*** Note... Addl editing and art work to follow ***
Fresh water system.
When I first got my boat, there were three water tank deck fill plates on the forward port side. Inside and underneath I only had two thirty-five gallon tanks. I could see where the third one had been removed. Of the remaining, one was cracked badly and the other one showed through the color of green even though the tanks were poly white. So with out a doubt, the remaining two had to go… On the dock pressure side of the system the fresh water plumbing had no pressure regulator or filtration of any kind. It is all plumed in 3/8 copper tubing with flair fittings. I guess because the boat was used primarily as a live aboard, everything was set up for dock water hook up only. There was no 12-volt pump in sight. Just the bare wire leads where one must have been. After the dockside fresh water line inters the boat, the feed tees off to a 15 gallon, 110 volt ac water heater. Looks old, smells old. I can’t find any temperature regulator on it, and in about an hour it’ll turn out some scalding hot water! So hot is this water, that it backflows out into the feed line! So when you turn on the cold water, you get about 7 seconds of cool water then bag! Hot! Way to hot! This isn’t good at all... The hot and cold feed lines then run off to the galley first, then to the head sink, then over to the tub/shower. (The toilet draws water from the river.) I think I have a little bit of work to do to bring us up to code. Don’t you?
Where to start?
Well right off the bat I need to fix the thermostat on that hot water tank before someone gets hurt. Then add a one-way check valve on the “in” side of the hot water tank so hot water can’t back feed into the cold line supply. Also on the hot water tank, the drain hose on the pressure release valve needs to be rerouted over the side. Some smart guy plumed it into the window drain? Duh…
To do it right I would first have to start with the source. Where the water enters the boat at the hose connection. In the case of my boat, that’s exactly what you get. Just a connection. No protection what so ever. Instead we’ll remove it and install something better. In the WM catalog they call it the “Flush Mount Regulator / Inlet.” It will protect my system from high pressure up too 100 lbs. down to 35 lbs. It also will provide back flow protection and a small in line screen filter to stop the larger particulates. It comes equipped with a standard ¾ inch female hose connector. My existing unit has a mail connector for some unknown resin? It was a pain in the ass to dig up a F – F ended hose to make it all work. Guess that means that I’ll have to buy a new dock hose too…
Now were inside the boat. The existing set up was nothing more than a striate shot to a tee. One side was the hot water tank and the other was the main feed to the rest of the boat. From the regulator I’ll install the first “ball valve.” This will be the “Dock Main” shut off from the out side world. Then next comes a “tee” where the fresh water 12-volt pump feed is introduced from the tank. Between the pump and the tee will be the second ball valve. “12 volt pump close off valve” (Only one of the two for mentioned valves should be open at any time for safety sake.) Down line from that tee comes the next component. The filter.
Filters are a good thing. They can help preserve the life of your system as well as your health. Plum them in before (up stream) of the pump or accumulator tank if you can to keep partials from building up and causing a failure somewhere. For my boat I plan to install a tee off the clean side of the filter to a ball valve, “Fill Tank Valve” then plum that line back to the fresh water tank for refilling. This way I don’t have to open that “deck fill plate” to top off my water tank. By adding this simple little “Fill tank feature” I can see at least three different advantages. First would be easier and more convenient to fill the tank. Just open a valve. That simple. When the tank becomes full, the excess water will flush out the vent line overboard. Second, it would reduce the risk of accidentally introducing dirt or other contaminants in through the deck fill plate. Keeping it a “closed system” will keep it much cleaner. Third, I would be filling the tank with filtered water, then filtering it yet again as it inters the system, for the second time around. Sounds like a good design to me? I think I’ll do that.
Note. Filters are most certainly a good idea to have and use when ever possible. But be sure that your filters have not been in use too long! An old and dirty filter can do just the opposite of what it is supposed to do! It can cause a build up of bacteria and other bad stuff and can contaminate the whole fresh water system. (Make people sick!) Be sure to read and practus all the manufactures replacement instructions on the water filter cartridges.
I say get the best filter you can with a clear housing and a replaceable filter cartridge. I’m using “Racor” brand from “Parker Filtration.” In my mind, the industry’s best. This new Racor fresh water filter unit will be mounted high enough so that I can get a small bucket under it to capture any water that may be lost during regular filter maintance.
After the filter and the tee-off for the filler comes the last tee. One side heads off to a one way “check-valve.” (Before the hot water tank.) This will help keep the hot water in the hot water tank. The other side will run on the to feed the rest of the boat with cold water.
There two things I would add to this system to make me completely happy, given the time and money. One would be more fresh water holding tanks. A total of 150-200 gallons would be nice. The other would be to install an “accumulator tank” directly after the 12-volt pump. An Accumulator tank has a pressurized blatter in it, and depending on the size you buy it can hold X amount of water in reserve. The idea is that it will keep your fresh water system pressurized for a time without the pump having to cycle on and off every time you wash your hands. This saves ware and tare on the pump and keeps the boat quieter during operation.
Well there ya go... This is how "I" did it and it works. I'm not saying "This is how to do it." I may be wrong as all hell. Ok? So if you think you know better, or see a major flaw in my logic please let me know and I'll adjust. None of this shit is written in stone. I’m sure I’m leaving something out.
Mike Wolfe Summer 2002