LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Pump Up the Jam! Converting the Shower Sump Pump to the Backup Bilge Pump

Confused just by the blog post title?  Because I am.

Oh man. Talk about one confusing project!

Converting the sump pump is no fun on its own, but the previous boat owner made this project even that much more fun for us, having taken the liberty to modify the boat systems here and there, and thus making it quite difficult for us to tell what was what.

The previous owner told us there was one bilge pump in the bilge — an off-the-shelf rulematic submersible bilge pump — that he had rigged to a metal bar that dangled into the bilge.  He also had a float switch dangling in the bilge that was supposedly broken. The previous owner also told us there was a sump pump for the shower drain.

Apparently, we should have just taken his word for it on this one.

Instead, somehow Jereme decided, upon closer investigation with his buddy Chris, that what we actually had were TWO bilge pumps: 1.) the one mentioned above, and 2.) another one under the aft cabin bed that was not in use. There was an unused hose entering into the bilge right where this (#2.) pump was located, so we attached this seemingly “unused” pump to the bilge hose and voila! we had an automatic bilge pump on a float switch AND now a backup bilge pump on a manual switch if we ever needed it (i.e. if the other pump or float switch broke).

While Jereme was working on the water tank replacement project, he of course needed to empty the water tank.  He thought, “what better way to drain the water tank than to run the shower?”  Well….turns out, the shower sump began to fill with water and the pump did NOT turn on to pump out the shower sump!  WTH???

Jereme quickly realized what he had done. He had actually disconnected the shower sump pump to use it as the backup bilge pump.

Plans quickly changed, and he thought he would simply need to replace the shower sump pump.  Jereme bought a decent one on and brought it down to the boat to install it.  (Things can never be that easy, right?)

He then realized that we only have two hoses leaving the boat and they are both already in use!  So, we don’t have an outlet hose for the new shower pump.:(

Jereme got back together to consult with his buddy Chris, and together they decided that since the bilge is not dry, and probably never will be, the next best plan would be to simply remove the shower sump altogether, thereby removing a whole system that we would no longer need to maintain.  Seems logical.

It would also free up space for the water tank and give us an actual access point to the bilge (which we did not previously have).

So far, it’s turned out pretty well, but Jereme did keep the old shower sump if we realize what we did was stupid and need to replace it. 😉

*Side note…Turns out, the original float switch that the previous owner said was not working was only wired incorrectly.  Once Jereme rewired the switch, that bitch turned right on!

**Completely unnecessary side note…while Jereme and his buddy Chris were attempting to research and understand the real importance/necessity of having a shower sump, Chris did some Googling and found a boat owner that said “shower sumps are extremely necessary because feces will wash off in the shower and enter the shower sump instead of having feces going into the bilge.”  (I have no sources to reference on this little gem of information.)   I’m pretty sure Jereme and Chris had a good laugh at this since they told me… “well, we are going to have our feces in one sump or another, so why not just co-mingle our feces with our dirty bilge!”  😉

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

[…] barbed fitting end into the hose (since he had recently done the same thing while working on the shower sump removal project).  The existing hoses on our boat are metal reinforced hoses that really just don’t […]

ElwoodSeptember 2, 2014 - 8:03 pm

As a second benifit to not having a shower sump, you can dump some dollar store cleaner into the shower drain and let it slosh around in the bilge with out lifting the floor boards.

Magic Moments
Lake St Clair

We made a Video!

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the GoPro Hero 3 Jer bought me for my birthday!  It’s so easy to use and so is iMovie (where I edit and produce the final product from a day’s worth of raw video footage). We haven’t really had a good opportunity to use it until this past weekend when we brought Jereme’s parents out on the boat for a day sail off the coast of Naples.

The weather started off a little funky leaving the dock, but it ended up being a fabulous day! Great sailing, a few sailboat jumps, and a pack of dolphin that swam next to us for a good 20 minutes! What more could you ask for? LA-HO!

From Laho Wind on Vimeo.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

Chris JamesAugust 20, 2013 - 3:27 am

My favorite things about this video
1) Jereme shirtless
2) music choice
3) dolphins

JeremeAugust 20, 2013 - 11:47 am

Chris. Those are my favorite things as well and in that same order.

Installing New Water Line!

This is one of those posts where I (Kim) literally didn’t even know that this project had happened, let alone have enough technical know-how or understanding of the project to write an entire blog post about it.

…But Jereme was kind enough to fill in the pertinent details so we could document another “checked-off” item on our good ole “never-ending” boat project list.

When Jereme was working on the water tank replacement and had removed the water tank, he noticed that the old copper pipe was broken. He also heard a hissing noise when the pump was turned on.

The previous owner or original boat builder had run copper pipe to the head, turning the pipe at a 90-degree angle WITHOUT using a 90-degree fitting!!! So, of course, right where it made the turn is where we had a leak. We have no idea how long this area has been leaking. Awesome.:(

Jereme replaced the old 1/4-inch copper (hot and cold) water pipe that runs from the supply pump/hot water tank, under the cockpit in the engine compartment, about 20 feet forward to the head. This pipe supplies the head with hot and cold water for the shower and sink.

Instead of using copper pipe, Jereme used 1/4-inch PEX (a strong polyethylene pipe).

This product isn’t readily available at our local Home Depot or Lowe’s, so he special ordered a 50-foot roll.  He used basic compression fittings to attach the PEX to the sink and to the hot water tank and supply lines.  He removed the old copper pipe and ran the new PEX pipe in its place.

Since the PEX was gray in color, he made sure to mark the hot line with red permanent marker every foot or so, so that we would know which line was which if we ever need to fix it in the future (smart boy!).

Jereme has one more fitting to attach and this project is complete.  No more leaking water pipes!!!

>>Thanks for visiting our LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

A big thank you to s/v Zanzibar!

…For snapping this photo of us sailing off the coast of Naples on Sunday with Jereme’s parents! This is the first photo of s/v Laho in action. Love it!  :)

Image courtesy s/v Zanzibar

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

Count em! 18 New LED Cabin Lights

This project was relatively cheap and easy.  Yay and yay!

We have 16 cabin lights on the boat.  Each light has 2 small 12-watt bulbs. Instead of replacing 16 fixtures with LED fixtures which probably would have cost over $600, Jereme had one hell of a lightbulb moment (man, I’m just full of awesome puns lately!) and simply swapped out all of the BULBS with LED bulbs at a much lower price of $140!   This includes 2 sets of backup bulbs.

The power draw on these new bulbs is 1-point-something-watts, basically about 90% LESS power draw.

We can run all 16 lights on our boat for the same electricity or power as it would have taken to run 2 of the original lights.  The new LED light is a bit whiter in color than our old soft yellowy-white lights, but I’m sure we will get used to it.

Oh, and the new lights also last for 60,000 hours! SIXTY THOUSAND! That’s roughly 59,900 MORE hours than the old light bulbs!  No big deal. 😉

>>Thanks for visiting our LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

JorgeNovember 8, 2014 - 12:03 am

I am impressed with this easy project. Would you mind sending me brand and model of bulbs.
My boats name is Watermusic Endeavour 37 B 1977