Author Topic: Bilge pump considerations  (Read 386 times)

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json

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Bilge pump considerations
« on: January 07, 2021, 10:18:11 AM »
What are people planning on doing for bilge pumps? I am thinking a smaller one in the lowest spot in my bilge and then a much higher capacity one a little higher, both on float switches and both dumping into my little drywell... Anyone given thought to this and care to elaborate? My thinking with my initial plan is to work the smaller pump for all but the biggest emergencies and then have the bigger one waiting there for serious duty if it ever comes to that. I am curious what flow rates and brands people are considering as well.

Brian.Dixon

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2021, 12:05:47 PM »

Sounds like a good plan, but nothing compares to having awesome "freeing ports" ... big scuppers.  All commercial boats do ... for good reason

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Grady300

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2021, 01:03:19 PM »
I'm going with same idea with a few differences. I will be installing 1500 gph (primary) and a 4000 gph (secondary backup) both will be in same low spot location. I will mount a float switch a little higher on secondary. Both will pump out via bilge hose out the port side above the waterline. Not sure why you would pump bilge water anywhere but overboard? Also note the gph rating on the bilge is at the pump, will lose flow rate the further you get away from the pump so shorter the hose the better.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2021, 01:03:53 PM by Grady300 »
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json

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2021, 01:59:05 PM »
I'm going with same idea with a few differences. I will be installing 1500 gph (primary) and a 4000 gph (secondary backup) both will be in same low spot location. I will mount a float switch a little higher on secondary. Both will pump out via bilge hose out the port side above the waterline. Not sure why you would pump bilge water anywhere but overboard? Also note the gph rating on the bilge is at the pump, will lose flow rate the further you get away from the pump so shorter the hose the better.

Thanks Chuck, seems like you have yours well thought out. The reason to pump to the drywell instead of overboard is for 2 reasons; 1 - not have to cut another hole through the transom or out to either side of the boat with a potentially higher run and 2 - keep everything close together in the bilge so that the whole system is easy to access/maintain. Maybe I will reconsider that though, I suppose it would be best to make sure the water ended up in the ocean and not accidentally back in the bilge.

Your config brings up some good points about switching, 2 floats would probably not be as good as a single emergency float switch and a switchable smaller pump. Mounting both as low as possible is a good point with the switch mounted a bit higher.

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2021, 02:33:51 PM »
I'm going with same idea with a few differences. I will be installing 1500 gph (primary) and a 4000 gph (secondary backup) both will be in same low spot location. I will mount a float switch a little higher on secondary. Both will pump out via bilge hose out the port side above the waterline. Not sure why you would pump bilge water anywhere but overboard? Also note the gph rating on the bilge is at the pump, will lose flow rate the further you get away from the pump so shorter the hose the better.

Thanks Chuck, seems like you have yours well thought out. The reason to pump to the drywell instead of overboard is for 2 reasons; 1 - not have to cut another hole through the transom or out to either side of the boat with a potentially higher run and 2 - keep everything close together in the bilge so that the whole system is easy to access/maintain. Maybe I will reconsider that though, I suppose it would be best to make sure the water ended up in the ocean and not accidentally back in the bilge.

Your config brings up some good points about switching, 2 floats would probably not be as good as a single emergency float switch and a switchable smaller pump. Mounting both as low as possible is a good point with the switch mounted a bit higher.
The other reason I go directly overboard is you can get some ugly water in the bilge sometimes. Water always seems to find its way there sooner or later. I don't mind punching holes through the hull above the waterline
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json

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2021, 05:17:57 PM »
The other reason I go directly overboard is you can get some ugly water in the bilge sometimes. Water always seems to find its way there sooner or later. I don't mind punching holes through the hull above the waterline

Another great point, no reason to splatter gross water all over the motor mount and drywell. Ok, over the side it is. :) Any reason you went with those particular pumps?

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2021, 08:14:33 PM »
The best bilge is a scared sailor and a square bucket!

I have 2 bilges and will mount same fashion, one low and one higher up pumping overboard. 

Funny I cant remember what size I bought.

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2021, 10:12:42 PM »
A couple thoughts, my boat is a Tolman and not as big as a great Alaskan. My deck will be non self bailing so the bilge pump will have to deal with spray, rain water, and fish guts in addition to unplanned water. Some of this might not be as important if you have a self bailing deck and don't plan on your bilge pump running often

-I'm going to have a discharge on each side with the idea of the boat listing to 1 side the other side might be able to work, probably a false sense of security and you are all ready screwed if you get to that point. Hoses for each pump will be long enough to reach either side

-I want both pumps on float switches, with a non self bailing deck and southeast Alaska rain the primary will cycle every once in a while in the rain and there would be a lot of water in the bilge before you noticed it was time to cycle the pump unless you are checking every 15 minutes.

-I'm using a Johnson 1000GPH with the replaceable gut pack as my lower primary pump with their float switch. Thanks a hack mechanic on my current boat I have a spare gut pack and float switch. The gut pack is easy to change/ clean. My spare gut pack has ring terminals on it to make it easy to swap in an emergency. A complete 1000 w/ float switch is $76 and I'd consider it a throw away item possibly replaced yearly. These pumps are 3/4" output and my secondary pump will be a bigger pump with a 1 1/8" hose. Rule makes an adapter so the smaller pump can use the bigger hose.

-My current bilge pump has a float switch and a manual over ride switch with a light on it, when the pump is running off the float switch the light still lights up so I know the bilge pump is running. Usually it cycles for maybe 30 seconds. If I notice it on for longer it's time to investigate.

-I've thought about wiring the secondary pump to an alarm possibly with an alarm bypass switch to get my attention

-Ultra Safety makes really nice bilge pump float switches though they aren't cheap

-Both bilge pumps will be wired to the float switch pre battery disconnect to the house battery. Blue sea makes a nice ignition protected stud mount fuse block that bolts right to the battery. I'd like to still have the motor battery charged if a bilge pump gets stuck on so I can still start the motor.


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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2021, 02:55:44 PM »
The other reason I go directly overboard is you can get some ugly water in the bilge sometimes. Water always seems to find its way there sooner or later. I don't mind punching holes through the hull above the waterline

Another great point, no reason to splatter gross water all over the motor mount and drywell. Ok, over the side it is. :) Any reason you went with those particular pumps?
Not really, just seam to be the right size gph for what I was trying to accomplish in a primary and secondary pumps.  If I ever need the secondary I hope I am close to a marina!!! lol
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json

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2021, 11:15:19 AM »
A couple thoughts, my boat is a Tolman and not as big as a great Alaskan. My deck will be non self bailing so the bilge pump will have to deal with spray, rain water, and fish guts in addition to unplanned water. Some of this might not be as important if you have a self bailing deck and don't plan on your bilge pump running often

-I'm going to have a discharge on each side with the idea of the boat listing to 1 side the other side might be able to work, probably a false sense of security and you are all ready screwed if you get to that point. Hoses for each pump will be long enough to reach either side

-I want both pumps on float switches, with a non self bailing deck and southeast Alaska rain the primary will cycle every once in a while in the rain and there would be a lot of water in the bilge before you noticed it was time to cycle the pump unless you are checking every 15 minutes.

-I'm using a Johnson 1000GPH with the replaceable gut pack as my lower primary pump with their float switch. Thanks a hack mechanic on my current boat I have a spare gut pack and float switch. The gut pack is easy to change/ clean. My spare gut pack has ring terminals on it to make it easy to swap in an emergency. A complete 1000 w/ float switch is $76 and I'd consider it a throw away item possibly replaced yearly. These pumps are 3/4" output and my secondary pump will be a bigger pump with a 1 1/8" hose. Rule makes an adapter so the smaller pump can use the bigger hose.

-My current bilge pump has a float switch and a manual over ride switch with a light on it, when the pump is running off the float switch the light still lights up so I know the bilge pump is running. Usually it cycles for maybe 30 seconds. If I notice it on for longer it's time to investigate.

-I've thought about wiring the secondary pump to an alarm possibly with an alarm bypass switch to get my attention

-Ultra Safety makes really nice bilge pump float switches though they aren't cheap

-Both bilge pumps will be wired to the float switch pre battery disconnect to the house battery. Blue sea makes a nice ignition protected stud mount fuse block that bolts right to the battery. I'd like to still have the motor battery charged if a bilge pump gets stuck on so I can still start the motor.

The idea about an alarm or light wired for the emergency pump is a good point. I am going to be self bailing so won't have to deal with all the situations you outlined, but having something that would notify me of the emergency pump going on is really a great idea, since the situation it is powered would really be an all hands on deck sort of scenario in almost any circumstance I can think of.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 11:16:54 AM by json »

rhenryinoregon

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2021, 10:45:35 PM »
I installed a bilge alarm in my thunderjet last winter. I ended up installing a separate float switch to a backup pump and the light/alarm on my dash. I like having the backup and I like a visual and audible alarm in case I知 running at speed and the pumps are going. I知 going to do the same configuration in my GA. Since I値l have dual batteries I値l want to wire it in front of the battery switch so it can be hot all the time.
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Brian.Dixon

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Re: Bilge pump considerations
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2021, 06:34:35 AM »
I installed a bilge alarm in my thunderjet last winter. I ended up installing a separate float switch to a backup pump and the light/alarm on my dash. I like having the backup and I like a visual and audible alarm in case I知 running at speed and the pumps are going. I知 going to do the same configuration in my GA. Since I値l have dual batteries I値l want to wire it in front of the battery switch so it can be hot all the time.

That's the config that I recommend.  It's always best practice to wire bilge pumps, alarms, indicators ahead of the main battery switch.  You can use a bilge switch on the panel to arm the circuit, then let the float switch turn the pump on/off, indicator light on only when the float switch turns on the pump.  I like having an ON indicator (on when the panel switch is on) and a PUMPING indicator that's on when the float switch is on.  Just make sure you use appropriate circuit protection ... inline fuse.  ON indicator will stay dark if the fuse is blown.  Some people skip using a panel switch ... one less thing to fail.
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