Clean shower head now overflows shower sump

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Joined
Jul 3, 2016
Messages
1,576
Location
Sandusky Bay
Vessel Name
Escape
Vessel Make
Mariner 37
Between the temperature controlling faucet and the cleaned shower head, our boat showering life has never been better; arguably better than we have at home. The flow and pattern improved dramatically after soaking the shower head in vinegar, but I saw a few unexplained bilge pump run counts on our monitor. Turns out the new flow rate is overflowing the shower sump.

Our "shower sump" is a rather tiny box (from Jabsco?) that collects drain water from the main shower, the day head shower (that we virtually never use) and condensate from two FCF air conditioner coils. The small Rule bilge pump is controlled by a Rule float switch that discharges through the side of the sump and up to a thru hull fitting. Between the switch and the pump, the sump never gets pumped lower than about a half inch of water. The effective minimum depth is more like one inch though because the thru hull hose drains back into the sump when the pump stops.

IMG_9489.jpeg

The effect of the clean shower head is that more flow is coming from the shower and when the falling level switch stops the pump, the volume returning from the thru hull hose causes the sump to overflow. So the question is, should I increase the shower sump volume or change to a Whale Gulper that may be able to pump faster, draw the volume lower, or stop the returning flow from the thru hull hose with its check valve effect?
 
I have a smart Whale pump in our sump. The pickup has the sensor for water height. Also it doesn’t back flow when it turns off so you get the real volume of water pumped out. Don’t remember the model but it was pricey. But also it works well.
 
From the picture, it looks pretty funky in the reservoir around the switch. As such, I'm wondering if the pump inlet is completely clear, and maybe the discharge hose. I would probably disconnect the pump and see if everything is clear before making a change.

My guess is that the pump will easily handle the flow, provided there are no restrictions. That said, I really liked the Whale pump for my shower setup.

Finally, if the stuff around the switch is algae, adding a half cup of bleach monthly from the shower drain, waiting a few hours, and then flushing some water through the system, will keep it growth free.

Ted
 
From the picture, it looks pretty funky in the reservoir around the switch.
It's an old picture. My evaluation this week started with a ShopVac cleaning. The overflow is definitely a function of the influx from the shower and the drain water returning from the thru hull hose.
 
I'm in the final throes of AC installation. Is it bad to put condensate into the bilge ?
 
I'm in the final throes of AC installation. Is it bad to put condensate into the bilge ?
Yes. I don’t want to add any water to the bilge. Any water that you can prevent from entering is good.
 
It’s tempting to re-route my two combined inlets (2 showers and 2 condensates) into the inlet ports of a Gulper IC and do away with the shower sump altogether.

IMG_3946.jpeg
 
Let me offer another thought.

If it's readily easy, I would consider switching the shower head or hand held wand to something more water efficient. After slightly increasing the water pressure (40 PSI on 45 PSI off), I went to a Waterpic shower wand. Liked it so well, I switched the home shower heads to it when I got home. It's around 1 gallon per minute, but a very nice spray pattern. It probably uses half the water of my old wand on the boat, but does a much better job rinsing the soap off. Shower is probably your number one consumer or water while cruising.

Ted
 
Excellent idea, Ted. I was so impressed by the improvement in the shower that I overlooked the easiest solution.

My Google Fu may be getting weak but I am unable to find just the replacement handheld part. At $40ish of course, the whole thing is way less expensive than a new bilge pump.
 
They range from about $30 to $60 with the hose. Home Depot had several Waterpik models. I chose the one that had several spray patterns plus the dribble feature. The dribble probably uses a pint every minute, but keeps the water about the same temperature as there's some flow.

Ted
 
Most WaterPik models seem to flow 1.8 gpm. Could that be it? Do you recall a specific model?
Understand that you boat water pressure isn't going to be as high as the municipal water pressure, so flow will be less. Yes, I think 1.8 GPM sounds about right.

Ted
 
It’s tempting to re-route my two combined inlets (2 showers and 2 condensates) into the inlet ports of a Gulper IC and do away with the shower sump altogether.

View attachment 155333
No experience with this, but it looks like an elegant solution.

That said, I have a similar unit to yours, and if kept clean it works well even with all taps open in shower and head. The box is pretty close to watertight with the lid on, so unless it's always full (i.e. pump or float switch failure) there is no escape to the bilge.

Are you using it without the top on?
 
I have the same sump / pump arrangement and find the float sw only pumps the sump partially, as you describe. I have wondered if the pump has the ability to run manual in addition to the float control... if it did I would put a manual toggle in the head to activate during showers so it pumped continuously vs cycling.
Mine isn't overflowing so low on priority list... if you investigate / try this approach please report back.
 
Between the temperature controlling faucet and the cleaned shower head, our boat showering life has never been better; arguably better than we have at home. The flow and pattern improved dramatically after soaking the shower head in vinegar, but I saw a few unexplained bilge pump run counts on our monitor. Turns out the new flow rate is overflowing the shower sump.

Our "shower sump" is a rather tiny box (from Jabsco?) that collects drain water from the main shower, the day head shower (that we virtually never use) and condensate from two FCF air conditioner coils. The small Rule bilge pump is controlled by a Rule float switch that discharges through the side of the sump and up to a thru hull fitting. Between the switch and the pump, the sump never gets pumped lower than about a half inch of water. The effective minimum depth is more like one inch though because the thru hull hose drains back into the sump when the pump stops.

View attachment 155324
The effect of the clean shower head is that more flow is coming from the shower and when the falling level switch stops the pump, the volume returning from the thru hull hose causes the sump to overflow. So the question is, should I increase the shower sump volume or change to a Whale Gulper that may be able to pump faster, draw the volume lower, or stop the returning flow from the thru hull hose with its check valve effect?
I have very similar setup and checkvalve solved the problem, actually bought a new Seaflo pump with checkvalve, old one didn't have one, similar issue with bilge pumps, lots of water coming back into bilge when pump stops. On another note what 'temperature controlling faucet' did you use. I haven't been able to find one with 4" centers. Thanks
 
I had been of the mind that fewer components in the bilge pump system is best, but a check valve may be another cheap solution. No problem with gunk growing in the line between the check valve and the thru hull fitting?

My temperature control valve has fittings on 6 inch centers. Really impressive though.
 
"temperature controlling faucet"
Is this automatic and continuous or manually set?
I would like to get something for the shower
 
It's really slick. It is manually set with the "knob" on the right. Once hot water reaches the faucet, which takes a minute as our water heater is in the lazarette, the faucet automatically balances the temperature at the set point. It maintains that temperature even after shutting off the flow with the valve at the handheld sprayer. Very impressive. The "knob" on the left side is on and off.

IMG_3150.jpeg
 
It's just a shut off valve so you can save water while you soap up. It doesn't shut off completely though, it "dribbles" which prevents the mixing feed pipe from filling with hot water and scalding you when you turn it back on.
 
Mine completely shuts off the flow. I have found that the dribble type to no dribble enough water to maintain temperature, though that was dirt home showers and boat showers may be different.

The valve this one replaced was a more traditional type with a knob for hot and a knob for cold. Getting them anywhere near close was an art and if you dared to turn off the flow, it would be completely different when the flow came back on.
 
thanks for confirmation I ordered the right one. Previous boat had a shower head shut off, no drip. This boat drips, next item to get
 
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