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Old 01-03-2011, 07:42   #31
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

I'm not saying that a strainer isn't sometimes needed...it can be, especially in warm shallow waters that are especially "organic." I've had to deal with both animal and vegetable sea life--weeds, minnows, little bitty shrimp, even a baby octopus (did it ever stink!)--that have been pulled into the head intake. What I am saying is that just installing a strainer won't cure intake odor... 'cuz a strainer can't trap the bacteria and other micro critters in stagnant sea water and even some lake and river water are the main source of odor in water that's allowed to sit and stagnate anywhere...especially in the anaerobic environment inside a head intake hose and toilet pump. The only cure: flush the sea water out of the WHOLE system before it can stagnate. Just pouring fresh water into the bowl doesn't work, 'cuz nothing in the bowl recirculates--at least it shouldn't!--through the intake. But there is a very simple way to do that on most boat on which the sink drain thru-hulls are below the waterline: reroute the head intake line to tee it into the head sink discharge line just above the thru-hull. Last thing, after you've closed all the seacocks (you DO close all the seacocks when leaving the boat!), fill the sink with clean fresh water...flush the toilet. Because the thru-hull is closed, the toilet pulls the water out of the sink...rinsing out the intake line, pump, channel in the rim of the bowl AND the discharge line.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:55   #32
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Many years ago, while bareboating in the BVIs, the charter company told us to use "Lemon Fresh Joy" dishwashing soap- squirt it around the rim of the toilet basin every day, and the head will stay smelling fresh. We used that technique while cruising in the tropics for several years, as well as at home, and it has worked well. We use any scented dishwashing soap, although prefer the lemon scents. It also helps lubricate the rubber parts of the pump.
Also, Simple Green works well for eliminating soap scum/smell in the shower bilge. Use very hot water and let it soak there for awhile, before pumping it all out.
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Old 01-03-2011, 21:14   #33
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

what is a compost head, please?
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Old 01-03-2011, 21:18   #34
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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what is a compost head, please?
Here's one example Nature's Head Composting Toilets - The environmentally sustainable waterless toilet for Your Boat, RV, Cabin, Big Rig, Barn, Workshop, or Yurt!
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Old 01-03-2011, 21:53   #35
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

i find my regular sea water marine toilet works well and doesnt smell if and when i flush seawater thru it for a couple of minutes-- to completely clear the lines. i also use vinegar. works well. i use oil -- salad oil is fine-- after i use the vinegar.
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Old 01-03-2011, 22:35   #36
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Once I arrived here in the Bahamas, that's when I really started to get that smelly crust in the bowl. The water here is chock full of dissolved calcium carbonate. In fact most of the "sand" here is actually tiny spheres of precipitated and accreted Ca CO3.
I tried everything to try to scrub away that crust - no luck. In the process the chemicals damaged the gaskets and now I have to take it apart and replace. Then I tried the vinegar - wow! crust gone and no scrubbing. Now I always rinse bowl and hoses with fresh water. No crust and smell almost gone - what's left is from the leaking gaskets and will soon be gone.
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:59   #37
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

If you'll flush a cupful of undiluted distilled white vinegar all the way through the system at least once a week, you'll never have any sea water mineral buildup in the hoses. Use ONLY a cupful--any more is wasted. Don't leave it standing in the bowl...flush it all the way through to the tank or thru-hull. White vinegar is best because its more acidic, therefore more effective.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:12   #38
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pirate Re: The Head Smells Bad

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Originally Posted by At sea View Post
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...
Its micro sealife responding to 'disturbance' in their normal 'Phosphorescent' way... try it sometime... see how much life is really in your loo....
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:27   #39
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

The real magic, and sadly women will only know this second hand, is peeing off the deck at night and seeing the sea explode in patterns of light. Far superior to writing your name in the snow
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:48   #40
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

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The real magic, and sadly women will only know this second hand, is peeing off the deck at night and seeing the sea explode in patterns of light. Far superior to writing your name in the snow
I know .... men have all the fun!
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Old 02-03-2011, 13:43   #41
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Irish Lass...if you'll answer all the questions I asked in my first reply, I THINK we can solve your odor problem!

A friend just sent me this...I can't resist posting it:

As we get older we sometimes begin to doubt our ability to "make a difference" in the world. It is at these times that our hopes are boosted by the remarkable achievements of other "seniors" who have found the courage to take on challenges that would make many of us wither.
Harold Schlumberg is such a person:


QUOTED FROM HAROLD:

"I'm often asked, 'What do you do now that you're retired?'

Well...I'm fortunate to have a chemical engineering background and one of the things I enjoy most is converting beer, wine , whiskey and port into urine.
It's rewarding, uplifting, satisfying and fulfilling. I do it every day and I really love it."

Harold should be an inspiration to us all
.
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Old 02-03-2011, 13:54   #42
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

Dear Peg:

I love the quote from Harold ... thank you for sharing. Moreover, thank you for reminding me of the questions you asked. I can respond to some of these questions, however my husband is MUCH more proficient on the mechanical issues of the boat. And, because of the odor in (and around) the head ..... I avoid spending much time there. LOL

I will reply later this evening. Thank you for your help! It is much appreciated.

D

Before we can fix it, we need to determine the source...

Is the odor confined to the head? Or throughout the boat?

Is it always present? Or only when you first come aboard after the boat has sat, and goes away once you've flushed all the stagnant sea water out of the system?

The next question is a little tougher... Describe the odor. Is it a sewer odor? Or more like a sour stagnant swamp? Or a combination?

When, if ever, was the last time you changed the joker valve in the toilet discharge?

When, if ever, was the last time you cleaned--really CLEANED--the shower sump? If you don't have a sump--the shower drains into the bilge--and the odor is throughout the boat, when if ever was the last time you really cleaned your bilges and rinsed all the dirty water out instead of only dumping in some "miracle"
cleaning product and/or bleach and calling it done?

When I have the answers to all those questions I'll have a pretty good idea of how to cure your odor problem.
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Old 02-03-2011, 14:44   #43
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

There are a lot of solutions for this problem discussed here but I think that the core problem has been missed.
The quality of the flushing agent is the most important thing and if this is always clean (fresh water) and abundantly purged then there is no H2S and no smell. Unfortunately most boats have not got an endless supply of fresh water so they use raw water with gasses being formed inside the inlet pipe.
Why do these gasses form?
According to research raw/sea water does not decompose creating H2S. This is valid provided that the raw water is uncontaminated. Unfortunately most boats suffer from a design fault in the heads department where the inlet pipe is always put too close to the outlet with consequent reingestion of waste. This decomposes in the pipe when left stagnant, with the help from resident organisms, especially in summer.
The best cure is to put the inlet pipe well foreword of the outlet and if possible on the other side of the hull. There may be installations (as I have done)where swapping the 2 head inlet pipes will completely cure the problem.
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Old 02-03-2011, 15:08   #44
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

On many boats the sink drain and the head intake are the same through hull. It is possible to shut off the sink through hull, fill the sink and flush the head with fresh water. I have never had a head smell on my Tartan 37 by doing this regularly.
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Old 02-03-2011, 15:11   #45
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Re: The Head Smells Bad

From Peg:

Before we can fix it, we need to determine the source...

Is the odor confined to the head? Or throughout the boat?

Is it always present? Or only when you first come aboard after the boat has sat, and goes away once you've flushed all the stagnant sea water out of the system?

The next question is a little tougher... Describe the odor. Is it a sewer odor? Or more like a sour stagnant swamp? Or a combination?

When, if ever, was the last time you changed the joker valve in the toilet discharge?

When, if ever, was the last time you cleaned--really CLEANED--the shower sump? If you don't have a sump--the shower drains into the bilge--and the odor is throughout the boat, when if ever was the last time you really cleaned your bilges and rinsed all the dirty water out instead of only dumping in some "miracle" cleaning product and/or bleach and calling it done?

When I have the answers to all those questions I'll have a pretty good idea of how to cure your odor problem.


This is my husbands reply:

The odor is confined to the head and to the locker with the holding tank and holding tank hoses. The smell is always present.....Sewer odor as in the sweet smell you get in holding tanks (this is in my view or "smell"). The joker valve was changed about a year ago.

The shower sump is dry with no odor and the bilge has clear water in it (fresh from the ice box drain and/or from water coming in down the mast). I have used the cockpit shower instead (which drains directly overboard). There is no odor in the bilge.


My addendum: The odor is very difficult to describe. It is a strange smell, very nauseating. It smells nothing like human waste or stool. It is a permeating odor. It is worse in hot weather and while it airs out a bit when we open the hatches and are under sail ..... the odor is still being produced and the smell is strong when you go in the head and close the door.

Thanks Peg and to all those who have posted!
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