Friday, March 22, 2013

Who says we aren't wild and crazy adventurers?

" A plumber is an adventurer who traces leaky pipes to their source"- Arthur Baer

We live and breathe plumbing these days. I thought our boat, at 42 feet was modest in size.  If you are having to find supplies and install them inch by inch, 42 feet soon seems like a veritable megyacht. I was worried that I might one day succumb to 10 footitis. That was until I started having to source various 'esoteric' plumbing fittings to replumb the whole thing. Yes, that is the terminology a sales rep for a plumbing fitting manufacturer used to describe the 'oddball' fittings I was trying to track down. Esoteric and oddball and only available special order from the manufacturer and that $2 part will require $10 in shipping fees. Must be a Mark project.
Advantages to using pipe- tidy installation. there will be removable access to the pipes but this is the routing of the plumbing to our forward holding tank under the v berth. The wooden straps delineate where shelves will go in the new master cabin.

The standard procedure for plumbing a boat is to wrangle flexible sanitation hose into position. There are a couple of advantages to using hose. 1. Its readily available. 2. Its cheap- well, cheaper than pipe.3. Its fairly quick to install That is about all that recommends it. There are also disadvantages, like everything on a boat. 1. Eventually it will become permeated and your entire floating home will smell like a holding tank. 2. It is hose and therefore susceptible to friction damage. 3. It is inherently less structurally sound than pipe. 4. It has a constricted bending radius so you will never get as tidy an installation as you will with pipe. Can you guess where this is going? You are correct. Our plumbing is an absolute Mark project which means a vastly superior installation which will take 10 times as long and 4 times as much money. It makes him happy to improve upon functionality and I am 100% in favor of his happiness (and 100% in favor of fully functioning plumbing!) so I go along with it all and spend my spare time tracking down those exotic fittings.
Cleaned and ready to go water tank. The smaller tank which goes under the settee in the salon cleaned and ready to be installed in the newly sanded and painted compartment under the settee.
All of our seacocks, tank fittings, through hulls and outlet connections are fitted with hose and clamps between the fitting and pipe. The biggest advantages of using pipe are the smell containment, the ability for the system to be pressurized if needed, longevity and the fact that you can get a very tidy installation which leaves room for other systems, more storage, etc. The down side? Standard plumbing fittings from Home Depot are not going to get the job done. You will have need at some point for a strangely angled fitting and your delivery driver will start sending you thank you notes for keeping them employed. It will take for-freaking-ever to install the pipe because you not only have to route it carefully but it has to be secured with straps all along the pipe to keep it from moving. Its still susceptible to calcification so regular maintenance still has to happen.
And the fittings to the forward holding tank. There will be a pump between the first and second holding tank to keep things moving to where we want them.
So I might have to tease Mark about our over engineered plumbing but it really is a thing of beauty. I did have to point out that nobody else does their plumbing this way. His response is that no one does it  because of the man hours and expense necessary. I had to point out once again that everyone still uses hose. I really do believe that Mark's system is vastly superior but by pointing this out, I can say "This was your idea, you clean it up" should any plumbing ever fail. Seems he is not the only clever one in the family.


  1. That's quite a system! I will be interested in knowing how that holds up over time. I thought one of the reasons for using flexible pipe was that it has more 'give' thank rigid pipe. But I would trust your engineer husband before I would trust myself. And it DOES look great.

    1. It does have more give, which is an argument I presented to Mark. Mark stated that if your hull is flexing enough for you to need give in your sanitation system, you have bigger problems than the possible spill of effluent! You will notice that the pipe is held immobile by many, many straps all along the route of the pipe. You also can not pressurize hose to clean out the system with hose but you can with pipe although HOW you do this has not yet been explained to me. I suppose when it comes time I'll get a lesson on how ya do it then.

  2. I am still giggling and at the same time coveting the sanded and painted compartments.

    1. You are giggling because you did not have to paint and sand them. I am NOT giggling. ;)