Water Pressure Accumulator - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-10-2003, 12:31 PM   #1
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Water Pressure Accumulator

For reasons no doubt best understood by a clinical psychologist, I decided I wanted a pressure accumulator in the water system. Bought a small one at West Marine. I'm not running a class A motor drone so I figured a modest sized one would do for a start. First '03 cruise scheduled Easter weekend. Algonac state park. I like to watch the lake freighters transit barely a 100 yards away. Will judge whether the tank size is large enough but I predict I'll be satisfied. Fiberglass RV home page has a good article to prepare you for this.

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3e6cd18f3b82bAccumA.jpg/>

Removed the bench. Definitely no more than a 3 on the difficultness scale. PEX tubing along the floor disappearing under the wire bundle. Hot water has red stripe. Tubing on top of wire bundle runs from tank to pump inlet. Surprised to find a water filter in line under the kick panel.

Sat the accumulator in the intended location to figure out where I was going to cut the cold water pressurized side. Cut and crimped on swivel fitting. (Opted for crimp-on rather than Flair-It fittings. Wretched Excess Alert!! AA-OOO-GA! Bought the crimper!!)

<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3e6cd49221bceAccumB.jpg/>

Temporarily installed outlet elbow fitting in accumulator and straightened out the PEX to determine where to make next cut. Crimped on outlet fitting. Snugged up everything. Reconnected pump inlet hose.

Waiting for a break in the weather to leak check everything before I button it back up. Will probably install some sort of brace along accumulator bracket once I'm comfortable with size and location.
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Old 03-10-2003, 02:36 PM   #2
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Steve,
I don't know why you need a Water Pressure Accumulator, explain please.
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Old 03-10-2003, 03:56 PM   #3
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An accumulator accumulates a quanity of water, under pressure, for use whenever you need it. It makes the water pump last longer and theoretically use less current (battery capacity) by not requiring the pump to cycle on and off rapidly. Pretty much every quick flush of the toilet, or turn on of the sink faucet would cause the pump to pump (under the bed in the Casita). Accumulators are also very popular in boating for people anchoring out and depending on battery power rather than using marinas.

My intent is to boon dock more than hook up to shore power. I'm also keeping an eye on threads in this forum for progress with LED cabin lights as another energy saving device.
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Old 03-10-2003, 04:54 PM   #4
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Steve....

I like your idea. A very small pressure tank should work great in any of our trailers with electric pumps. (These are often standard on big rigs!) It'll give you a much more even flow, with less cycling, as you say. And yes JJ, if you go for one of these, buy the crimper if you use the PEX tubing. (That's the main reason Quest plumbing was a bust in housing a few years back.) But you could probably get away with conventional tubing and fittings, using standard hose clamps. Steve did it the right way.
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Old 03-10-2003, 04:55 PM   #5
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Oh yeh, I remember those. a smaller version of what you use with well water. I think we talked about this once for about two seconds. I like the concept. let us know how it works in real live camping.

I was way off on what I thought it was. I had a knocker stopper in mind. no where near the same thing. :lol
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Old 03-10-2003, 05:47 PM   #6
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Accumulator Tanks

Here are a couple more installations that someone had posted.
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3e6d23dcd98c2accumulator tank.jpg/>
<img src=http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/uploads/3e6d23fe05f25SHURflo accumlator tank.jpg/>
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Old 03-10-2003, 08:50 PM   #7
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One reason it results in less power useage is because the pump is less efficient at startup than when running, so running it a few times, but longer, is better than a lot of short times, even tho eventually the same amount of water is used.

It also helps to steady the pressures and keep "spikes" out of your shower. Analogous to having a battery in your converter-powered system, or the vacuum accumulator tank in some automotive vacuum systems, to smooth out the peaks and valleys.

Pete and Rats who only want to accumulate food

PS When you travel further, one of your destinations should be Ripple Rock CG on Vancouver Is BC, where you can watch the cruise ships go by, as they are lit much better than the tankers (CG even puts out a weekly schedule).
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:40 AM   #8
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Water Pressure Accumulator

Question: Does using one pose any speciial problems or require any different procedures when it comes to winterizing or unwinterizing the water system? Does it flush out well, etc.
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:00 AM   #9
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Accumulator

Per the instruction manual, the accumulator can be installed in any orientation, but if you install it valve stem up (as shown in the various pictures) it will drain better for winterizing. Further, since the accumulator is "preloaded" with 20 psi I would expect the pressure to help move the water out of the device.

It's recommended that you pick an installation location that allows relatively easy access to the valve stem since the pressurized bladder may need to be topped off now and again.

It also points out that it can be installed anywhere in the pressurized side of the system. One of the installations appears to be in the closet behind the shower wall in a Casita which must give excellent access to check the pressure in the accumulator with a tire gauge.

Lastly, all three installations are "pass through" installations. That is, water passes through the accumulator. If space and access need dictate it, you can also plug one outlet and run one line to the accumulator. It would be operating a little like a water tower. You pump water into the accumulator/tower and the water, under pressure, would drain back out through the same line.
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Old 03-11-2003, 11:36 AM   #10
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In rural areas, homes have their own wells, and their own pump, and there own accumulator tank. For a home, they tanks typically range from 3-gallon to 30-gallon and up. Older models were just a steel tank, and you had to charge them with air periodically, as the compression of the air is what provides water pressure if the pump isn't running. As water can absorb a certain amount of air, these tanks had to be recharged periodically, or the system would water-log, causing your pump to short-cycle and eventually burn out.

Somewhere along the line, someone got the great idea of putting an air bladder -- a balloon -- in the tank. It is neoprene rubber, and stops the problem of air absorbtion. Theoretically, you set the air pressure once, and forget it. These RV accumulators are just miniature versions of the same thing, and they work great. As far as winterizing is concerned, the balloon inside completely fills the tank until you force it to compress by pushing water into it. When you drain your system, the balloon will push all the water out of the tank, regardless of the position you mount it in. I'd suggest mounting it however you can get it in there without causing low spots in the plumbing tubing. Low spots in the tubing could trap water and cause a freeze-up problem.
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:07 PM   #11
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The bladder not only stops air absorbtion, it also doesn't support the growth of iron bacteria (rust stains in water and laundry, etc) like the steel tanks do. Usuallly take up a lot less space, also.

Pete and Rats
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:22 PM   #12
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Additional Water Capacity

I've thought about adding an accumulator and not only extend the life of my water pump, but also add to my water storage capacity.

Any thoughts?

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:29 PM   #13
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I installed a length of 2 inch PVC pipe (vertically) with end caps in my system. The purpose of this make shift acumulator is to prevent short cycling of the pump. It works OK. I put a small air bleed valve in the top of it so I can easily drain it for the winter. a single hose comes out the bottom and connects to the discharge side of the demand pump. So Far (two seasons) I have not needed to depressurize and drain the accumulator before winterize time. It seems that the minimal contact area above the water does not ''soak'' up enough air to get water logged before the end of the season.

Has any one else tried this or similar tricks? Any known gotchas with doing this?
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Old 03-16-2003, 08:02 PM   #14
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Accumulaters

Hi everybody... On my bus conversion I used a pressure on demand pump and it normally ran steady if a tap was opened and would only cycle if you had a drip someplace. I used this system because if a leak was sprung you would only leak water until you hit the main pump switch. With a tank you will run out the tank capacity before the pump comes on and you realize that you have a problem and could result in some damage. At home with the well we used to use a small tank which gave us fresh cold water for drinking in short order but now use a 12 gallon tank. Whatever works... P.S. Hoping to go to Qualicum Bay on Vancouver Island in June and wanted to know where abouts is Ripple Rock CG?? Benny
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