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Old 28-02-2011, 11:48   #16
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Mine was terrible. I found the vent hose was so old that it was sort of collapsing on itself. I switched it out and it made a world of difference. Haven't smelled it since.
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Old 28-02-2011, 12:43   #17
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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+1. I switched to freshwater heads almost 5 years ago, and would never want to switch back.
Life is way to short to jerry-can water to my boat so that I could use freshwater for my head!
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Old 28-02-2011, 13:19   #18
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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I fought and fought head smell for years. Two different heads, completely replacing all lines, vinegar, etc. Never helped.

Switched to a composting head and would never go back. The only smell we have is a slight odor on deck for a split second that reminds me of walking through the potting soil section of a gardening store. Nothing even slightly offensive.

I see people hauling around the pump out rigs and I feel terrible for them.

I knew you'd like it once you tried it.
This past sail show in Miami the Air Head guy was there. My wife who gave me all the funny looks when I first suggested a composting head, went right over to their booth and said "My husband every now and then gets it right. This time he hit it out of the park." Even after new hoses, new heads, and new holding tank a few years ago, she had been fighting the smell issue for too long to make anything else worth the effort or cost.
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Old 28-02-2011, 13:27   #19
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

If it flushes nice then the valves are good so save the vinegar. If you pump it out well and flush it good with fresh water and it still smells you probably have permeated the hose aka "stink hose". It means it all has to be removed and replaced. You can't undo this. This becomes the measure of last resort after you do everything else.

Treatments for the most part don't work and attack the flaps in the valves as well as the hose. If you get a good clean flush and it has a good clear vent in the tank you won't generate the really bad stink. Oxygen starved sewage makes the most foul odors and contributes to stink hose. It's why a composting head work so well. With plenty of oxygen the stuff oxidizes faster and won't smell that bad.
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Old 28-02-2011, 13:29   #20
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

easy...replace the lines...newer line should repel the smell longer if the old ones were truly permeated....otherwise...use fresh water whenever possible or when stagnant water will be in the head for more than a day or so. Hundreds of happy customers through the years have loved this suggestion.
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Old 28-02-2011, 13:52   #21
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Thank you all for the great advice. Many great solutions offered here ..... I am eager to share them with my husband. I am sure we will start with the least invasive first and go from there. I will let you know how this turns out. Thanks again!
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Old 28-02-2011, 14:03   #22
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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Life is way to short to jerry-can water to my boat so that I could use freshwater for my head!
I understand that on some boats fresh water is even too precious to afford showers. But for a boat with ample tankage and/or an on-board watermaker, fresh-water flushing takes the majority of the stink out of cruising. (Assuming, of course, that showers are already being taken.)
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Old 28-02-2011, 14:14   #23
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

As Peggy said don't become too focused that the smell is the head. Last year I had a problem with smell and found that someone had shut the sink drain (we don't use that sink much) and the water it the drain line went bad. I'm glad I found this before I was about to replace the hoses.
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Old 28-02-2011, 14:21   #24
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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I understand that on some boats fresh water is even too precious to afford showers. But for a boat with ample tankage and/or an on-board watermaker, fresh-water flushing takes the majority of the stink out of cruising. (Assuming, of course, that showers are already being taken.)
You don't have to use fresh on every flush...just when the head won't flush for the next 24 hours or so.

Plus...some people would rather smell each other due to lack of showers rather than that smell some can't take thinking it is the bad smell of what a head is used for.
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Old 28-02-2011, 14:35   #25
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Yes ..... I would rather smell BO than that odor that is coming from our head. LOL And ..... it is not the smell of what a head is "to be used for." That smell .... I can handle, but this odor --- Ohhhhh NO. Nauseating. Apparently, according to this link and my husband .... it is the smell of calcium deposits with urine, dead sea plankton, bacteria, sulfites, other dead sea life, stale toilet water, old plumbing pipes, etc...... Too Funny. One of our friends won't sail with us because he says he simply is not going to pump his poop. LOL
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Old 28-02-2011, 14:56   #26
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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I knew you'd like it once you tried it.
This past sail show in Miami the Air Head guy was there. My wife who gave me all the funny looks when I first suggested a composting head, went right over to their booth and said "My husband every now and then gets it right. This time he hit it out of the park." Even after new hoses, new heads, and new holding tank a few years ago, she had been fighting the smell issue for too long to make anything else worth the effort or cost.
It's shocking more people don't use them. I don't want to come across like an annoying convert preaching to everyone but we're a full time liveaboard couple making it work.
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Old 28-02-2011, 16:58   #27
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Seems everyone's got an opinion to share on this one - so here's mine.

First, stop those little sea critters getting into the system with a raw water filter in the intake line. The stinkers lodge in the rim and rot and take a long while before they fit through the little flush holes.

Second, I capture the fresh water waste from the adjacent hand basin for a second flush. I do this by closing the intake seacock (which doubles as the hand basin drain) before using the basin. Then a quick couple of pumps leaves the used basin water in the toilet pipes etc.

I made both these changes together and the problem disappeared. So at least one of them worked.
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Old 28-02-2011, 17:07   #28
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pirate Re: The Head Smells Bad

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Seems everyone's got an opinion to share on this one - so here's mine.

First, stop those little sea critters getting into the system with a raw water filter in the intake line. The stinkers lodge in the rim and rot and take a long while before they fit through the little flush holes.
No way.... I like the way they sparkle and twinkle as one has a pee with the white light out...
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Old 28-02-2011, 20:42   #29
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

The sea critters that die, decay and stink in the head intake line and pump are way too small to be trapped by any strainer in the intake line...they're bacteria and other micro sea life. Teeing the head intake line into the head sink drain line is a great way to cure intake odor, but gray water (used wash water) isn't recommended for toilet flushing 'cuz soap scum, body oils, dirt etc aren't good for the toilet pump, but are also loaded with bacteria that can stink, especially if the boat sits very long in hot weather. So put a quart or two of clean fresh water down the sink to rinse out the system. And if you follow it with a cupful--any more is wasted--of undiluted distilled white vinegar flushed ALL the way to the tank, you won't have to worry about any sea water mineral buildup in the hoses either.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:06   #30
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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The sea critters that die, decay and stink in the head intake line and pump are way too small to be trapped by any strainer in the intake line...they're bacteria and other micro sea life.
Thanks peg, but it makes me wonder now what it is that "sparkles and twinkles" in the boatman's pan when the light's out.

PS: I dunno about sea critters but my strainer has been catching bits of weed and strange little slimy sea things that are none too easy on the nose...
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