Tuesday, June 18

Fresh Water Plumbing

The current system is old and needs updating. The flexible clear lines are more brown than clear. The water smells and needs to run a minute or two after not being used for a few hours to clear the bad odor. The water manifold from the tanks is showing rust. The one positive point is that the water does improve after a few minutes, which hopefully means the tanks are in decent shape.

Primary goal: Drinkable water from the tanks

Other Goals, in no particular order:

  • Good water pressure
  • Create a common fill for all tanks that goes through a set of filters before water enters the tanks.
  • Build in failsafes to stop potential leaks
  • Update fixtures for aesthetic reasons

DON’T PANiC carries 200 gallons of water in four stainless steel tanks. I have not noticed any leaks from them and after the water is run for a few minutes the smell decreases to what I would expect from being stored in stainless steel tanks, but still would not drink it.

I have already replaced the previous water pump with an updated 5gpm pump. This will provide enough pressure for two-three outlets on at a time, which should cover morning/evening use when guests are aboard. The old pump will be rebuilt to be repurposed or used as a back-up pump.

I am tempted to remove the accumulator tank as part of this project, but the current system works well with it. I will run some tests bypassing the accumulator tank to see how it works without it. It would be nice to gain some additional space in the engine room, where it is currently located.

It would be easy to make the first part of the project provide drinking water by just adding the filters to the lines. While this sounds nice, it would cause the filters to need to be replaced quickly as the other work that to be done would just stir up the muck in the existing system. I am going to start at the tanks and work to the output at the fixtures. The tanks will be cleaned and disinfected as best as possible. I will update all plumbing lines to PEX from tanks to the water pump to fixtures. Water manifolds will be replaced and all connections will have ball valves added to be able to isolate tanks and any leaks that could happen.

I will update the shower and sink fixtures in both heads, they are showing their age and the forward head shower faucets leaks when used.

Water filtration

All water used on DON’T PANiC will go through a 5 micron and 0.5 micron filter. Cold water to the head and galley sinks will go through an additional 0.5 micron carbon block filter. While this should be enough to make the water drinkable and I would not worry about drinking it if needed, a UV filter will be added in the galley to an additional drinking water faucet. Cold water for showers and hot water to all fixtures will not route through the carbon block filter.

Currently I use a portable twin filter with 5-micron carbon block filters in them. This is good for the US and other countries where the water lines are clean and usually sediment free. For out of the way places where water quality out of the tap may not be as clean, I want to add an additional 10-micron sediment filter, which will help prevent the 5-micron filters from clogging up as fast. The two-filter rig is already cumbersome to use, adding a third filter would really make it a pain. For this reason, I want to build it into DON’T PANiC.

The built-in common water tank fill will route through its own 10 micron and twin 5 micron carbon block filter before entering the tanks. Some might consider the twin 5-micron carbon block filter an over kill, but the with them and the 10-micron sediment filter it should deal with most sediment and the chemicals used to make the ‘safe’. The hope is this will help prevent the tanks becoming contaminated with sludge even while in out of the way places. I will try to make this route to all the tanks on board including a way to isolate the tanks and to know when the tank is full to keep from over filling. If I am unable to figure this out at this time, I will route to an existing onboard spigot and use the existing tank fills to fill each tank separately.

Now to collect the supplies I think I will need for this project. Then place more orders for all the items I didn’t think about.

09/20/2020: Drained and cleaned out all four water tanks ans best as possible. They were surprisingly clean, very little sediment was found. The port tank is a very odd shape and do to some odd design there is a section that is lower than the pick up line.

I’ve since then flushed them with water and a little chlorine a few times to sterilize them as best I can without using a strong dose or harsher disinfectants.