Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

A special section just for steam engines and boilers, as without these you may as well fit a sail.
Post Reply
TriangleTom
Warming the Engine
Warming the Engine
Posts: 80
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:57 pm
Boat Name: No Boat Yet
Location: Norman, OK

Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

Post by TriangleTom » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:03 am

Howdy

Has anyone had any experience using pressure washer pumps as a feedwater pump? It seems like an inexpensive solution, but I'd love to hear if anyone else has experimented with it.

Tom
User avatar
DetroiTug
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 1639
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:56 pm
Boat Name: Iron Chief
Location: Northwest Detroit

Re: Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

Post by DetroiTug » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:41 pm

They work really well when they are working. They have two issues, VERY sensitive to any sort of particle contamination in the check valves and they are difficult to disassemble without special tools. The check valves are in a plastic cartridge and pressed in.

-Ron
RGSP
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:12 pm
Boat Name: Platypus, Shelduck
Location: Very eastern England

Re: Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

Post by RGSP » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:37 pm

DetroiTug wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:41 pm
They have two issues, VERY sensitive to any sort of particle contamination in the check valves and they are difficult to disassemble without special tools. The check valves are in a plastic cartridge and pressed in.

-Ron
I have owned and run quite a number of them over the years, and can fully support Ron in what he says above. We have very hard water (dissolved calcium carbonate) and it deposits scale in pumps which are left unused for a few months, and sometimes the pumps fail to give anything like their rated pressure after a break. I've tried flushing through with weak acid, which does work, but they never seem to pump quite as well as when new: perhaps the scale particles cause a bit of excess wear. The hard water problem shouldn't occur with treated or otherwise "good" boiler water of course (I use filtered rainwater as make-up), but highlights the sensitivity to small particulates.
User avatar
Lopez Mike
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 1715
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:41 am
Boat Name: S.L. Folly
Location: Lopez Island, Washington State, USA

Re: Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

Post by Lopez Mike » Wed May 01, 2019 1:23 am

I have used nothing else for years. I got all prepared for the inevitable dirt caused malfunctions including a spare set of valves and even made a tool to extract the valves quickly. That was easy.

Guess what? The thing just runs and runs. I grease the only fitting about once a year. I have it coupled direct on the end of the crankshaft and it runs silently. Provides about 20% excess flow back into the hot well through the float valve.

I am running a condensing system. I think it would be a good idea to cover up your hot well when not in use to keep pine needles and the like out of there. I don't but I think I should. Typical.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
Dalai Lama
dhic001
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:32 am
Boat Name: S.S. Zeltic

Re: Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

Post by dhic001 » Tue May 07, 2019 12:58 am

I'll agree with Mike. We've used a Hypro 5330 on Kapanui for years, and it hasn't been touched since it went into the boat. There is a strainer in the hotwell to prevent any muck getting to the pump, but basically it hasn't given a moments grief in over 10 years of use. I've got a 5321 sitting on the shelf to go on Zeltic when she gets her rebuild. Kapanui's pump is under the floor, so has a reasonable head on it from the hotwell, and if the hotwell has been drained i just run for a minute or two with the bypass fully open to prime it. The hypro has definitely been more reliable than the other normal plunger pumps (both vertical and horizontal) that I have used.
Daniel
User avatar
Lopez Mike
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 1715
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:41 am
Boat Name: S.L. Folly
Location: Lopez Island, Washington State, USA

Re: Pressure Washer Pumps for Feedwater

Post by Lopez Mike » Tue May 07, 2019 2:40 am

Another useful trick is to plumb in a squeeze bulb hand pump in the input line on pretty much any pump. It serves two purposes. It is great for priming. And if the line between the squeeze pump and the hot well is obstructed very much, it will collapse. Instant excessive vacuum detector.

These pumps are most common on the line between an outboard motor and its fuel tank.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.
Dalai Lama
Post Reply