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Author Topic: Head Hoses 101: Head Flushing/Hose trouble  (Read 3664 times)
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Mike and Joanne Stimmler
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« on: July 02, 2010, 08:13:54 PM »

I had been having intermittant problems with flushing the head. When trying to pump the handle, you would get tremendous resistance as if there was a blockage and you could not force it down. A dockmate recommended that I just put more pressure on it and try to force it  to clear the blockage. I tried this and it actually started working and was pumping and flushing just fine. This happened twice and I was able to clear it by forcing it.........until last weekend. It wound not budge at all on the down stroke and so the adventure begins. I took apart the pump assembly to check the joker valve and the flapper gasket at the bottom. The 0 ring was obviously good with all the pressure it was creating. So now cones the hoses. First of all I was expecting to get a blast of nasty stuff when opening up the hose connections but just the normal residual came out which was bad enough. We checked the short piece between the head and the Y valve and it had some build up but was not blocked. Next the longer length between the Y valve and the holding tank. First of all I had never used the Y valve and it was frozen solid, wouldn't budge. We opened up the hose connections and found our problem.I was expecting to find a paper or cloth plug but what we found was a solid build up of salt in the hose to the point that when we took out the hose and tried to pour water in the top, none came out the bottom. Also I took apart the Y valve and it to was plugged solid.

The attached picture will give you an idea of the blockage. Has anyone run into this solid of a blockage?


* IMG_0060 (Small).jpg (41.24 KB, 640x480 - viewed 1232 times.)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 07:49:05 PM by Stu Jackson » Logged

Mike and Joanne Stimmler
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Stu Jackson
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2010, 12:31:46 AM »

Mike, I doubt if anyone has seen that kind of buildup in the way you have shown it.  Peggie Hall recommends regular shots of vinegar to help retard the buildup of scale inside the line to the holding tank.  I suggest you contact her here: http://forums.catalina.sailboatowners.com/forumdisplay.php?f=31  She'll love your pictures for "evidence."  Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  San Francisco Bay, SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

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Craig Illman
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2010, 09:29:51 AM »

Mike - That's another good reason to flush with fresh water. I believe the ammonia in urine precipitates out the salt from sea water. White vinegar not only helps deter this, but deals with odor as well. Peggy Hall's book is a great reference.

Craig
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2010, 10:15:55 AM »

Flushing with fresh or salt water is not as important as flushing sufficiently. If the contents of the bowl are not flushed past the vented loop, the salt (either in the water or your urine) will crystallize in the hose. We usually pump 10-12 strokes to ensure the line is clear. This is especially important before leaving the boat.
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Mike and Joanne Stimmler
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2010, 02:27:56 PM »

I'm pretty sure this was the original hose from the factory, so we're talking about 21 years of build up.
The pictures show a partial opening but the total blockage was at the low point in the system, which was where it goes under the nav station and it was solid. I'm surprised we were able to use it thus far!
The good side is that we now have the new white sanitation hoses that should remove any smell(although we never had a major smell problem) and the head flushes just fine.
I also had to apologise to the ladies on board for accusing them of flushing unmentionables down the head   Crying

Live and learn
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Mike and Joanne Stimmler
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cmainprize
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2010, 01:56:49 PM »

What are you eating?
LOL
That's incredible it still worked.

Cory
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Cory Mainnprize
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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2010, 02:23:07 PM »

I was able to take the Y valve appart and clean it but it was quite a project using a pen knife and a dremel tool. It was amazing how strongly the calcium like substance bonded to the surfaces of the valve. After it was cleaned, I sprayed it thoroughly with silicone spray and put silicone grease on the O ring and all is well. I'll have to remember to exercise that valve once in a while since I have never used it in the four years I have had tie boat.
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Mike and Joanne Stimmler
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Ron Hill
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2010, 04:48:22 PM »

Mike : I had the same kind of blockage last year in the hose from head to the "Y" valve   - it took 22 years, but it was stopped SOLID.  We frequently use "toilet bowl cleaner" and sometime a shot of bleach - it still clogged up, but it was only that one hose!?!

Solution - I replaced all of the hoses and the "Y" valve.  You might also consider double clamping all of the hose connection along with each thru hull.
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Ed Shankle
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2010, 01:56:38 PM »

Why not eliminate the Y valve? Do you have a macerator? I thought Y valves were illegal in most harbors?

Ed
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Ed Shankle
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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2010, 08:12:56 PM »

Ed,
My understanding is that it's a local issue depending on where you are. Possibly inland waters that don't have access to the ocean may prohibit the ability to discharge overboard. Some harbors(like Catalina, California) direct you to flush a dye tablet through your head to prove that you are flushing into a holding tank and not overboard.
Personally, I have never had the need to flush directly overboard. We use the holding tank then either use a pump out facility or pump out with the macerator if we're 3 miles or more off the coast.
I think it's still good to have the ability to flush overboard if necessary.

Mike
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Mike and Joanne Stimmler
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Peggie Hall
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 01:39:43 AM »

Mike : I had the same kind of blockage last year in the hose from head to the "Y" valve   - it took 22 years, but it was stopped SOLID.  We frequently use "toilet bowl cleaner" and sometime a shot of bleach - it still clogged up, but it was only that one hose!?!
Solution - I replaced all of the hoses and the "Y" valve.  You might also consider double clamping all of the hose connection along with each thru hull.

Oh dear...  NEVER use household chemical bowl cleaners, bleach or any cleaners that contain bleach in a marine toilet...they're highly destructive to the rubber parts in toilet pumps and weaken hose resistance to odor permeation.  Other no-no's include pine oil cleaners, Lysol, Vaseline or any other petroleum based products.

ABYC standards call for double clamps on all sanitation system hose connections and/or any other lines connected to below waterline thru-hulls.  Screws should be 180 degrees apart...or at least 90 degrees if access won't allow 180.

Re macerator pumps and direct overboard discharge of tanks and toilets:  It's illegal to flush untreated toilet waste directly overboard or dump a tank in ALL US coastal and inland waters...you must be in open ocean at least 3 miles from the nearest point on the whole US coastline or nearest island to do either.  However, the discharge of treated sewage from the USCG certified Type I or II MSD (treatment device, e.g. the Raritan Lectra/San or Electro Scan) is legal in most coastal waters and in most parts of navigable interstate waterways (rivers). 
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Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since 1987
Author "Get Rid of Boat Odors - A Guide To Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor"
http://shop.sailboatowners.com/prod.php?51996
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