Our boat is 34 years old which means that the water lines are also that old. Most of them anyway. We have city water attached to the boat. If any of the old water lines were to break then a never ending supply of water would gush into our bilges.
We have safety valves for this sort of thing but we thought it would be prudent to go ahead and replace the old lines.
Besides the breaking issue, the old lines couldn’t withstand the pressure from the city water supply so we needed to use a pressure regulator to drop the pressure from about 75 psi to 50 psi. These numbers don’t mean much to you until you jump in the shower and realize the stream from the shower head just isn’t what it used to be.
The old water lines also gave our drinking water a funny taste.
So the decision was made. We would rip out all of the old drinking water lines and install all new stuff. Of course this meant emptying out closets and drawers and every other corner of the boat so that we could get to these water lines to remove them. This also meant we wouldn’t have running water until the new water lines were installed.
Early on Saturday morning, with the help from my nephew Tyler (aka Foghorn Leghorn from a previous post) we started the demolition. By noon we had all of the old stuff out, which included copper lines.
I decided to install PEX tubing that they are using in houses these days. It’s a somewhat flexible tube that is made from PVC and can withstand up to 160 psi so there would be no need for a pressure regulator.
By Saturday evening, all of the water lines had been roughed in. By Sunday evening, the project was complete.
It was a big project that took a total of 26 man hours to complete but the results were great.
I installed shut off valves for the city water or the boat’s water pump in easily accessible, but unseen, places instead of down in the bilge or the back of a cabinet.
I also installed a valve that would easily let me fill our on-board water tanks and I installed a garden hose connection in the engine room so that I can spray down the bilges from time to time.
It was a monster of a project but one that was a “must complete” before we go cruising again.