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Old 20-10-2015, 07:34   #1
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Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Hello again fellow sailors,
After a recent trip out in rough conditions, the fact that the my bilge pump failed and left me trying to jury rig it while being pounded has left me wanting to install a second one for backup.
After searching on google it seems most threads are geared towards "I want the best setup known to man, best brand, something powerful enough to keep the boat floating with a hole in it, ect" or "Whats the best setup to keep my bilge bone dry"

I don't really fall into either of these camps. I just want something that works as a decent backup until I get back to the dock.
Again this is not a boat I plan to retire with or anything, so I am just looking for a basic system that works for weekend sailing, without spending an arm and a leg on it.

I just had a few questions before I throw this thing together since I essentially know nothing about bilge pumps:

1. My current bilge pump is an impeller style and seems to do an okay job.(it only failed due to a lousy wiring job by the previous owner). Should I go ahead and use this style for my backup, or consider something else?
Finally, what is a good brand? Will the regular rule brand ones like they sell at west marine be okay?

2. Should I use the same hose or not? I've seen people on different sides of the fence with this. Something about how one pump will just pump the water back through the pump lower in the line? Is there some kind of "Y" valve I could use?

3. When I disconnected my bilge pump while underway to work on it, water from the outboard running at full throttle built up near the thru hull in the transom and pushed water back into the bilge once the pump was disconnected. How can I prevent this from happening without relocating the thru-hull?

That's it for now, although I will probably have more questions based on the answers to these three.
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Old 20-10-2015, 08:17   #2
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Rule submersible pumps are very good. The issue is with the auto switch. You'll get a lot of opinions here on which is best. To get a good switch you'll probably spend more for the switch than the pump.

Do not use the same thru-hull for discharge. Not only will water come back through the other pump but if both pumps run at the same time you'll be restricting the discharge. Installing a new thru-hull isn't hard and it will avoid problems in the long run.

If you decide to install a 3/4" thru-hull you might as well get the largest pump you can with a 3/4" discharge. That would be about 800 GPH. An 1-1/8" discharge will handle pumps up to 2000 GPH.

Here is a really good place to buy bilge pumps.
Bilge Pumps
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Old 20-10-2015, 09:01   #3
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Vinny,

I believe the Newport has a shallow bilge? [My first boat from the last century was a Newport 27... fun boat.]

I have had very good results using the Whale SuperSub Pumps for keeping things dry- especially handy in shallow and low clearance locations.

They have an electronic sensor [that is easily tested by gripping it with your hand...] that doesn't cycle every few minutes like some 'automatic' pumps, and they lay very low and will remove water down to the last 1/2" or so.

I hope this is helpful.

Cheers!

-Bill
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Old 20-10-2015, 09:13   #4
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

If you have an outboard how did the water get into the boat in the first place?
If you have water coming into the boat with the hose disconnected quite likely that is how the water got in. You need to put a vented loop above the through hull. This may have caused the pump to cycle so many times it contributed to the pump failure.
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Old 20-10-2015, 09:15   #5
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

I was actually considering a manual switch with a buzzer so that if my primary pump fails, I am aware of it.

So it looks like using the same line is out for sure.
it's quit unfortunate because right after I purchased the boat there was a hole in the transom for the blower I no longer need(have an outboard now), which I plugged up with a capped thru hole. The unfortunate part is that I didn't know what I was doing and used 5200 to seal it with, so re-purposing that hole is out of the question.

I do still have an exhaust hole that isn't being used and is about 2" in diameter. Would it be feasible to use a 2" thru hull with adapter/s to scale it down to 3/4"? The reason being that the hoses have to fit through a small gap leading into the bilge and I think 3/4" is about the max diameter that will fit.

Do I need to install any valves in the line, or just hook the hoses up to the bilge pumps and call it a day? I don't like that water came out like a water hose as soon as I took the pump off the line. I suppose at the end of the day you have to rely on a valve of some kind, whether it's built into the pump of not.
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Old 20-10-2015, 09:40   #6
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
Vinny,

I believe the Newport has a shallow bilge? [My first boat from the last century was a Newport 27... fun boat.]

I have had very good results using the Whale SuperSub Pumps for keeping things dry- especially handy in shallow and low clearance locations.

They have an electronic sensor [that is easily tested by gripping it with your hand...] that doesn't cycle every few minutes like some 'automatic' pumps, and they lay very low and will remove water down to the last 1/2" or so.

I hope this is helpful.

Cheers!

-Bill
Bill- It's a very shallow bilge. Probably about 8-10" deep. That's part of the reason I wanted to install a second pump with a switch(although far from the primary reason)
With that being said that looks like a much better option as a secondary pump than the standard rule submersibles I've been considering.
I'm am still thinking an emergency buzzer with a manual switch, though. What would be some pro's and cons of that VS the electrical sensor you mentioned?


Quote:
Originally Posted by darylat8750 View Post
If you have an outboard how did the water get into the boat in the first place?
If you have water coming into the boat with the hose disconnected quite likely that is how the water got in. You need to put a vented loop above the through hull. This may have caused the pump to cycle so many times it contributed to the pump failure.
The pump failed because a loose butt splice connection ripped out because the pump and float switch were being slammed around in the rough conditions.
The water came into the boat because the boat was originally equipped with an inboard and as a result the thru hole is mounted very low. With the outboard on now, it buries the transom more while underway and when at full throttle it tends to wash water up even higher. Otherwise it stays above the waterline and is only an issue at near or full throttle. I will definitely put a loop in, that is a great idea.
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Old 20-10-2015, 09:56   #7
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Just as a general bilge pump, I've used a couple Rule 1500's with the built in switch and they were pretty good... as today's pumps go. Simple to install, and nothing for the switch to tangle in etc. Loop your hose above the waterline just before it exits the boat.
Yes, use your existing 2" hole and adapt it down.
The Rule 1500 takes little room with the built in switch and uses 1" or 1.12 hose. That's why I used it due to small space.


You can remove a fitting that was bedded with 5200. If metal, it may come right off with a little prying, often 5200 doesnt stick that well to metal.
or just heat the metal up a bit.
Or just work your way with a sharp knife from one edge cutting the 5200 as you go.
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Old 20-10-2015, 10:20   #8
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Why not install a manually operated Whale pump? If you run your batteries down you are still OK.
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Old 20-10-2015, 10:28   #9
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

You can add a float switch above the regular pump level (2"off the bottom of the bilge or so depending on the shape) rig that to a buzzer and LED somewhere you can notice it while sailing then add a manual backup pump. You can also wire the backup pump to the higher float (highwater alarm) so it could have automatic backup but would still provide the warning that there is an issue with the primary pump. The rule style pumps are the best value of price vs capability. I like diaphragm pumps as well on bigger boats as a primary nuisance water pump with large Rule pumps as backups but they don't make much financial or space sense on smaller boats. As others said use another thru hull and keep it above the heeled waterline if at all possible. If not you need a vented loop.
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Old 20-10-2015, 10:33   #10
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azul View Post
Why not install a manually operated Whale pump? If you run your batteries down you are still OK.
Not a bad idea...I guess I like the idea of an electrical pumps higher output and the fact that it's, well, electric. It's rating of roughly 132 gallons per hour isn't exactly impressive when you consider that if I take on any serious amount of water, with 2 electrical pumps I can be pumping out roughly 1600GPH.
Plus there would be the constant burden of having to think about checking the bilge and hand pumping the rest of the trip, where with the backup electric pump I can simply keep going along like nothing happened.
I do have a west marine style hand pump for if I ever lose battery power.
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Old 20-10-2015, 11:00   #11
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

I second the endorsement of Rule pumps. I have heard plenty of bad things said about them over the years but in my personal use they work fine and I have never had a Rule pump fail, though after years of use I had a Rule independent switch become intermittent in turning off, not on.I have changed pumps and switches out because it seemed it was simply time to so.I would say I change the electric pump at five years on average.

Wiring, excess lift and dirty bilges all contribute to early failure. Back-syphon will burn up a pump in short order. Make sure the pump will operate correctly when heeled.What was a neat and simple routing to the outside of the hull can become a plumbing nightmare at 30 degrees of heel in a rough sea.

I would not sail on a boat that relied solely on an electric pump to keep the boat from sinking. No electric pump can match the flow rate of a good diaphragm pump and what happens if you lose electric power in one of those Murphy’s Law scenarios?

When sailing it is a good idea to clear the bilges with the hand pump from time to time anyway. It lets you know how much water is in the bilges at the time and lets you know you have a working system if something happens.

A manual pump with a handle in the cockpit is the very best scenario for obvious reasons.
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Old 20-10-2015, 13:48   #12
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

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Originally Posted by um saudade View Post
No electric pump can match the flow rate of a good diaphragm pump
Really? because any of the pumps I looked at seemed to be the opposite. In fact I couldn't find any manual diaphragm pumps with a flow rate of over 400GPH at any price.
I was thinking of adding one anyways as a third pump for those "murphy's law" scenarios you describe, but really in that situation, I already have one of these:

Worked like a charm when I was down there trying to figure out why my electric pump had failed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Just as a general bilge pump, I've used a couple Rule 1500's with the built in switch and they were pretty good... as today's pumps go. Simple to install, and nothing for the switch to tangle in etc. Loop your hose above the waterline just before it exits the boat.
Yes, use your existing 2" hole and adapt it down.
The Rule 1500 takes little room with the built in switch and uses 1" or 1.12 hose. That's why I used it due to small space.

So far I think I like this idea the best as it seems very simple and easy to get all the parts from one source.
I even found a smaller version with nice low profile from rule that pumps 900GPH and has an automatic switch built in with adjustable water level settings for when it kicks on.
You always seem to have practical "keep it simple stupid" advice cheech, thanks for the response.
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Old 20-10-2015, 14:18   #13
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

I have two bilge pumps, twin rule 1,500's. One switch is mounted higher than the other so the second pump only comes on if the first pump is inop or the leak worse than one pump can handle, I have a radio shack buzzer inline with the power wire of the second pump so if it turns on, it will alert me to the the water level in my bilge being higher than it should be.
I guess now that Radio shack is no more you need to find another buzzer, even an automobile seatbelt buzzer will work well though, or if your really want to jump out of your skin, use a car horn


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Old 20-10-2015, 14:35   #14
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

You can try to repurpose the thruhull you sealed with 5200.
There is a product on the market that dissolves 5200, the name is Anti-Bond from JWB. Their email is debond2015 - at - aol.com.
There is an impressive list on the back of the package with everything it removes. 3M 5200 and 4200 are also mentioned.
Hope you can re-open that big hole
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Old 20-10-2015, 14:55   #15
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Re: Cheap/basic redundant bilge pump setup

having a solid reliable bilge pump and a back up is sound practice. but if I was the OP Iwould be much more concerned with preventing the water from getting in there in the first place. I have a 40yr old fg sailboat it has been on the water 24/7 for the 8mnths I have owned her. even with an inboard enginge and a few small deck leaks I have not pumped the bilge once! seriously, dealing with your leak should be a main priority.
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