Fresh Water Pump Problems

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AlanH
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Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by AlanH » Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:22 pm

We have a Whale UF1215 Fresh Water Pump. I should say we have had 4 of them now in under 4 years of ownership. We probably only average 4-8 weeks aboard each year. I will add we do not have a water filter onboard and are not sure if that is having any impact or not. I think we may be having a problem with the pressure switches because when problems start the pump takes a long time to shut off or I have to turn the main switch off and back on to shut it off. If we open a water faucet when it won't shut off we seem to have normal pressure.

So a few questions.

1) Is anyone else having similar problems with Whale pumps?

2) Is anyone else having similar problems with other brand pumps?

3) Has anyone had these problems in the past and found the magic fix?

Thanks,
Alan
AlanH
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2006 34' Hull #81
75hp engines

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AMCarter3
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Re: Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by AMCarter3 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:43 am

Alan, I have the same pump and do not have issues like you report. We have replaced it once in 4 years... and, as a charter boat, our boat is used about 18-20 weeks per year. We have a Jabsco Accumulator tank (Model 30573-0000) mounted just after the pump to help maintain water pressure throughout the boat. We also have a water filter in the system (before the water gets to the pump).

As far as I know, there is NO reason for the pump to cycle on its own unless there is a drop in water pressure. The only time our water pressure drops for no good reason is when we have a water leak somewhere in the system. I've seen and had to fix leaks at the hot water tank, at the solenoid valve to the toilet, and at hose connections under the floorboard where our pump is mounted.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
Home Port: Bellingham WA 98229
Member of San Juan Sailing & Yachting Charter Fleet: http://sanjuansailing.com/charter-detai ... .php?id=35

deising
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Re: Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by deising » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:41 am

We have always had cheaper (Jabsco) fresh water pumps. Several times they have stayed running and it was always from running the main tank dry or the sediment filter had become so clogged that water was not flowing fast enough through it.

The fact that you seem to have good water pressure when you open a faucet gives credence that your pressure switch in the pump might be bad. Some pumps (maybe all, I don't know) have a way to adjust the pressure switch. You could look at that first.

Good luck.
Duane Ising
m/v Diva Di
Punta Gorda, FL
2006 PDQ MV 34 - hull 91, 75HP, 3-blade

AlanH
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Re: Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by AlanH » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:44 pm

Mac and Duane, thanks for the input. After reading it I decided to go through a step by step process. This is going to be a bit long but it may help someone else at some point. There is a question for Mac at the end.

I decided to be sure I did not have a flow problem so I took the aerator off the sink in the head and opened the faucet wide open. The flow was great for a while. Then the reserve from the expansion tank ran out and there was nearly no flow at all. Shut the valve for 20 seconds and good flow then it nearly quit again as the expansion tank ran out of reserve.

I shut the water off from the tank and disconnected the line feeding the pump. I hooked a hose to then pump feed and put the other end in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Tested it and the pump pumped great until the bucket was empty. No slowdown like when it was feeding from the tank. The pump was also much quieter than it was before.

Next, checked the pre-pump strainer. It had small pebble looking things that form in the tank when aluminum is exposed long term to chlorine. I believe it is aluminum chloride. It has been about 1.5 years since I cleaned the tank. There were not enough in the strainer to be a problem so I began to think maybe there was one or more clogging the feed from the tank. I hooked a hose to the line coming to the strainer and ran water back to the tank. After that I hooked it all back up and the flow was perfect. The pump was nice and quiet.

I decided to clean the tank. Mine has a 4” screw plate for access. There is a baffle in the tank right down the middle with the access on the port side of the tank. There is no access to the starboard side. On the port side there were lots of pebbles mostly attached at the welds but some on the non-weld aluminum as well. I was able to scrape most of them off. With no access cover on the starboard side I took the fill hose out and ran a high volume of water in while pumping water out of the tank from the port side. Unfortunately, unless I put another access panel in there is no effective way to clean the starboard side.

The last thing was the tank pick up tube. I thought it might be too long so I took it out to check. It was about 1/2” from the bottom of the tank. I raised it to 3/4”. The bottom of the tube was cut straight across so I cut it on an angle. I also cut a few V shaped openings to allow side entry into the tube. It should make it less likely for a pebble to get sucked in. The tank from forward to aft is sloped on an angle to conform to the shape of the underside of the hull. At the deepest part the tank is flat at the bottom for 5-6 inches. When I let the pump empty the tank and pumped the remainder out with a transfer pump, there was less than 1.5 gallons of unused water. The sloped tank is why the water gauge probably goes down faster as the level gets lower.

I normally have about half a tank of water when we return home from a trip. The pebble problem was much worse in the lower half of the tank and I am sure that is why. From now on I am going to pump the tank out when the boat is going to sit a while.

Mac, you said your filter is before the pump. I am planning to put one in and would like it to be before the pump but I read it should be on the pressure side. Have you had any issues? Is it just a Home Depot type filter of something else?

I would put a couple pictures up but it keeps telling me they are to large.

Alan
AlanH
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2006 34' Hull #81
75hp engines

AlanH
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Re: Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by AlanH » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:55 pm

E21F96BB-7F29-4B83-B7BC-98F1DC223B3D_1_105_c.jpeg
5102C70F-18C3-4A73-8963-96E893A2CA61_1_105_c.jpeg
DF307179-8511-41B9-A824-5ACB34D3A1CE_1_105_c.jpeg
I also put a clamp on the pick up line above the whale fitting to prevent it from dropping deeper into the tank.
AlanH
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2006 34' Hull #81
75hp engines

deising
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Re: Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by deising » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:18 am

Glad you solved the problem, Alan.

Adding the 10 inch sediment filter may still be a good idea, but once those granules clogged up the filter at the filter's input water tubing connection. Changing the filter did nothing because the granules were on outside of the filter. I raised the water pickup tube in the tank another inch to reduce that occurrence. It has not happened again.

As far as placing the sediment filter on the suction side versus the pressure side -
1. You want the filter to catch sediment before it gets to the pump.
2. When the filter clogs up on the suction side, you can tell because the flow is somewhat reduced and the pump runs longer after you close the faucet to try to re-prime the accumulator (expansion tank).
3. Ours is mounted under the refrigerator. I put a shut-off valve in the tubing right before the filter for those rare times I need to remove the entire filter assembly.
Duane Ising
m/v Diva Di
Punta Gorda, FL
2006 PDQ MV 34 - hull 91, 75HP, 3-blade

AlanH
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Re: Fresh Water Pump Problems

Post by AlanH » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:23 am

Thanks Duane.

Alan
AlanH
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2006 34' Hull #81
75hp engines

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