- Adam Morris
Our Best Marine Shower Sump Pump Upgrade - I Finally Got Fed Up Cleaning Hair Out of Strainers
Updated: May 18
Connie had three Jabsco shower pumps (model 37202-2012). None of these pumps were broken, and I had multiple spare service kits for the Jabscos. I ripped them all out!
So Why Rip the Jabscos Out?
The short answer is that I finally found an upgrade, the Whale Gulper 220, that saves a serious amount of time and headache.
We joke that we only get a 1:1 ratio of time enjoying the boat vs time working on it — one hour of enjoyment means you owe one hour to the boat. Getting time back for the enjoyment part is precious. It all adds up so quickly, especially since we are juggling full time work and full time cruising.
Let's dig into why I started to hate the Jabsco and why the Gulper is a much better option.
The Problem with the Jabsco Shower Pumps
I didn't really get fed up with the pump, exactly. I got fed up with the strainers.
I was constantly chasing restrictions in the water flow. Most of the time it was actually from the strainer.
1. Those silly strainers can be a pain to open, requiring a strap wrench or some such to loosen them. Add to that cutting your finger on the end of a hose clamp, and you're having a great day.
2. Sometimes I think I cleaned the strainer from debris, only to put it all back together with no flow again. The entrance hole can be tricky to get all of the debris out.
3. The strainer for a shower sump is not the most pleasant thing to clean out
4. The seals wear out and allow air in, killing the suction. The strainer is another point of failure of suction as a whole, adding more places for air to get in if the hose or hose clamps deteriorate.
Whale Gulper's Best Advantage - No Strainer
No strainer needed! The Whale Gulper works more like sanitation discharge pump, in that debris in the water its pumping will not damage the pump.
It markets itself as handling "Debris Such as Food Particles, Hair, Fingernails, and Gels with Ease." In our testing, the claims seem fair. No clogging or issues after 9 months of regular use.
The noise between the two isn't really comparable. It's a completely different noise. I wouldn't say one is necessarily quieter than the other.
The Gulper has a more energy-efficient design (3.5amps) vs Jabsco's 7.5 amps. We try to keep ourselves off grid (well, off diesel), so every little bit counts.
The throughput is similar: Gulper 3.7 Gallons (14 liters) per minute vs Jabsco 3.4 gallons (13 liters) per minute.
In our experience, though, the throughput numbers are eclipsed by the advantage of not needing a strainer. We rarely got full output out of the Jabsco in a shower drain application. The strainer would quickly accumulate debris.
Was it Worth the Money?
The elimination of the strainer meant the elimination of headaches and maintenance. Despite the similar throughput numbers, the real-world performance of the Gulper far outstrips that of the Jabsco. The added energy efficiency is a bit of a bonus.
In my quest for a worry free sanitation system, the Whale Gulper has been a surprisingly significant upgrade for sure.