Tag Archives: bilges

Miss Inexperience plumbs the depths: part 1

When Miss Inexperience and MsB left their mooring in central London they did so with two new pumps in their possession. What they had failed to account for was the small problem that neither of them had any idea what to do with them beyond the theoretical knowledge that they should have a pipe attached to either side and some wires to transport the magic from the batteries (where it’s stored) to the pumps (where it’s consumed).

Shortly after arriving in Cassiobury Park, Miss I decides that it’s high time she tackles the increasingly thorny issue of the yo-yoing hot water supply, not to mention the monotonous clogging of the shower pumps filter with hair (yes, the job of cleaning that out is just as fun as it sounds).

the drainage digression

Miss Inexperience decides to tackle what she thinks will be the easier task first and replace the shower pump. Tentatively she removes the pump from its box and gives it a good coat of looking at. Beyond telling her that replacing it should be a fairly simple task (two hoses, one in one out, two wires ditto, it even has an arrow on the bottom telling you which way round to put it) it doesn’t tell her much. Along with the pump there is a selection of plastic attachments, 4 “penny washers” and a manual, she decides to read the manual. No, it really is as simple as it looks:

  1. disconnect existing pump (a screwdriver will be required)
  2. find appropriate fittings from the selection supplied, ones that fit the pipe you have will work best, push them into the loose ends of the pipe and jubilee clip in place (where did you put that screwdriver?). Did you remember to put the jubilee clips on the pipes first? No? Remove the pipe fittings and start again
  3. fasten the pump to the floor/wall (if fastening to the wall make sure that the pump is uppermost) with screws (you did buy screws right?) and washers (do you remember where you put them when you excitedly opened the box?). Did you remember to check that the pump was the right way round? You want it to extract the water not aerate it, it’s a shower tray not a fish tank. No? Turn it round then…
  4. push the snap fittings home either side of the pump and secure them by sliding the plastic locks across. Yes they’re stiff, persevere, you don’t want them coming out and dropping dirty water all over your bathroom floor do you?
  5. ok, what did you do with the two wires you disconnected from the old pump? Is one of them red and the other black? No? You do remember which of them was connected to the live right? Ok, reconnect them.
  6. test the pump. If it works, waterproof your connections (assuming you’ve used “choc block”), if not, check you’ve turned the power back on/haven’t blown a fuse.

Simple right?

As if Miss Inexperience could ever get that lucky. The hose linking her shower pump to her shower tray was beyond repair and the shower tray had apparently been self draining for goodness knows how long.

She buys a new length of hose before removing the pump (which has, by this point, given up the ghost entirely). She concludes it probably died of an overdose of abandoned hair although that doesn’t explain the newly discovered self draining aspect of the shower tray. Tentatively (with the delicate aid of a Gorilla Bar) she lifts the floorboard next to the shower tray. As with so many things in her short boat owning career, she abruptly finds herself wishing she hadn’t. On the other hand it does help her identify the source of the problem.

Miss Inexperience quietly props the floorboard up in the kitchen and wanders next door to find out if APs wet and dry vacuum is to hand. She then spends the next hour or so vacuuming what is euphemistically known as grey water out of her bilges and chucking it into the canal where it was meant to end up in the first place. Still, it seems no major harm has been done. As the waters recede, one slow vacuum full at a time, she discovers the source of the leek. Not that it really needed much in the way of searching for. Slowly, probably over the course of years, the jubilee clip holding the decrepit pipe to the drain on the shower tray has rusted away leaving the pipe not quite secure and allowing the small amount of water that had been seeping out to become a petite lake under the bathroom. This, Miss Inexperience realises, shouldn’t be possible. The boat has a run through bilge which theoretically allows rain water to drain from the bows into to the stern bilge where it can be pumped out. It would seem that something, somewhere has gone a tad awry as what she has discovered under the floor is a small lake. Miss Inexperience pokes the drain holes, discovers they’re full of leaf litter and hesitantly lifts the next board along. More water … drat.

Having spent most of the day vacuuming out the bilges and clearing the drain holes so that the water actually runs through the boat rather than just into it Miss Inexperience is quite glad to finally get back to the job she’d started doing – replacing the shower pump.

Step 1: disconnect old hose, “it came off in me hand gov”
Step 2: wiggle new hose into place without breaking the slightly rusty shower tray fitting and jubilee clip it on as firmly as possible without crushing said slightly rusty fitting.
Step 3: replace floorboard and run away.

As is so often the way with this kind of job, once she’s done the unexpected tasks the actual process of putting in the new pump takes about ten minutes. She flips the switch, the pump gulps air, she turns it off again and goes to make dinner.