Saturday, 15 January 2011

An accumulation of problems

An accumulation of problems
15th Jan 2011

Belle's injury has meant a bit less time pottering around on the boat and some of those winter jobs are getting left undone.

Take the accumulator. It has been weeping all year and was probably damaged in last year's frosts, but the wet floor was attributed to the water hose which sat on top of it. Finally, by leaving the hose outside in the well deck I realised that the fault lay with the accumulator, with water seeping out from the central seam.

The situation worsened during the big freeze and a new one was ordered from the internet - exactly the same model for £20. I had hoped that as the fittings were the same that I could simple unscrew the old unit and screw the new one on in it's place. Simples!

Why is nothing ever that easy! The old threaded joints wouldn't sit tight and both dripped. Because the old hose has been jubilee clipped on for 10 years the pipes were welded to the joints so had to be cut off - shortening the water pipe available. All this then meant re-siting the water pump to get shorten the gap and allow the abridged pipes to reach.

We took the old accumulator apart out of interest and it was horrible. 
1. There was no pressure so it was serving no purpose. The lack of pressure may have been causing the leak so I will test the pressure annually in future. 
2. The insides were full of the most horrible slime- and this leads straight to the taps. It's all very well having special water hosing but it's no good if the accumulator is a breeding ground for every slime loving bacteria known to man. 

I put it all together and guess what both joints still dripped when under pressure. I hate plastic threaded fittings! So there was no option but to dismantle the whole thing and take it home and see what I could do on the bench. Of course, I forgot to open the taps first and was soaked by an exploding accumulator full of pressurised icy water! Oh how Jeff laughed....

Just as I was about to give up Jeff piped up with an idea. Cannibalise some of the old fittings, add some insulation tape to the thread on place of pfte tape, tighten it all up in the cabin and if successful, ram the ends of the pipes on in situ.  The lad is a genius, it all tightened up ok and when re assembled it held water when under pressure.

Well, if it works leave well alone - that's what I say - so hopefully that is "job done".

Note to self - add checking accumulator pressure to autumn service schedule.

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