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Old 17-06-2014, 09:56   #1
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Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

Our boat has acquired a new smell over the past couple months that appears to be getting worse. The best way to describe it is a mix of fiberglass smell and what we 'think' may be odors from holding tank system. We have read many of the threads (bilge, hose permeation, vent hose clogged, etc.).

It is a new boat as of November, 2013 so I would hope line permeation isn't an issue yet. Neither bilge (we have a catamaran) is wet or has ever been wet for any period of time. Our current theory is the vent hose may be the culprit and clogged as we did have a overflow situation. Since then we filled the holding tank with fresh water and forced a fresh water overflow through the vent to try and ensure it was clear. Unfortunately the smell continues. We haven't tried to flush the vent from the outside as others have suggested but may try that next.

Any thing we may be overlooking?

Angela
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Old 18-06-2014, 05:40   #2
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

Update

We back flushed the vent and then filled tank with fresh water and the vent is clear and overflowing fine and does not appear to be a clog. I can see quite a few have viewed my post but no comments. We welcome any and all advice as we are stumped.

More information, the most offensive spaces of the odor on board are in a locker in the saloon and under the sink in the bathroom. These are both connected via open air space under the floor so it is difficult to tell which is the source.

Here are some other things we were thinking about:

1) We have a sea water cooled dc power fridge that has hoses in the saloon locker with most offensive odor. Could the odor be from dead critters in the hose? We think this is unlikely as the fridge runs every day and has a filter at the intake thru-hull.

2) Since the holding tank drain hose is under the sink and that is a place for the offensive smell, could we have a permeated hose and if so how can we tell? Note again the hose is 7 months old.

Thanks
Angela
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Old 18-06-2014, 05:51   #3
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

To tell if a hose is permeated, wipe it with a damp rag and smell the rag away from the malodorous area. If the rag smells the hose is permeated.

Also keep in mind the black rubber sanitation hose has a foul ish odor when new.
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Old 18-06-2014, 05:58   #4
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

Thanks Sailmonkey. Just tried it and rag smelled fine. Any other thoughts?
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Old 18-06-2014, 06:00   #5
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

You said you had an overflow situation, what does that mean? Sewage overflow somewhere?
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Old 18-06-2014, 06:01   #6
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

Allow me to recommend this...

Get Rid of Boat Odors: A Boat Owner's Guide to Marine Sanitation Systems and Other Sources of Aggravation and Odor: Peggie Hall: 9781892399151: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 18-06-2014, 06:03   #7
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

Yes it was sewage overflow that came out the vent when head was used and tank was full (didn't realize it was full). The entire tank and vent has been flushed with fresh water several times since...
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Old 18-06-2014, 06:04   #8
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

We would love to get Peggy's book however we are cruising the Med and in Menorca right now and really don't have a place for it to be shipped.

Maybe Peggy can solicit her publisher to publish it via Kindle.

All great ideas keep them coming!
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Old 18-06-2014, 06:07   #9
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

Look for anything that can absorb water that might have gotten soaked during your overflow situation. Did some insulation get wet? untreated wood? foam rubber? fabric?

Also check all your vent and pumpout hose clamps and make sure all connections are tight. I had an issue with a holding tank, it wasn't leaking liquid, but there was a crack where the vent pipe was welded to the stainless tank. When there was liquid in the tank and the boat was bouncing, the sides of the tank flexed in and out due to the sloshing, and when it sloshed and flexed the cracked vent pipe "exhaled". So we got horrible odors only under certain conditions. And we were always too busy to stop and track it down under those conditions. Didn''t smell bad when the boat was on the hook or in a marina.
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Old 18-06-2014, 14:05   #10
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Re: Newbie Odor Hunting...Need Advice!

One of the things I'm found as a source of odor are things that collect water and don't get a lot of use: like sink drains and shower pan drains. Other sources are AC drain pans, fridge drain lines if they go to the bilge.

It is also possible if the smell is in a side locker that the source is something is a locker above it.
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