We installed the potable water system this weekend. What a huge difference running potable water makes! The well water in the delta is pretty foul. It smells weird and has nasty floaties in it, so for months we’ve been carting drinking water in a 7-gallon jug back and forth from the condo to the boat. We were using the well water for washing dishes and whatnot at the sink, and then we took the sink out and were left with no way to clean anything. The first time I had to wash my coffee cup at the hose bib on the dock I thought “we’re boat camping.” This lifestyle can very easily turn into full-time camping and that’s what I don’t want to do. Needless to say I’m stoked to have running potable water on the boat.
Since we had the system apart we thought it would be a good idea to flush out the water heater. We found the manual online and it said to add four gallons of vinegar to two gallons of water. I poured a little over three gallons in when it started to fill back into the funnel. The water heater holds 6-gallons but for some reason only about half that would fit. We hooked up a spare pump to the inlet and outlet and cycled the vinegar through it for several minutes. We let it sit for a while then circulated it again and repeated that for an hour or so. What we drained out was the color of a caramel macchiato. We flushed it with filtered well water for a while and it eventually cleared up, mostly. There’s still some whitish, brownish floaties in it, which I think are coming from calcium build up in the water heater.
We put a carbon filter at the hose bib for all the water coming into the boat. Then we have a two-stage filter for drinking water to the kitchen and bathroom sinks. We used PEX pipe and fittings that are really easy to work with. So at the kitchen sink we have the main faucet (it’s awesome), the drinking water faucet, and two manual foot pump faucets (not operational yet). The water doesn’t smell anymore, but I’m wondering if it was our water heater causing the smell in the first place. I think the drinking water side tastes fine, but Rich doesn’t like it (what a princess). Under the sink we replaced the drain line and fittings. I don’t know who plumbed the sink previously, but they were missing a few crucial brain cells. The previous sink was so deep and the drain so low that it had to flow uphill to reach the thru-hull, which means there was water in the line all the time. The pipe and fittings were disgusting, smelly, and goopy inside. Now we have a nice simple drain line that flows to a 90-degree elbow fitting and a check valve.
We also decided to add a water inlet to the cockpit combing and temporarily remove the pressure pump. We were running out of time to get this system operational so we decided it would be easier to install the water inlet than to install the water tanks and plumb them into the system. I love not hearing that pump kick on every time I turn on the faucet. The downside is the marina looses power occasionally which means no power to the well pump which means no water. We’re going to install the water tanks and plumb them into the system with the pressure pump in a few months so at least we’ll have water when the power goes out.
Next on tap is the toilet. Once that’s installed we’ll really be living the good life.