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Old 12-07-2013, 15:04   #1
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Adding ice to the holding tank...

Now bear with me, before writing me off as a loonie hear me out.
What about adding cubed ice and tank cleaner through the pump out outlet to an empty holding tank, then going for a nice jaunty sail. The ice sloshes around and dislodges some uh er stuff. Ice melts, pump out and flush.

Anyone try this, or is it an harebrained idea? When it comes to the head, I tend to grasp at even the craziest of remedies.
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Old 12-07-2013, 15:08   #2
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I have dound that 1/2 cup of Tide after pump out works really well. The ice cubes seems like quite a hassle.
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Old 12-07-2013, 15:14   #3
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

I doubt the ice cubes would bounce around enough to do anything

I feel you would get better results by taking the pump out hose off and hosing the inside of the tank down.

or you could try the adding some bio bugs and let them digest the sludge a while
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Old 12-07-2013, 15:21   #4
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

you might try Rid-X, but I should think the formaldehyde odor control chemicals that you probably have added would kill the bugs

My tank has an inspection port. Might try that, then you can just clean the tank out

If you're going ahead with the ice, add Comet for its abrasive quality. I'm guessing from the fact you're thinking of using ice that you're familiar with putting crushed ice and Comet in drip coffee pots to clean out the stains
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Old 12-07-2013, 15:25   #5
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

That sounds like an excellent idea to me. Low cost, low risk, and a high chance of helping with a shitty problem.
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Old 12-07-2013, 15:47   #6
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

I cant see.how.it could hurt.
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Old 12-07-2013, 15:58   #7
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

Ever watched when someone moved a glass with ice cubes in it? They usually rattle around the top of the glass.......


Putting most chemicals in a holding tank is a bad idea as they can easily kill the bacteria useful in decomposition thereby exacerbating solids formation and can also increase the odor problem.
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Old 12-07-2013, 16:06   #8
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

You may have a problem getting the cubes into the tank via the pump-out hose as it's pickup normally is very near the bottom of the tank. You may also need to use water to force the sticky cubes out of the hose and into the tank.

I have seen a pump-out station that would steam clean holding tanks by injecting the steam through the pump-out hose. It seemed to work but needed to be done regularly.

Good luck,

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Old 12-07-2013, 16:35   #9
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
Anyone try this, or is it an harebrained idea?
I'm leaning toward "harebrained."
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Old 12-07-2013, 17:37   #10
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

No, not hairbrained, I've heard this too. It might have been one of Peggy Hall's posts, but I wouldn't swear to it. I also think the recommendation was to add an environmentally friendly detergent to get the grease, too. Anyway, it makes sense and it can't hurt, assuming you can get the ice in there.

I agree about not using harsh chemicals though. One sure way to make the tank stink is to kill all the aerobic critters.
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Old 12-07-2013, 17:56   #11
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

I have done it in motorhomes/trailers but the head dumps straight to the tank on those. If you have a port on the top of the tank it may work in a boat.
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Old 12-07-2013, 18:02   #12
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

It's super common for RV'ers to suggest that. But of course, flushing a 5lb bag of ice down a RV toilet is much easier than trying to get them into a marine tank through the pump-out.

I've got lots more experience with my RV than with my boat - but the best thing is water. Lots and lots of water. The "stuff" in there is essentially water soluble. (poo, paper, etc... all are water soluble). It may _take_ awhile, but filling with water, going for a sail, pumpout, repeat..... That'll end up helping out alot. I'd also never let the tank go totally dry - have a bit of water in it to dissove/let the critters do their thing.

RV'ers also swear putting calgon softener stuff in there helps too (and it kinda makes sense, but not all that much). Of course, lots of RVers think that fabric softener sheets repel mice, clean windshields, and cure cancer.. So take that with a grain of salt.

I installed a "spinny flush thing" in my RV tank (http://www.amazon.com/Camco-40123-Quickie-Flush-Preventer/dp/B000EDOSME)

It works so well, I'm considering doing something like that for the boat.
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Old 12-07-2013, 18:05   #13
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

Ok, in the spirit of adventure, I'll give it a shot. We sail tomorrow. I like to use K.O. The tank is empty, so will pump out after sail and see...
I was more thinking of this as a maintenance thing, not to clean a filthy tank.

Wish me luck!
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Old 12-07-2013, 19:39   #14
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

In Texas right now, I imagine the cubes will melt before they even reach the tank.

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Old 12-07-2013, 20:28   #15
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Re: Adding ice to the holding tank...

It definitely wasn't... and there's a MUCH easier way!

All the sludge is gonna be on the bottom of the tank...the only thing on the walls is a buildup of animal fats that a tankful of water and a healthy dose of detergent left to "soak" for a couple of days will emulsify.

If you have a sea water wash down pump (or fresh water, if you have enough to spare for this), all you need to do to get rid of the sludge is add about 4-6" of water to the tank VIA THE DECK PUMPOUT...'cuz that sends the water into the tank at the bottom to stir up the sludge and hold it in suspension so it can be dumped out...then turn on your tank discharge pump and let it run while you continue to add water via the deck fitting. Quit when the water coming out is clean.

If you're unfortunate enough to be on inland waters where it's illegal to do this, it's a little harder, but not much...use a hose--NOT the same hose used to fill your water tanks!--to add the 4-6" of water to the tank, then pump that out...repeat...repeat...repeat...till you're pumping out clean water. Last thing, when no one is looking, turn on your macerator pump and rinse that plumbing out.

This only needs to be done a couple of times a year, and especially in preparation for winter or other extended layup, 'cuz you don't want the sludge to dry out and turn to "concrete." Nothing that won't also harm the system will dissolve that.
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