PS Advisor: 05/06
Bilge Pump Hose
Iíve searched the indexes of my PS library of 10 years of back issues, searched your online index, and re-read bilge pump test reviews but I canít find specific recommendations or tests of bilge pump hoses.
I have to replace mineóthe old corrugated, wire-reinforced plastic hose is brittle and has cracked. It seems like a good hose is essential to good pump operation. What is recommended? I would like to have a smooth bore hose to reduce pressure drop. Is wire reinforcing required? Are there standards from the U.S. Coast Guard or American Boat and Yacht Council?
Indeed you are correct, using the right hose for this application is critical.
Regardless of how good your bilge pumpĖor any pumpómay be, if the hose canít properly support it, itís of little value. Ideally, the hose you use should be durable, smooth-bore as you pointed out, and resistant to bilge cleaning chemicals as well as the occasional fuel, oil, or coolant spill.
Unfortunately, there are no Coast Guard or ABYC standards or guidelines for the design or manufacture of bilge pump hose. We can, however, offer a few experience-related suggestions. The hose you use for this application should be crush and kink resistant. This means it should resist normal wear and tear as well as being occasionally stepped or sat upon. While many wire-reinforced hoses will fit this bill, this level of reinforcement often is unnecessary and it frequently makes the pump installation difficult. Wire reinforcement is beneficial and a veritable necessity for vacuum applications such as raw water intakes.
Several manufacturers offer dedicated bilge pump hose that meets the above mentioned criteria, rugged, crush, chemical, and fuel resistant as well as smooth bore (the smooth bore reduces flow resistance and lessens the likelihood of debris becoming lodged within the hose). Trident Marine (www.tridentmarine.com), for instance, offers Trident Vac XHD Bilge & Livewell hose that works exceptionally well for bilge pump applications.
Alternatively, you could use a heavy walled, ultra-rugged SAE J2006 compliant hoseóthis meets the latest ABYC and National Marine Manufacturersí standards for wet exhaustósuch as Tridentís Flex Marine wet exhaust hose. This hose is the ultimate in water conveyance for bilge and other below the waterline installations; however, itís heavy, thick, and relatively stiff, which sometimes makes installation in close quarters challenging.