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How to identify water leaks in pressurised freshwater systems


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What is the issue?
Pressurised water systems load up freshwater pipes and joints. Often small leaks can develop typically at joints. It can be very difficult to detect where these leaks are.

Why address this?
Water is a critical resource on a yacht and every drop needs to be completely assured. A failing joint could further deteriorate and fail entirely. If this were to happen when the crew are actively engaged, or the engine is running so as to mask the water pump’s noise, the vessels entire freshwater tank could be pumped out without the crew noticing.

How to address this?
When you hear the water pressure pump clicking in and out, the tell-tale sign, you know you have to search the system for leaks. If you cannot detect the source, thoroughly dry all the systems extended pipes and joints. Wrap all the joints in toilet or tissue paper and leave them in place for some time. The tissue paper dramatically degrades should they absorb any water. After a period of time inspect each wrapping to detect paper damage and joint failure.
If no joints have failed and you see no paper degradation wrap tissues on the lower sections of pipes. Target pipes near hatches or around the engine as these are often subject to chafe etc. Again keep monitoring until you find the leak.
It is recommended that you wrap any new joints you implemented and monitor them for a period of time from the outset to ensure they are sound.

This is a simple no cost technique to identify system leaks.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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