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Old 29-05-2016, 13:14   #16
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

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If that doesn't work, I'd recommend a stool softener.
Best post of the day. LOL.
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Old 29-05-2016, 15:12   #17
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

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Distilled vinegar WILL dissolve sea water buildup, but it's more trouble than it's worth because it has to be changed every few hours (something that most people--you included apparently--don't realize, and it takes forever. So muriatic acid, or better yet a product called Sew Clean
Sew Clean ® | TRAC Ecological, is the easiest and beats the socks off removing hoses to bang 'em on the dock and then putting 'em back.
The magic of vinegar is that it contains acetic acid at a very low concentration, somewhere under 10%. Acetic acid is also a pretty weak acid as acids go. Because it is an acid it will dissolve the calcium build up, however, because it is a weak acid it will do it slowly and because it is in a very low concentration, it is limited in the amount of build up that it can remove for any given volume of vinegar. Thus for some applications, such as removing a large buildup, it effectively does little to nothing to address the problem. A statement that is not much different than "it's more trouble than i's worth."

As you note, vinegar has to be pumped into the system and allowed to sit for some time and then rinsed with freshwater to be effective in removing small build ups before they start causing problems. I didn't want to hijack this thread from a failed joker valve thread to a how to clean your plumbing thread. Those photos were part of a discussion on another list serve, where I noted that in order to be effective as a preventative measure, the vinegar would have had to remain in the pumps and lines for sufficient time to work and that just pumping a quart of vinegar through the system wouldn't do much. (BTW, we miss you over on the Sabre Sailboat list )

Sew Clean was also mentioned as a solution. According the MSDS Sew Clean is simply Phosphoric Acid, the same acid that is in many rust removers and gives Cola drinks some bite (and softens enamel, but that's another discussion). A quart of Sew Clean goes for $26, a gallon of phosphoric acid on Amazon is around $35. Their advertising is also a tad misleading. They claim their product is "biodegradable" and I think that is a bit of a stretch. One of the by-products of reactions with phosphoric acid is phosphate, yes, that same chemical we've been trying to get out of the water and have eliminated from laundry and dishwasher detergent. Another product mentioned in this thread was CLR. A little research will show that it is mostly a couple of different acids. At one time CLR included phosphoric acid, it no longer contains phosphoric acid because of the environmental concerns.

To tie all this back to the OP's original concern, I came upon this heavily fouled y-valve on a "new to me" boat that had a chronically failing joker valve on a PHII. After replacing a couple of sections of hose, I stumbled up the fouled y-valve. As this was a freshwater boat, I didn't expect to find much if any buildup. I was surprised and a little suspect of the boat's history. Whether cleaning the y-valve has solved the problem will have to wait a few weeks until the boat is back in the water.

One last caveat about muriatic acid. I would be hesitant to use it at a 30% concentration in the head and plumbing for 2 reasons: 1) the reactions are very quick and produce a lot of gas. I'm not sure what would happen to the gas and whether it would cause problems with the pumps in the head; 2) I don't know what negative effects if any it might have on any metal or soft plastic parts in the plumbing system, it comes in a plastic bottle so at least some plastics are immune to its effects.
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Old 29-05-2016, 15:43   #18
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

Agree with Dave this is a bit of a thread drift. But instead of buying vinegar and acids and constantly having to try and flush then pipe work, why not jsut replace the pipes every 10 years. Okay its a rather unpleasant task but if planned in advance before it blocks up, not the end of the world.

I suspect the cost of 10 years of vinegar or acid is more than the cost of new hoses. Think we are on year 6 so a little way to go.
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Old 29-05-2016, 16:38   #19
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

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Agree with Dave this is a bit of a thread drift. But instead of buying vinegar and acids and constantly having to try and flush then pipe work, why not jsut replace the pipes every 10 years. Okay its a rather unpleasant task but if planned in advance before it blocks up, not the end of the world.
Sea water mineral buildup can completely block a hose in less than year, so that's not a viable alternative to hose maintenance.

However, any hoses that haven't been replaced in at least 10 years should be, because 10 years is the average working life of any hose--water, fuel, waste, exhaust--because rubber and plasticizers dry out over time, becoming hard, brittle and prone to cracking and parting company with thru-hulls.
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Old 29-05-2016, 20:18   #20
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

I've had a similar issue. My joker valves would last 3 to 6 months and I'd end up just closing hull valves to prevent back-flow. When we stopped flushing TP at the beginning of last season, our joker valve has not failed since. Granted, it's only been 6mo last year and 2 weekends of use this year, but still keeping the bowl dry. We were using sigle ply septic system TP, not the marine stuff... But anyway, we now have a bag we put TP in and nothing goes down the shoot that didn't come out the shoot, sorta speak. Seems to work for now.
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Old 29-05-2016, 20:54   #21
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

Clogged hoses, vinegar and many head odor problems simply go away with fresh water flush. Not to mention one less seacock that can sink the boat.

We use less than 5 gallons a day for two people to flush our Raritan Elegance -- no big deal with a watermaker.
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Old 29-05-2016, 21:39   #22
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

I replace mine about every two years, as a PM item. I also flush straight vinegar every couple of weeks. Salt Away several times per year too.
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Old 30-05-2016, 07:44   #23
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

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However, like most things, prevention is a lot easier than cure, and a cupful of distilled white vinegar flushed through the plumbing regularly--weekly if you're a liveaboard--will PREVENT mineral buildup. Flush it undiluted all the way through the system...follow with a bowlful of clean FRESH water in about 45 minutes. That's all you need to do.

Peggie, what affect -- if any -- would that kind of vinegar regimen have on a tank treatment product like KO (or Odorlos, or Noflex, or whatever...)?

-Chris
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Old 30-05-2016, 13:18   #24
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

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Peggie, what affect -- if any -- would that kind of vinegar regimen have on a tank treatment product like KO (or Odorlos, or Noflex, or whatever...)? -Chris
No effect at all.
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Old 31-05-2016, 04:37   #25
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

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No effect at all.
Good to know, thanks.

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Old 31-05-2016, 06:40   #26
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Re: My joker valves fail in weeks

We replace our joker valve annually. We liveaboard, 2 persons. Their life with weekly vinegar calcium removal seems to be about the same as the flapper valve.

Neat vinegar does work. Not that watered down crap though. We don't add mineral oil. It does nothing. The PO used it but running back to back tests showed it provided no benefit.

We dont find the need to use muriatic acid. We just chang the discharge hose every two years. It's cheaper than muriatic acid anyway. Ther is only ever a thin build up of calcium carbonate.

The flapper valve usually fails first with the weight falling off if we leave it longer than 12 months.

If you're using bleach or land based toilet cleaning chemicals you'll destroy the natural rubber quickly. Do not use anything sold as toilet cleaner or odor remover. It's all just pretty, expensive and no good for your toilet's internals.

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