Saturday, July 19, 2014

I am the Watermaster.

In the three years we have had Sea Gem, we've had to deal with freshwater-pump issues several times.  We started off with two Shurflo pumps.  They worked, but not particularly well.  Instead of a steady stream of pressurized water, they pulsed: a strong blast of water followed by a trickle, and then the cycle would repeat itself.  And they were noisy.  Overall, not the best pump experience.

After about a year, one of the Shurflo pumps stopped working.  Fortunately, we only need one pump at any particular time, so we disconnected the broken pump and soldiered on with the single noisy and pulsating Shurflo. 

Fast forward another 6 months or so, and the second Shurflo broke.  To restore our pressurized water, I bought and installed a new pump--this time, from a different brand, Johnson Pump.  The Johnson was a clear improvement compared to the old Shurflo--it produced a steady stream of water with much less noise. (In Shurflo's defense, they were older designs and had been operating for several years.)

I know everybody loves a lengthy, detailed story about pumps, and fortunately, our pump story does not end there.  The Johnson pump proved to be less reliable than even the old Shurflo pump.  In the last 18 months, the Johnson pump has had to be repaired or replaced twice, and it just starting signaling an approaching death (I know the signs by now.) 

Since our long trip north is fast approaching and we would not want to be stuck at sea without freshwater,* it became clear that it was time for a more substantial pump upgrade. 

I switched brands again, this time going with Whale, a British company that made our bilge pumps that always work without a problem.  The Whale pump is called the "Watermaster," a fitting name for what will hopefully be the solution to our pump woes.  The pump is built to handle both freshwater and saltwater, and although we'll only be using it for freshwater, I take solace in the fact that it is robust enough to handle saltwater. 

But we didn't stop with a new pump.  We installed two new Watermaster pumps, each of which can operate independently.  We also installed a switch and fuse panel dedicated to the pumps that allows us to easily to switch from one pump to the other or turn both on for when we need extra flow. 

Switch and Fuse Panel
If one pump for some reason fails, we can quickly switch to the other one.  And, if a fuse blows, we can change it right at the panel instead of crawling into the corner of the engine room where the pumps are installed.

Not only is our new freshwater-pump system redundant and easy to operate, but the Watermaster pumps are the best yet: whisper quiet and a steady stream of high-pressure water.  In fact, the water pressure from the pump is now indistinguishable from the pressure from the municipal supply, which has never been anywhere close to the case before. 

*Note: Don't worry--we do have a manual freshwater pump.  Even if our pressure system fails (if we lose power, etc.), we can still access our stored freshwater for drinking, cooking, etc.

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