We noticed recently that our whale gulper wasn’t removing shower water as efficiently as it once was. Out came the head torch!
What’s a Whale Gulper
A Whale Gulper is a device that sucks the grey water waste out of the shower on a narrowboat and pumps it into the canal. It is probably called a gulper because of the loud gulping noise that it makes!
We are using a product called Whale Gulper 220. It runs on 12v power. There are two pipes connected to this – one from the shower drain and one going to the outside of the boat. There are two wires which connect to the power and an on/off switch which we have mounted on the wall next to the shower.
What did we do?
Our gulper is located in the base of one of our kitchen cupboards so we had to empty this to get access. Once we had access, it was simply a case of disconnecting from the power and removing the gulper.
We then undid two screws which hold the blue clamp ring in place. With these removed, we could then remove and clean the valves.
It is also possible to remove an additional screw holding the suction pump in place. We didn’t do this because the condition of the pump was good and there was no need.
What was the real problem?
The pipe that connects the gulper to the outside world is L shaped. The cats love playing with tin foil balls. We both have long hair. A cat (I am assuming Munchy) played with a small foil ball in the shower. A human had a shower and the foil ball got sucked along with the water through the gulper. It wedged in the 90 degree bend in the pipe along with some hair. Over time, more hair got trapped and so the pump was no longer able to extract water at the usual rate.
The solution in the end was to use a wire pipe cleaner to clear the blockage. Anna spent an hour sat on the grass poking the pipe cleaner through the hole in the hull until she was finally able to dislodge the tin foil (and the hair).
They aren’t expensive to buy and we recommend every boat owner has one in their toolbox. Here is an Amazon link if you want to get one. They are of course available in other places. I think we got ours in a pound shop…