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Am I sinking?


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#21 RLWP

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:07 PM

<snip> Ran the fan for about ten days, to get the bilge bone dry.

Hope this helps you. I have learnt that boating is all about the attempt to keep the water on the correct side of your hull.

It seems to me to be never ending. I have just spent the entire day regrouting and sealing the tiels around my bathtub as we discovered that water was getting through gaps in the old grout and onto the floor under the bath!


If it helps, we emptied all but 2mm of water out of our hull and put the cover back. When I checked it again later in the year our bilge was also bone dry and has continued to be so.

Richard

Well, until the next leak that is...
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#22 Lady Muck

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:07 PM

I've just merged the two topics

LM

#23 RLWP

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:07 PM

I've just merged the two topics

LM

Good work!

Richard
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#24 mark_hookway

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 11:14 PM

It should be a very rare occurrence for your fresh water pump to kick in for short durations, if you are not actively using water.

It can happen once, briefly, sometimes, if you have managed to finish drawing water with the pressure reduced to only just above the cut-in pressure for the pump, but it should then only make one correcting re-pressurisation, and then not pump at all until you next draw off water.

If it continues to run for short periods, multiple times, there is almost certainly a problem that needs investigating......

A water pump looks like this....

Posted Image

A calorifier looks like this....

Posted Image

You may also have an Accumulator, to help the pump run more smoothly, with it cutting in and out less, and achieving a more constant flow....

These look like the blue thing shown here, often being very close to the water pump, as shown....

Posted Image


Thanks - I think the water pump kicking in could just be for re-pressurisation. The water pressure is always there whenever I put thre taps on so I guess it must need to adjust itself. It is only occasionaly it does this. Thanks for the pictures - next job is finding them, I remember my surveyor had difficulty, but he did note it in the report, which will help.


It takes ages for the water to run through the hull to the back because of the strengthening beams and ballast. So if you take out a couple of buckets then more water runs back into that space.

Is the water soapy or clear? I'm trying to see if we can work out where it is coming from.

You could also try to find the shut off valve on the water tank. See if there is an access panel under your front steps.

Richard

When our water tank leaked the water was clear but rusty from the crap under the floor, so it smelled metallic. We had over 2" of it, so don't panic yet! It took more than one go to pump that out because of the time it took to run through the ballast.

Good posting Alan, that should make it easier for Mark to work out what's what. :lol:


The water is clear i guess. When I take it out through a sponge into the bucket it is more of a dirty/rusty colour, like yours, it certainly isnt soapy. When it is lying in the bilge it looks clear, but it is difficult to see as the bilge is painted black.
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#25 DHutch

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 12:16 AM

The water pump does occasionaly kick in when not in use, which I assumed was topping up the pipes after movement in the boat.

Thats fairly conclusive of a leak in my book.
- Theres a chance that the leak through the non return valves within the pump back into the watertank and pumps just buzzing it back into the pressurised system. However its atlease at likely that the leak is somewhere down steam of the pump or the pump body itself. In which case you well next see it in the bilge.

If you have never seen the inside of a unfitted out hull (and theres no reason you should) then they have steel members about ever 18inches or so, a little like the joints/beams the hold up the floorboards on a house which keep the base stiff. These are welded to the hull and sides but have the corner knocked off at each end to allow water to pass between sections (these are called lumber holes) and this is probably the reason why you can seemly empty the bilge for it then to refill. You have actually only emptied the nearest more rearwards section, and this is then refilled as the water moves down the boat.
You just need to be patient and bail it out fairly empty, wait for it to refill, and repeat till it stops refilling, they you can get the last bit out.


Daniel
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#26 RLWP

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:41 AM

Thanks - I think the water pump kicking in could just be for re-pressurisation. The water pressure is always there whenever I put thre taps on so I guess it must need to adjust itself. It is only occasionaly it does this. Thanks for the pictures - next job is finding them, I remember my surveyor had difficulty, but he did note it in the report, which will help.




The water is clear i guess. When I take it out through a sponge into the bucket it is more of a dirty/rusty colour, like yours, it certainly isnt soapy. When it is lying in the bilge it looks clear, but it is difficult to see as the bilge is painted black.

It really sounds like you have a leak somewhere in your water system, and as you say your pump ticks occasionally it is probably after the pump. Start by trying to find the pump itself using the picture that Alan posted. It will probably be near the front of the boat. You could try tracing it by opening a tap then working out where the sound of the pump is coming from

Richard

It's worth knowing that once when our pump leaked, it leaked worse when switched off than when it was on. That was a leak from the body of the pump itself
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#27 Dawnie

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 10:50 AM

Our pump started running intermittently, upon investigation it was the accumulator, where the connection was tightened with a jubilee clip this had squashed the plastic connector and had a steady drip. Problem solved by replacing connector with a metal one.

Edited by Carol Whale, 04 January 2010 - 10:50 AM.

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#28 DHutch

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 01:28 PM

Pinned within the FAQ for future members.
Emilyanne - Small website about our boat.

#29 Lewis 53

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 05:54 PM

Not really relevent to the OP but worth bearing in mind that a leaking tap can also cause the pump to cycle on and off. I spent hours looking for a leak before the domestic authorities spotted an intermittant drip from the shower tap. New washer solved it. :lol:
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#30 Lady Muck

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:05 PM

Not really relevent to the OP but worth bearing in mind that a leaking tap can also cause the pump to cycle on and off. I spent hours looking for a leak before the domestic authorities spotted an intermittant drip from the shower tap. New washer solved it. :lol:


Everytime we have guests onboard, they never turn the taps off properly, first we know about it is the pump going off.

#31 Alan Saunders

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 09:55 PM

Everytime we have guests onboard, they never turn the taps off properly, first we know about it is the pump going off.

I sympathise, my 10 year old nephew gave me a disbelieving look when I berated him for excessive use of the Porta-Potti flush - "No Uncle Alan, you are pulling my leg! You don't have to carry it to a disposal point and tip it out!"
---
I had a leaking Pressure Relief Valve (PRV). Often mounted on top of the calorifier (hot water tank) at the hot water outlet, its purpose is to relieve the pressure created by the water expanding as it is heated. Fortunately, the overflow from my PRV went to the engine bilge but I was still concerned by the amount of water appearing in the engine bilge in the 'dry season'.

On top of the PRV is a plastic knob. When rotated it 'clicks' up and down a little and a drop of water seeps out. Turning this knob re-seats the valve. This is necessary occasionally as the valve seat will be contaminated with hard-water deposits.

If you do not have a PRV you should have a diagphragm device to relieve the pressure. Often the same device as the 'accumulator' mentioned earlier but in the hot water supply circuit. If you have neither, excessive pressure when the water is heated may result in leaks from joints which are dry at normal pressures or, in the worst case, a burst calorifier.

In any case, when the water cools, e.g. you stop the engine or turn off the heating, the pressure slowly reduces and, eventually, the water pump runs to maintain the pressure. Probably after you are fast asleep. My boiler is controlled to only raise the hot water to 70C but running the engine can raise the hot water temperature to scalding in twenty minutes. Depending on the capacity of your calorifier this can result in a considerable 'leakage'.

TB Training explains everything about boat systems better than I do. Domestic Water Systems may be particularly relevant.

Do not underestimate the cumulative effect of condensation; there may be hidden, poorly insulated cold-spots, e.g. under the gunwhales, that are dripping half a litre every night. After a few years the adhesive bond fails and the insulation is detached. The water runs over the insulation and arrives in the bilge (or on your pillow) some distance from its source.

HTH, Alan.
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#32 Jes

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 03:30 PM

I have recently bought a 57' narrowboat built in 2001 and am new to this life, hence the forum area. Today I lifted some of the floor boards up with the aim to move some ballist to straighten us up. The cabin is completely sealed in, so as the surveyors report suggested I tried to make an inspection hatch in the floor as well. Here I came across water, realising this was not a good sign I searched online to see how urgent it is.

I think I have managed to understand a few things, but was hoping someone may be able to clarify a few things for me who may have had the same problem before. Firstly I understand I am not going to sink overnight, but understand it should be dry in the cabin bilge. I have not got a pump for it and it is seperate to the engine room bilge. I understand it could be a leak of some kind, but after soaking a couple of buckets worth more kept coming so I discounted this, it doesnt keep coming and coming like a flood, but if i mop it up the same will come back and then stay at a consistent level. The water is at the back of the cabin and it is impossible to know if it is all over unless i Take everything out of the boat and lift up all the flooring (not a simple job!). The starboard side is dry and it is just the port side, this is the side which is deeper in the water and i aimed to remove some ballast from.

A few questions:

1. Is it normal to have a bit of water in the bilge and if it doesnt get any worse is it doing any harm?
2. Should I get an expert to look at this straight away?
3. Should I dismantle the boat to see if there is anymore water in the cabin bilge?
4. Should my surveyor have noticed this?
5. Is it likely to be a winter problem and Ok in the summer?
6. Is the problem likely to be related to my ballast problem and one side being deeper in the water than the other?

Sorry to rabble on, but I appreciate any helpful comments about this and I hope once it is sorted I can help someone similar.

Thank you Mark





We discovered our accommodation bilge of our shared narrowboat to be full of water when the carpet in the cabin became very wet, on lifting the carpet it was discovered the flooring was saturated and rotting away.
The culprit was a leaky water pump under the concealed under bathroom sink.
Requiring the floor and everything built on it needed replacing up to and including the bathroom.
Having never been happy with the quality of the original fit out the owners elected to have a full refit and pay the difference between our insurance settlement and the cost of the refit.
We had no inspection hatches and will have them installed in the refit.

Hope the source of your leak is less expensive
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#33 boatyboy

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 06:19 PM

I wouldn't panic just yet. It's much more likely to be fresh water, or possibly rainwater. You shouldn't need an expert, you should be able to track it down yourslf.

The bilge should be completely dry, but any water that gets in that area will run to the stern because the boat slopes that way. If for example you have a leak from you water tank at the front, or the associated pipework or pump, it will run all the way under the floorboards to the stern. By thetime there is significant water there, it will be fairly wet down much of the boat, and when you mop up at the stern the water from the rest of the boat will slowly make its way past the floor bearers, ballast, etc, and fill up the stern area again.

A good way to empty it is to borrow a Vax or similar.

You will have to find where it is coming from. If it is not obvious, you may have to cut one or more additional inspection areas further along the boat. A surveyor may well not have noticed it, if there was no access to the bilge before, and I don't expect it has anythng to do with the boat leaning slightly (though it may be the cause of that lean)

Hi.I had the same problem,now i've found it after nearly two years !! Just found out that there was no hose linking the deck filler (on floor of well deck up front)to the water tank. The brass fitting was just slid into the tank with no rubber hose between them.
So after ripping the boat apart to get at the tank,water has stopped coming into the boat.
One othe thing to check is the outlet for your shower pump out.I've got one of those plastic boxes with bilge pump and float switch.there was no mastic around the skin fitting and watse water was running back into the boat.
Good luck....Dave
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#34 The Lockie

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:41 PM

Shurflo pumps in my opinion have a design fault. In 10 years of living aboard I replaced complete pump twice, pump head three times and valve sets about the same. All the problems we had with these pumps stemmed from the pump head to body seals, the valves start to leak and the pump head seals don't fit well water then runs down the body ,if installed pump head at top or from the bottom of the pump head if installed t,other way round.

The leakage corrodsvthe pump body and then you cannot get a decent seal . These pumps are American and were only ever designed for leisure use. Again this is just my opinion and no doubt someone will have an entirely different viewpoint!! But we did live aboard for 10 years with Sureflo pumps before we replaced with Jabsco
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#35 KirraMisha

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:06 PM

A friend of mine a few years back had a float switch fail on his shower waste that run into a little plastic box where the float switch was housed.
So it overflowed and caused loads of water in the cabin so perhaps give that a check too.
He had a really leaky roof too but thats another story!
All the best.
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#36 Bobbin

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

I have recently bought a 57' narrowboat built in 2001 and am new to this life, hence the forum area. Today I lifted some of the floor boards up with the aim to move some ballist to straighten us up. The cabin is completely sealed in, so as the surveyors report suggested I tried to make an inspection hatch in the floor as well. Here I came across water, realising this was not a good sign I searched online to see how urgent it is.

I think I have managed to understand a few things, but was hoping someone may be able to clarify a few things for me who may have had the same problem before. Firstly I understand I am not going to sink overnight, but understand it should be dry in the cabin bilge. I have not got a pump for it and it is seperate to the engine room bilge. I understand it could be a leak of some kind, but after soaking a couple of buckets worth more kept coming so I discounted this, it doesnt keep coming and coming like a flood, but if i mop it up the same will come back and then stay at a consistent level. The water is at the back of the cabin and it is impossible to know if it is all over unless i Take everything out of the boat and lift up all the flooring (not a simple job!). The starboard side is dry and it is just the port side, this is the side which is deeper in the water and i aimed to remove some ballast from.

A few questions:

1. Is it normal to have a bit of water in the bilge and if it doesnt get any worse is it doing any harm?
2. Should I get an expert to look at this straight away?
3. Should I dismantle the boat to see if there is anymore water in the cabin bilge?
4. Should my surveyor have noticed this?
5. Is it likely to be a winter problem and Ok in the summer?
6. Is the problem likely to be related to my ballast problem and one side being deeper in the water than the other?

Sorry to rabble on, but I appreciate any helpful comments about this and I hope once it is sorted I can help someone similar.

Thank you Mark


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#37 Bobbin

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

Hi Mark. It's easy to test if you have a leak in a fresh water hose. But firstly check all the joints, always a good thing after winter. Then run off most of your fresh water put a whole bottle of food colouring into your fresh water tank, red or green and see if the water collecting in the bilge is coloured. A de-humidifier is also good as you won't believe how much condensation a boat will produce. Oh by the way, some food colouring can effect children, but it would be fun to see pink or green water come out of the taps!!!
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#38 larkshall

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:40 PM

Actually regarding the topic title, the answer is yes you are sinking....Its purely a matter of how long..Every boat is sinking.
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