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Old 07-07-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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Fresh water system trouble

My fresh water system slowly looses pressure and must recharge somewhat frequently (about every 30 minutes or so). Until recently the system would only need to pressure up when water was being used in the galley or heads. When this happened a couple of years ago, I had a leak in one of the lines. It was obvious. I could hear it hissing which led me to the location and a repair was made.

This time I can't hear or see a leak in the pressure side of the system. Is it possible that I have water leaking back into the other side of the pump and the static water storage? How would I troubleshoot the system to determine the problem? I don't know the age of the current system. It's quite possibly as old as the boat or 27 years.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Trace every line and connection for moisture...sometimes the leak is so tiny a mist is all there is and a slow drip wherever it collects...maybe just a drip though.

Also make sure if your engine heats the hot water...that you aren't getting more coolant in your engine because of a leak in the exchanger part of the hot water heater.

Barring those...then look at the pump... if you can...hook a sort length of hose on the discharge side and a ball cock valve. turn on the pump and let it sit...if it cycles...and no moisture is present...then it's a internal pump leak (though I'm not sure how that occurs)
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:00 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'll check the lines very carefully. Also, I was just reading about fresh water systems and now realize that there is a check valve in the pressure side after the pump and accumulator tank. I wonder if that check valve is leaking water BACK through to the supply side of the pump (non-pressured side).
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:10 PM   #4
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This should be a fairly easy fix. Tap off the pressure line near the pump. If the pump holds pressure start looking down-line.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:14 PM   #5
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That water is going some where. Look for any accumulation in the bilge. Leaks can fool you especially small ones. Surface tension can cause the water to follow the piping to a low point and then drip.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #6
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Also., make sure you do not have a dripping faucet, an icemaker using water, a leaky freshwater head, a leaky freshwater deck wash, or a leaky deck shower, etc, etc.
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
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Thanks, guys. I'll follow all your suggestions over the next couple of days.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
This time I can't hear or see a leak in the pressure side of the system.
Ray, I had a similar problem a few years ago that almost drove me to the rubber room. Everything I looked at checked out but every time I went to the boat and turned the main DC breaker on, the FW pump ran for about 10 seconds and shut off. A few minutes later, the same thing. I lived with it for a couple of weeks but one day when I opened the anchor locker to inspect my rode, there it was. My FW wash down hose was leaking just enough to cycle the pump. Since then, I've had similar problems with the transom hot & cold water shower leaking. Two areas that I pay little attention to and two areas where a leak goes relatively un-noticed.

Good hunting!
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:16 PM   #9
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"Is it possible that I have water leaking back into the other side of the pump and the static water storage?"

Yes it is possible, even likely. There are check valves in the pump. They get old and leak. Leaking valves cause a problem exactly as you describe. If you can't find a leak on the pressure side, rebuild the pump.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Barring those...then look at the pump... if you can...hook a sort length of hose on the discharge side and a ball cock valve. turn on the pump and let it sit...if it cycles...and no moisture is present...then it's a internal pump leak (though I'm not sure how that occurs)

I struggled with this issue for several seasons. I even went so far as to put a switch near the sink so I could shut off the pump easily and not have it cycle every few minutes. I searched high and low and could find no water leaks. I finally installed a new pump and the problem was cured.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:01 PM   #11
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"Is it possible that I have water leaking back into the other side of the pump and the static water storage?"

Yes it is possible, even likely. There are check valves in the pump. They get old and leak. Leaking valves cause a problem exactly as you describe. If you can't find a leak on the pressure side, rebuild the pump.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:41 AM   #12
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When I did offshore sailing we would mount the FW pump on a piece of ply so it would make noise when operating , as a trouble preventive measure .

On out bus conversion we cant hear the pump , so mounted a wire from the ON side of the pressure switch to a light in the galley which is ON while pumping.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
"Is it possible that I have water leaking back into the other side of the pump and the static water storage?"

Yes it is possible, even likely. There are check valves in the pump. They get old and leak. Leaking valves cause a problem exactly as you describe. If you can't find a leak on the pressure side, rebuild the pump.
For what it's worth: I have two identical pumps (PAR MAX). One has this exact same problem, one does not. They are both the same age. I've tried rebuilding the leaking one but to no success.

I think the only possibility is replacing the pump, much as it pains me.

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Old 07-10-2013, 01:10 PM   #14
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I think the only possibility is replacing the pump, much as it pains me.

PAR is usually the problem
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:31 PM   #15
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How is the T&P valve on the hot water heater?
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:21 PM   #16
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I'll be troubleshooting the system tomorrow. Thanks for your suggestions. I'll report back so all can learn. That's why we're here, I guess.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:03 PM   #17
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When I had my second problem with my freshwater system on my sailboat (1976 model), I replaced all of the hoses and some of the fittings. That was 6 years ago and no problems ever since. Apparently, the previous owner had problems also or was just plain cheap. What should have been a long run was actually several small hoses with connections. Sometimes it's easier to replace than looking for the leak.
BTW, You might also want to check closely around your hot water system.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:51 PM   #18
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IF starting from scratch 5/8 copper tubing with flair fittings for 99% of the runs is first choice.
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:08 PM   #19
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This independent, eye-witness party has verified that Ray (Giggitoni) with the assistance of Al (FlyWright) have corrected Mahalo Moi's fresh-water leak. After the repairs, the water pump did not activate during the three-beer (each), two-hour observation/test period.

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Old 07-11-2013, 09:12 PM   #20
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Someones got a stalker........
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