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Old 03-06-2010, 05:50   #1
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Plugged Head

I just got off a 4 day trip that I volunteered to crew on another boat. A very educational experience. One thing that I noticed was that the maintenance was possible overlooked on certain items which may have led to this question.

The head stopped working two days out and upon repair the 1 exit pipe right off of the head was completely filled in with crystals. I believe it is from urine depositing calcium or a similar substance. This substance had to be chipped out and eventually the pipe was replaced.

I have not seen this on my boat, although I have not purposely looked, any idea on how this build up occurs? Any ideas on maintenance to keep it from happening?

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Old 03-06-2010, 05:56   #2
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Absolutely standard problem. Seawater + pee = those crystals. The only solutions are (a) fresh water toilets; or (b) regular use of descaling agents. Some people use white vinager; others use diluted hydrochloric acid; others use different proprietary liquids.

Prevention, as opposed to solution, is best done by being sure everyone on board pumps the toilet enough to get the pee completely out of the pipes. No pee standing in the pipes = no scaling.

A very comprehensive thread on it is here:

We use the Jabsco stuff, which is supposed to lubricate the pumps as well as descale the pipes:

After every cruise before leaving the boat, we pour the stuff into the toilets and pump it through the system, and let it stand for a few hours. Then we flush it all out with FRESH water (pour water from buckets into the toilet bowls, while leaving the pump set on "dry"). Then we close the sea cocks and leave the boat.

Has worked ok for us so far (knocking on wood).

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Old 03-06-2010, 09:30   #3
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Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
I have not seen this on my boat, although I have not purposely looked, any idea on how this build up occurs? Any ideas on maintenance to keep it from happening?
The pipe needs to be repplaced as nothing get rid of the build up.

How to keep a new pipe clean?

Pump 20 times!!! Get the pee outta the pipe!

Problem with that is those folks who use holding tanks. Flushing that much would fill a holding tank in 6 beers.

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Old 03-06-2010, 10:23   #4
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