems like once the forward bilge compartment fills with water it starts weeping back into the mid bilge area.

The forward bilge has a deep basin and the pump float switch is mounted higher than I would have liked so it does take in a lot of water before the pump automatically goes off.

Just going to have to keep searching for the leak.
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Old 17-05-2016, 10:35   #14
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

If the dock hose is connected between the freshwater pump and the taps/faucets could back pressure at the pump's pressure switch cause the pump motor to start in a stalled condition and trip the breaker?

I've sometimes pressurised systems with a manual air pump/pressure gauge (tyre pump) to find leaks. Drop in gauge pressure confirms a leak is present.

Dishwashing liquid+water+sugar makes a good bubble mix - brush it on or use a plant sprayer to find leaks in (air-pressurised) pipe runs & joints.

When you've checked everywhere else it has to be in the place you can't reach but at least you know you're not ripping out the furniture for nothing.
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Old 17-05-2016, 10:38   #15
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Re: Water Leak - Fresh Water System

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That's the most crazy useless "test" ever!

To the OP, if you think it is the fresh water you can tell by disconnecting shore water and taking note of whether your potable water pump runs a lot. Or pressurize your system before gong to sleep and then turning the water pump off and then seeing if there is still system pressure in the morning.
I can assure you that it is not useless, if you are in salt water, to determine whether the leaked water is salt or fresh.
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