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Old 29-07-2014, 06:11   #1
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Odour filter issues

Just wondering how often people need to change their odour filters - we have a raw/salt water toilet with holding tank and spend probably two weeks of every month on the boat. We find that the odour filter doesn't seem to last more than about 6 months before we start to 'smell' the toilet every time we flush it. We do flush it out thoroughly when we leave the boat and use a toilet/holding tank conditioner sitting in there when we are not on the boat.
Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 29-07-2014, 06:38   #2
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Re: Odour filter issues

^^ More details, please. There are multiple failure modes.

* What brand?
* How is it mounted? Detailed, since the problem could be that it is getting holding tank over-flow or splash when the tank is full. Big problem on power boats.
* Is it possible for seawater to enter the vent in certain seas or operating speeds? If the filters gets liquid wetted, it is done.
* Are you certain the smell is from the vent (station someone near the fitting when flushing? It could be the saltwater entering the bowl.
* What treatment? some can damage filters or simply do not work The "blue" treatments are a big no-no.

This is relatively heavy usage, so a larger size might be the cure (Big Orange). I would also suggest cutting a spent filter open to see if there is either salt or blackwater inside.
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Old 29-07-2014, 06:50   #3
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Re: Odour filter issues

Thanks for the info - interesting to hear about the blue stuff. Cant remember what it is called but it was recommended for motorhomes and marine and we just use it to kill the bugs from the seawater sitting in the tank and toilet system while the boat is not in use. What else do you suggest we use? Thought about just using a toilet cleaner but worried about the bleach causing any rubbers or parts to deteriorate.

The filter we have is the big orange but we have tried a few different ones. We did initially have issues with the filter falling over and also over-filling the holding tank but now we have situated the filter higher and secured it better. Shouldn't be able to get water in it but will definitely cut it open and see what is clogging it when we take it out

The smell is definitely caused by the filter - doesn't actually smell in the toilet and when we replace the filter we have no problem again for about 6 months. I just thought they should last about a year
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Old 29-07-2014, 06:54   #4
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Re: Odour filter issues

We don't have a filter and only notice odors when the tank wasn't empty before leaving it for a couple of weeks. We always pump out a gallon or two of fresh after emptying.

I know this isn't helping with the filter question but I am wondering if you should just try removing the filter to see if it really doing anything useful.


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Old 29-07-2014, 07:03   #5
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Re: Odour filter issues

Interesting point -might try without it for a while and see what happens.
We also flush clean water through before leaving it and then add that blue stuff - do you add anything to yours?
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Old 29-07-2014, 07:39   #6
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Re: Odour filter issues

Generally we don't add any of the blue stuff. I've heard good things about Odorlos though we have never used it. I believe it helps the natural processes breakdown the waste. The idea about removing the filter is to be sure that the vent hose is clear to allow air to enter the tank. Search for "head ordor peggy hall". Peggy Hall is considered the expert and you will find many threads with her contribution or references to other posts by her.

Thinwater's suggestion about checking for contamination of the filter makes sense too.
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:30   #7
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Re: Odour filter issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by amandasearle View Post

Thanks for the info - interesting to hear about the blue stuff. Cant remember what it is called but it was recommended for motorhomes and marine and we just use it to kill the bugs from the seawater sitting in the tank and toilet system while the boat is not in use. What else do you suggest we use? Thought about just using a toilet cleaner but worried about the bleach causing any rubbers or parts to deteriorate.

Some bugs (aerobic bacteria) are good, and chlorine isn't good for good bugs.

Search KO (Peggie Hall), Odorlos, maybe Noflex Digestor, etc. to find the huge body of knowledge about sanitation systems and treatment products. Compatible cleaning products should be chosen -- e.g., CP (Peggie Hall again).

We only have to change our filter approx. every 2+ years or so, but we also have a freshwater system so that's maybe a factor.

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Old 29-07-2014, 09:41   #8
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Re: Odour filter issues

Reinventing the Wheel 101, yet again.

Yes, look up Peggie Hall's work, she wrote an entire book on Boat Odors.

Get rid of the filter, it stops fresh air from getting into the tank.

Find Odorlos and use it.

T your head intake into your head sink drain and use fresh water for thew last flush of the day (or before leaving your boat), to kill the seawater nasties in that short hose.

Get Rid of Boat Odors
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:42   #9
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Re: Odour filter issues

Ranger 42 has it. The blue stuff is the problem. Some formulations contain formadahyde, which can fry the filter all by itself, and all of the perfumes are trouble (kill the carbon). The stuff should be off the market. As Ranger and Peggy point out, you are trying to cultivate the right bugs, not kill them all (because you won't kill them all, and because they do some good things). Sterilizing treatments are hard on hoses, pump components, and DON"T WORK. I did 3 years of side-by-side holding tank testing of many brands.

Look for a an enzyme based product or something with nitrate (Odorlos, Camco TST, Happy Camper, Bactank T3, Forespar Refresh, Raritan KO).

I'm at 4 years.
Sail Delmarva: Holding Tank Odors vs. Carbon Vent Filter

---

And (Sorry Stu, but I doubt you have actual experience in this area. And Peggy is experienced, but not in the proper installation of filters) filters can and do work better than chemicals, depending on the installation and situation. They provide not just reduced odor, but zero (you can put you nose up to the fitting during a flush), and with very long life time if engineered properly. Not an opinion, but the result of both long term on-boat and laboratory comparison. That said, increased ventilation and good treatments work very well too.
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Old 29-07-2014, 09:55   #10
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Re: Odour filter issues

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And (Sorry Stu, but I doubt you have actual experience in this area. And Peggy is experienced, but not in the proper installation of filters) filters can and do work better than chemicals, depending on the installation and situation. They provide not just reduced odor, but zero (you can put you nose up to the fitting during a flush), and with very long life time if engineered properly. Not an opinion, but the result of both long term on-boat and laboratory comparison. That said, increased ventilation and good treatments work very well too.
I do, but not as much as you do.
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Old 29-07-2014, 12:01   #11
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Re: Odour filter issues

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I do, but not as much as you do.
I was rude. My apologizes.

There is little doubt in my mind that for most people, who are not willing to make a careful install, that a big (1-1/2"), short (<4') vent line and a biologically active treatment are better choices. I chose a filter because the builder placed the vent up-wind of a hatch, of all places. And I use a treatment too, since I like to keep the bowl clean and it help, to ease pump-outs, and because a belt and suspenders works.

I actually spray treatment into the bowl more or less regularly, and find it keeps the toilet cleaner and helps with stale flush water smells too.

http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/20...hing-lazy.html


Seems to keep it clean with minimal effort

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Old 29-07-2014, 13:41   #12
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Re: Odour filter issues

Thanks for all the input. Will stop using the blue and see if I can get Odorles or a similar product.

On giving it more thought, the filter, when it works, works well - just got to find a way of making it last. If we took the filter off, we would probably get the same smell that we are getting now.
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Old 29-07-2014, 13:52   #13
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Re: Odour filter issues

You also might try using fresh water to flush just before you leave the boat. Salt water has a lot of organics that stink if left sitting for awhile.
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Old 29-07-2014, 14:01   #14
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Re: Odour filter issues

Peggie Hall has been basically singing the same song for 20-30 years, and it has withstood the test of time. Add me to the chorus, do what Peggie says because there is no better source for this information.
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Old 29-07-2014, 21:15   #15
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Re: Odour filter issues

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Peggie Hall has been basically singing the same song for 20-30 years, and it has withstood the test of time. Add me to the chorus, do what Peggie says because there is no better source for this information.
And much has changed in 20-30 years. On some things my tune has remained invarient, but in some things my tune has changed with the times, often not quickly enough.
* HMPE
* GPS
* PFDs
* Engine coolants
* Engine oils
* Solar panels
* Tablet navigation
* Electric ignition
* Improved anchors
* Medicine

... Often it boils down to learning the new technology. Let's not be Luddites.
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