Water pump. Water heater. Water faucet. Water leaks. This weekend became mostly dedicated to many of our water system issues.
Friday evening the water tanks appeared to be empty. It was late, we were all tired, and ready to go to bed. Therefore, we were only going to do a quick fill of one tank, so we could our brush teeth. We would fill the other tank in the morning. Simple, right? Never!
While I was on deck filling the tank (and being eaten by mosquitoes), Wil happened to look under the floor boards for another reason, and noticed that water was slowly seeping out of the top of the starboard water tank. The tops to the water tanks need to be re-bedded! Just another item to add to the list.
Then, it was time to turn on the water pump and continue with our bedtime routine. The pump was on, but we still didn’t have water! For some reason it wasn’t priming. We were too tired to deal with it, so we filled some containers with water from the hose, brushed our teeth, and went to bed.
The next morning, upon closer inspection, Wil discovered a bit of sand grit in the diaphragm of the water pump. A good assumption would be that some grit got pulled off the bottom of the tank when the water level reached the bottom. Since we have to re-bed the tops of the tanks, that will be an opportune time to give them a good rinse. Another item added to the list.
My project for the beautiful, rainy Saturday was to install our new galley faucet. The old one had sprung a leak and was due to be replaced. After our water system had just been turned back on from the clogged pump ordeal, it was time to turn the water off again, so I could remove the old faucet. In order to make room for the work in progress, I emptied everything from under the sink, as well as determined what tools I would need. That is when the first obstacle revealed itself.
There was limited access to the nut holding the old faucet in place. Once a wrench or channel lock could get properly placed, there was no room to rotate it. Wil even tried turn the fixture from above, while I held the nut underneath. The fixture only turned in place. “It’s not gonna happen today,” was Wil’s comment because we were going to need a special tool to get the nut to move. My heart sank because I was really excited to try out the new faucet. I was also tired of juggling the old nozzle when we used it, so the leaking water wouldn’t drip back down the hose and onto everything under the sink.
I wasn’t content to stop there. With a little determination, and holding my tongue right, I figured out how to turn the fixture and hold the nut at the same time. Success! Everything else came out relatively easily after that. I was starting to get excited. Then, POP! went my bubble again. The old hoses and the new hoses had two different sized female fittings. Those darn females!
This was when Wil told me which stores to try in order to find a possible adaptor. He had a new diesel hose fitting to install, so he wouldn’t be able to go. Ok, not a big deal. That is, was not a big deal until I ended up at Lowe’s on the plumbing aisle staring at rows and rows of fittings. Compression, flare, brass, barb ends, adaptors, couplings, etc. Where to start!
I spotted the sample fittings and attempted to fit my old and new hoses to them. The old hose fit 3/8″ brass and the new hose fit 3/8″ compression. Was there such an adaptor? I stared and searched. Searched and stared. I became so overwhelmed, I had to take a walk around the store. Wil’s the one with the landscape irrigation license, and excellent in the plumbing department. He could probably do this in a fraction of the time!
I returned to the plumbing aisle, and this time asked for help, of course having to explain the situation under the galley sink of a boat. The first employee didn’t want to help me unless I returned with the barb end. We were dealing with a US versus European situation, a common occurrence on our French built boat.
Deciding not to return to the boat empty handed, I grabbed a second employee and again explained our situation. I also told him that I’d rather buy a bunch of parts to try, and then return what we didn’t need. He was very helpful and I returned to the boat with about 10 packages of fittings.
By the time I was back onboard the boat, I was frazzled, fully expecting that I wouldn’t have a correct part, and I would have to return to Lowe’s sooner rather than later. Wil checked out the goodies. As I explained my thoughts to him for how to make the connection work, he immediately opened a pack and checked this new fitting to the fitting at the barb. It fit! I was in shock. This meant I didn’t have leave the boat again. I could move forward with the rest of the installation. This was too good to be true!
The new faucet was placed and all the hoses connected. Along the way, Wil would periodically show me a few tricks of the trade. Then it was time for the big moment. Turn the water on and hope nothing leaks. I held my breath. All connections were good, except for one. Fortunately, it was only a hose clamp that needed tightening. Whew!
In the meantime, while I was dealing with the faucet, Wil made another attempt to solve the water heater leak. He smeared some Leak Lock on the fittings, and now we’ll wait and see.
Wil related my overwhelming plumbing experience with many of his experiences working on the engines. He can’t count how many times he has had to head off to the store in search of one small part that’s holding up the rest of the installation. The installation itself doesn’t take a whole lot of time. Driving to and from the store, and finding the right part. That’s where time seems to disappear. If this is the case, it is impossible to have all the right spare parts on hand before going cruising. We will prepare the best we can, hope for the best, and prioritize what absolutely will need to be shipped to us.