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Old 01-14-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
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Adding Water Pressure Accumulator

Our Airstream has no water pressure accumulator, so I decided to install one. They were on sale at Camping World. Shurflo Accumulator Tank - Hypro-shurflo Llc 182-200 - Fresh Water Pumps - Camping World

Here's why.

When hooked up to shore water, they always have/require an anti-backflow valve at the spigot. This locks water pressure inside the Airstreams plumbing and any expansion, such as when the water heater heats up (the new combo elect/propane heaters are extremely hot), can cause leaks as well as frequent spitting at the water heater pressure release. Opening a faucet with this high pressure behind it is also quite abrupt.

When without hookups, the water pump cycles with even the slightest opening of a faucet or flush. This pressure regulator holds about a liter of water under pressure to mitigate some of this, and generally even out the flow.

I installed it under the bathroom sink by disconnecting the cold water supply line at the faucet and connecting it to the accumulator. I installed a 30" stainless braided 1/2" I.P.S. to I.P.S. connector line to the other side of the accumulator and run that back to the faucet.

The accumulator has a standard Schrader valve that takes up to 125 psi, but the factory charge of 30 psi seems just right.

It's a more pleasant operating water system and little, if any hot water heater noise and spitting.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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Hi, I mounted my accumulator next to my water pump with my home made flex hoses. It really made a difference. I guess that you could put it almost anywhere on a cold water line. Maybe I should add another one in my bathroom like yours. [good idea]
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #3
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Hey guys,

Thanks for posting the pictures. I've read a lot of posts on installing these but it's nice to see some examples. I see this as being a mod I will likely do this coming spring and these pics give me some great ideas.

Thanks again,
Ron
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:08 PM   #4
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I installed one in my Excella, but have not installed one yet in my Tradewind that I have had for 3 years now. I really can't say that I have seen much difference between the two or felt the need to install one in the Tradewind. We usually boondock.

I guess that if you feel like your water pump is cycling too much, that is a good reason to install one. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Both installations look great BTW.

Dan
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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It's an item that should be standard equipment.

Note that there are some larger accummulator tanks (like the ones Silver Streak once used).

The new-to-me 1990 has a replacement pump from a few years back. But without the accumulator. Check comments by Lewster (Rv tech) about "smart" water pumps that supposedly don't need an accumulator.

This one looks good to me. Room to mount it, plus larger/better pump is available in combination from SHURFLO (this TT has a clothes washer/dryer plus will have whole house filtration at some point).

Shurflo 2/gl Stainless Model 3400

.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:23 PM   #6
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my 94 has one that was factory installed. It is hidden behind kitchen cabinets.
Surprised to hear that so many don't have one.
Al
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:25 PM   #7
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Also remember that the hot water tank has a head of air in it when you first fill the system. If you don't drain the system once in a while the air gets absorbed in the water and then you will get water dripping out the pressure relief valve from expanding water as it is heated. Then it is time to drain the tank and refill.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:56 AM   #8
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I have a 2007 Safari 27' FB. I installed an accumulator on the discharge of my fresh water pump. It did not make much difference in the cycling of the pump. I called the pump manufacturer and they do not recommend an accumulator on my pump. My pump has a pressure control and is a variable speed pump. The manufacturer said it needs a firm discharge head to operate properly. Older pumps without this type of control work better with the accumulator.

So I have a new accumulator if someone needs one.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:45 AM   #9
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'Hank, it should make a difference on cycling of the pump as well as other benefits mentioned in my first post. I wouldn't be without it now that I've used it.

Have you tried adjusting air pressures in the accumulator? It only holds about a liter of water but that is sufficient for many shots of water we commonly use during the day. I am surprised it has not improved the overall operation of your system.

I have also tried to maintain the air bubble in the hot water heater, but most of it goes away quickly. That is especially true since we bought the new trailer with the combo propane/electric water heater which easily and frequently produces steam out the relief valve. Many if not all of us with these combo water heaters are experiencing that "feature".

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Old 01-15-2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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Thanks for the photos!

I have been pondering one of these myself. My pump is mighty noisy and I believe along with some better vibratin isolation and an accumulator it would help quiet things down a bit.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:30 PM   #11
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Ordered this for my trailer and will install it tomorrow. I'd really like to thank you guys for posting this AND for the great photos. I sometimes feel like a "copycat: for all the mods of done to my new trailer, but every single one I've added has made me a bit more comfortable and most of them SAFER (16" wheels/tires). One add that I made proved really helpful this summer at Gooseberry Falls SP in MN. I'd installed an extra ShurFlo pump in the external compartment for the fridge (which I'd wired into the 12V circuit). With NO hookups, I pumped those 5 gallon water jerrycans into my water tank without having to lift, funnel or anything else. I felt SO smart with this idea -- which I'd read on AirForum. Anyway....thanks, guys!
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:29 PM   #12
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Install took around 30 minutes once I had the right parts. Lots of room to do this in my particular model. Since it's winterized, it'll be a couple of months before I can pressure check. I did check the air pressure and it's right at 30 PSI.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:26 PM   #13
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Thanks Doug....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Our Airstream has no water pressure accumulator, so I decided to install one. They were on sale at Camping World. Shurflo Accumulator Tank - Hypro-shurflo Llc 182-200 - Fresh Water Pumps - Camping World

Here's why.

When hooked up to shore water, they always have/require an anti-backflow valve at the spigot. This locks water pressure inside the Airstreams plumbing and any expansion, such as when the water heater heats up (the new combo elect/propane heaters are extremely hot), can cause leaks as well as frequent spitting at the water heater pressure release. Opening a faucet with this high pressure behind it is also quite abrupt.

When without hookups, the water pump cycles with even the slightest opening of a faucet or flush. This pressure regulator holds about a liter of water under pressure to mitigate some of this, and generally even out the flow.

I installed it under the bathroom sink by disconnecting the cold water supply line at the faucet and connecting it to the accumulator. I installed a 30" stainless braided 1/2" I.P.S. to I.P.S. connector line to the other side of the accumulator and run that back to the faucet.

The accumulator has a standard Schrader valve that takes up to 125 psi, but the factory charge of 30 psi seems just right.

It's a more pleasant operating water system and little, if any hot water heater noise and spitting.
I've been wondering what that thing was under the sink cabinet.

And Hank, looks like I had one and didn't know it.

John
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
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Tanks (sorry couldn't resist) for posting this!

I was just wondering is such a thing exists after I finally took my water heater off bypass for the first time (I'm a fairly new airstreamer) and seeing the improved flushing of the toilet and other pressure benefits. I then promptly ripped out the water heater and put in a tankless just yesterday. So I am going to add one of these. Maybe I'll try to see if I can get a larger one since I don't also have the water heater tank pressure in the system. Probably a very good thing to add for anyone gong tankless on the water heater.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:33 PM   #15
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I also have one under the kitchen sink in my 34'. Can a second be added by the shurflo pump under the wardrobe? I was thinking of adding one, because the pump is very loud at times (didn't know there already was one under the sink).
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #16
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Anyone with advice in size tank to use? I have a tankless water heater and have been thinking about a larger one than the little sureflo made for RV's but I don't know if a 1 or 2 gal is overkill. The little one looks pretty, well, little ... So I wonder how much of a difference it makes. I guess a normal water heater tank acts as a bit of an accumulator from what I've read and of course with a tankless heater I don't have that in the system which is the main reason I am thinking about something bigger.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:22 AM   #17
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I had a 1 gallon accumulator tank from Grainger on my old SOB. It had a single speed surflow pump and it eliminated all the issues discussed earlier. Used it for about 15 years. BUT, with the variable speed pump (not the OE Flowjet...but my replacement Surflow) I find no need for it. Once isolating the lines and adding the pulsation kit, I find my system runs to my complete satisfaction w/o an accumulator.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #18
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The little Shurflo takes up the excess pressure in the system that may cause water leaks, and provides a liter or less of water without the pump kicking in.

A second Shurflo may be okay, but I would think there is a point where the accumulator(s) becomes to large for the little 12 volt pump.

So then what, a larger pump, where does it end? I'm satisfied the little Shurflo does the job.

doug k
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:42 AM   #19
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The large one I used previously, as well as multiple Surflows just creates more on time....and likewise, more off time ( or less cycling). IF....you use the correct air pressures in the accumulators. I don't think it has either a positive nor negative effect on the pump...and pressures are never going to be more than the limit switch in the pump allows.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
The large one I used previously, as well as multiple Surflows just creates more on time....and likewise, more off time ( or less cycling). IF....you use the correct air pressures in the accumulators. I don't think it has either a positive nor negative effect on the pump...and pressures are never going to be more than the limit switch in the pump allows.
Rich, the pressure does increase when the water in the plumbing system expands due to heating of the water heater. The "bubble" of air in the water heater is supposed to take up this expansion, but especially in the newer Airstreams with combo propane/electric water heaters, it's not enough. The result has been plumbing leaks for some, and excessive release of hot water out the water heater pressure release valve for others.

Over a short period, the water heater air bubble is often absorbed, so the closed system can not contain the additional pressure due to heating of the water.

The smoother operation of the pump and system in general is a side benefit of the accumulator.

doug k
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