11 July 2014. Water System and Filter Fix.
Boating and active cruising often
means fixing things as they break in various locales.
Actually, it usually means fixing things -- and there is
always something that needs repair. Occasionally the issue comes up the day before a scheduled
departure. That's exactly what happened to me with my whole-boat
water filtration system's filter assembly. Here's what happened and how I fixed it.
Backing up a bit: The day before I
planned to leave Carrabelle was spent in last minute preparations.
Double checking charts and chart
Fully charge batteries
Super chill refrigerator
Stock galley with fresh produce
Have easy-to-fix foods readily
Fill the water tank
In addition I had the genius idea
that it would be a smart move to check the water filter and make
sure it was still fine. Aboard Seaweed I use a whole-house filter
such as you'd find at Home Depot. Mine's a Westinghouse. They run
about $20 and the
charcoal filters (buy the best) are $10 for two.
The filters last thousands of
gallons but because my sources vary (rain water, well water, dock
water, etc.) generally I replace the filters every three to six
months. The charcoal filters are inexpensive and serve both to
protect me and my 12-volt pressure water pump.
My filter is tucked in a corner
under the starboard step to exit the pilothouse. There's a small
area about six inches deep that I use to stow my filter. It's
relatively easy to access. I also have spare filters and leftover hose from
various projects in that cubby hole. I like having things put away,
and safe in a seaway.
On the bow is the deck fill, thus I first
rinse off the bow then open cap and fill the tank. I'm careful
(now!) with the cap because after the tank is nearly full it
will "burp" and that bubble of air and water will wash everything off
the deck. That would include such things as a fancy deck fitting cap.
Side note: You can buy a plug cap that
screws into the hole that you, er I, just watched fall over
the side. It's plastic, lasts
about three years and is $2.50 or thereabouts at West
Marine. Or, you can buy the real deal for about $50 that's
stainless and is flush with the deck.
And yes, I do happen to have a spare $2.50 cap, just
in case this one goes swimming like its stainless
Continuing, water exits
the bottom of the tank through a hose and moves up to the
From the water filter the hose runs a
One side (with a one-way water valve) feeds a hand
pump at my galley sink. You MUST have a one-way valve (about
$10) or your pressure system won't work. Nothing works without
the one-way gizmo in place. [I added a few grey hairs figuring
should I ever
have a catastrophic pump failure I can get water out of the
tank. Mostly I leave the 12-volt pump off at the breaker panel
and use the hand pump, except when taking a shower or washing
The other side of that
tee runs directly to the pressure
water pump that feeds water throughout Seaweed. I have four
water outlets for fresh water.
In the head there are two, one in the sink and the other for my shower.
The galley also has two
-- hot and cold though at present I don't have a hot water
In the cockpit I have another spigot
-- so I can rinse salt water off after swimming.
But I digress. I removed the
filter case and took out the filter. It looked pretty good and as it
was just a couple months old I simply hosed it off and rinsed out the
container part. Then I made my genius move:
I dumped the water out of it by
turning it upside down over the river. Promptly the rubber ring that
ensures a tight seal fell out and did an imitation of a rock. It
Ever the optimist, I put
everything back together and tried to pump water. Alas, nothing.
I knew that if necessary I could
by-pass the filter but I do like that level of protection between
the tank and the pump. Yes, there is a dinky pre-filter just before
the pump but I like both in place.
Buying another o-ring isn't
possible in this town. It's too small for that sort of thing and
waiting for mail order wasn't on the agenda either. Here's how I
fixed my problem:
See my magic marker notes on the cartridge (←Remove
and → to tighten)
I don't have to remember which way to turn the blue gizmo (seen at
base) that locks
into the notches.
When I lost that doggone o-ring I had a few things in
my arsenal of Stuff.
I keep a roll of plumbers tape and
had some disposable vinyl gloves on hand. By cutting the gloves, and
then wrapping them around the top of the filter holder part I was
able to get an air tight sea and voila: the pump worked. The Teflon
tape held everything in place.
It's messy, it's not perfect, but
it works. And yes, I will be ordering two o-rings (so I'll have a
spare) very shortly.
When you're a boater, there are
times when you won't have what's Ideal and Perfect. With a bit of
thinking however often we can make do with what's available and at
Have you ever dumped something over the side
What did you drop and were you able to retrieve it?
In the Bilges,
... Next Post ~
Canning Stuffed Green Peppers