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Old 01-12-2017, 10:07   #16
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

I have given this some thought and research as well, having learned a valuable lessen from hurricane Katrina. With a lot of water ingress during the storm the bilge pumps became clogged quickly.

On my current boat now undergoing a refit I decided to make a system that was easy to maintain. I have a very deep bilge.


The small pump is considered the drying pump and the 2000gph is the backup and is wired to a Water Witch alarm.

I also have a manual pump mounted in the cockpit.

Pics of my solution: (still have to install the quick release mounts)
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:43   #17
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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Originally Posted by Hunky Dory View Post
Interesting! A thought on pump location. Have you thought about placing your pumps mounted on a stainless steel removable loose plate placed in the bilge as low as possible and accessible for maintenance and service . By having a long enough cord and hose you can bring the pump up above the floor to work on it rather than standing on your head. I have this method of mounting so I can move the pumps and clean under also. The pumps are then connected to float switches mounted remote at whatever height you want. By placing pumps down low you will not have short cycling as the water level drops quickly with the top pump installed your way.
Yes! Actually my current pump is available by means of a lanyard zip-tied to the electrical lines. So something similar can be done for the second pump, as long as all lanyards, cables, etc can be secured firmly in place to the sides of the bilge as the existing one is. This is important because of the proximity of the drive shaft and prop shaft. If cables or etc ever got wrapped around either with engine running, I'd have a bad day.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:29   #18
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

My bilge pump upgrade after a toilet starting flooding 50 miles off shore on a particularly dark rough night left me a lttle concerned. Wired an alarm at the switch board to the live on the lower bilge pump, it's about 1000gph on a float switch, also have a second 2000gph above that and a diaphragm sump pump to keep bilge dry.
T'd into engine pick up between seastrainer and seacock put a valve on that and hosed to bilge. Shut hull intake open bilge hose valve to use.
With engine running at 2000rpm and the rest of the pumps on, it can cope with 1 1/2" hull inlet open, I flush the bilge and test every now and again. The alarm on the lowest pump float switch alerts me that I've got the start of an issue and hopefully gives me time to track it down before the water rises above the leak and makes almost impossible to find it.
Only issue, keel stepped mast leaks a bit in heavy rain, setting off alarm.
Well that's what I did.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:30   #19
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

On our Cal 46, I have 2 big Rules, but unlike several who installed the pumps or float switches at different levels... mine are at only very small different heights (abt 1/2Ē). As an engineer and long term sailor you learn pretty quick that things not used/ run regularity usually wonít run when you then need them... Ďuse it or lose it!í With the pumps/ sensors so close in height... the higher one will occasional trigger when water is in the bilge and either a big wake/ head-on sea. This is a good thing. I have both bilge control panels mounted where I can see their red Ďruní lights come on sitting in the saloon/ dinette. Itís also easy to test each with them in such an accessible. Second reason for having both at near bottom of bilge is, IF you really have a problem and you wake up with water over the floor boards... itís a lot harder finding the source, especially during night and/or rough seas... not to mention the added psychological impact to crew seeing all the water rolling around. But having two pumps at near same level you see enough of the second one to know itís working and if you see it too often/ too long... you know you are having more water to pumpout than usual and is a good alert to start looking!
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:54   #20
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

Just to add my experience of float switches..... do some research, and then buy the expensive mercury switch. The cheap ones (often containing a ball bearing) are junk, they WILL fail in the harsh bilge environment.

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Old 01-12-2017, 11:55   #21
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

Why does everyone keep putting these stupid submersible pumps in the bottom of the bilge to do the maintenance work?

Use the big rule 4000 mounted high as a crash pump, and install low a suction hose led to a diaphragm pump that is high and dry for day to day water removal. This keeps the 2nd most failure prone component out of the bilge water, leaving only the float switch down low.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:27   #22
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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Why does everyone keep putting these stupid submersible pumps in the bottom of the bilge to do the maintenance work?

Use the big rule 4000 mounted high as a crash pump, and install low a suction hose led to a diaphragm pump that is high and dry for day to day water removal. This keeps the 2nd most failure prone component out of the bilge water, leaving only the float switch down low.
So we have two views, both with merit. Once says mount secondary pump (4000) and switch down low so it operates often enough that seals don't dry out etc, and you know it works. Other viewpoint is mount it high, because then head is less of an issue (shorter vertical lift), and it's less likely to get clogged.

A compromise might be mount the 4000 high and fill the bilge with water periodically to exercise the 4000. Something to think about.

Also, I think I'll ditch the crash pump idea and save $460 for now. If I start planning a trans-Atlantic voyage I may reconsider. I will have the shrink-wrapped Honda aboard, though, because, what the heck, I already own it, and I have room to stow it.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:57   #23
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

One additional idea to consider. I installed a 3-way valve in my main engine raw water pump suction, along with a strainer foot on the bilge side suction. In the event I have a continuous leak, I can shift engine suction to the bilge and use my engine to keep the bilge level down. It is not as high a capacity as the Rule 2000 or 4000, but it doesn't need 12VDC. You can imagine a scenario where the you've got the engine running and the flooding shorts out your 12VDC system. The logic is to have several different options which have mutually exclusive failure modes.
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Old 01-12-2017, 13:23   #24
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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Originally Posted by AJ_n_Audrey View Post
So we have two views, both with merit. Once says mount secondary pump (4000) and switch down low so it operates often enough that seals don't dry out etc, and you know it works. Other viewpoint is mount it high, because then head is less of an issue (shorter vertical lift), and it's less likely to get clogged.

A compromise might be mount the 4000 high and fill the bilge with water periodically to exercise the 4000. Something to think about.

Also, I think I'll ditch the crash pump idea and save $460 for now. If I start planning a trans-Atlantic voyage I may reconsider. I will have the shrink-wrapped Honda aboard, though, because, what the heck, I already own it, and I have room to stow it.
Lift would be measured from the water level, not the pump level. So mounting the pump down low really doesn't increase lift, but starts pumping sooner. In an emergency, I want the pump to start pumping ASAP, not when the water gets to a critical level. If the bilge fills in half an hour with a pump at the bottom pumping, that is half an hour extra you have to find and slow or stop water ingress.

Don't forget about manual pumps. I have two, one above and one below decks. Since there is no float switch, they can pump the bilge to a lower level, almost completely dry. They also work if your electical gets damaged by water. These need exercise too, so I use them to keep the bilge empty/dry. I also periodically take a shop vac to my bilge, so small debris doesn't jam a pump.
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Old 01-12-2017, 13:32   #25
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

My small pump,a jabsco self priming diaphragm,operated by a water witch switch,exits in the cockpit by my feet near the cockpit drain.This alerts me if there is a problem while sailing.
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Old 01-12-2017, 14:34   #26
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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One additional idea to consider. I installed a 3-way valve in my main engine raw water pump suction, along with a strainer foot on the bilge side suction. In the event I have a continuous leak, I can shift engine suction to the bilge and use my engine to keep the bilge level down. It is not as high a capacity as the Rule 2000 or 4000, but it doesn't need 12VDC. You can imagine a scenario where the you've got the engine running and the flooding shorts out your 12VDC system. The logic is to have several different options which have mutually exclusive failure modes.
Your engine raw water intake pump is not a lift pump it is not designed to pull water from a deep sump. It is also not very high volume.

If your strainer gets clogged the impeller may fail - that is if the pump even pulls the water that high. Then you have an overheating engine and high water to deal with.
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Old 01-12-2017, 14:58   #27
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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Your engine raw water intake pump is not a lift pump it is not designed to pull water from a deep sump. It is also not very high volume.

If your strainer gets clogged the impeller may fail - that is if the pump even pulls the water that high. Then you have an overheating engine and high water to deal with.
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Old 01-12-2017, 15:02   #28
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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Originally Posted by wholybee View Post
Snip



Don't forget about manual pumps. I have two, one above and one below decks. Since there is no float switch, they can pump the bilge to a lower level, almost completely dry. They also work if your electical gets damaged by water. These need exercise too, so I use them to keep the bilge empty/dry. I also periodically take a shop vac to my bilge, so small debris doesn't jam a pump.


What he said. If you need a pump then you need it now not after you unwrap the generator, etc. more electrical pumps are simply more of the same not a backup.
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Old 01-12-2017, 15:03   #29
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

i have tested my rule 2000 pump, filled engine room with water and then opened tube that connects to bilge.

Reasonable flow of water that pump should handle with ease


Well, pump FAILED to pump after initial 10 seconds. After investigation figured out that design of the pump is an issue. As pump managed to suck out nearly all water pressure that pump created by sucking and max height of outbound hose balanced, therefore no new water was sucked after water continued pouring into bilge and water was rising and rising in bilge forcing me to close connection.

So bilge pump, at least RULE 2000, is NOT safety device.

However my boat has 6 independent compartments that will minimize damage in case of thruhull failure or contact with reef, etc, when one of 6 compartments is compromised. If 2 out of y should still float somewhat. That is good enough for me.

That IS safety 'device'
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Old 01-12-2017, 15:08   #30
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Re: Bilge Pump System Ideas

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Your engine raw water intake pump is not a lift pump it is not designed to pull water from a deep sump. It is also not very high volume.

If your strainer gets clogged the impeller may fail - that is if the pump even pulls the water that high. Then you have an overheating engine and high water to deal with.
Also, even if it does work when the bilge is pumped dry THEN your impeller will be damaged any your engine will overheat.
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