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Old 16-11-2015, 05:24   #16
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Yeah good idea: Most of us keep installing hoses that are longer than needed: Honey, we got another $60 in the pocket, let's buy a long hose so we can have fun wrestling it inside the head area and uh, screw the constant slope.
You may be surprised how many boats come from the factory with randomly long lengths of hose containing many low spots and run whichever way was most convenient for the worker at the time.

You may also be surprised how many older boats still have this original run of hose, or replaced it by pulling the new hose through the same run as the old.

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Old 16-11-2015, 05:31   #17
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
As good as new? No. Make them work better again? Yes.
That may be an old meme, but as far as I personally am concerned, it's not unexamined.
Yes, it will remove the largest part of calcified blockage and make the hose work "better", but here is the unexamined part:

You have removed the hose. You have gotten only part of the calcification out of it. You have done nothing about the partial or full permeation that has occurred. If put back in service, the remaining calcification will only act as seed crystal to make further calcification occur even quicker. Permeation will also begin to advance quicker.

Now the big facepalm: You have the hose out of the boat and must re-run it again. WHY would you put the old hose back instead of just running new? The difficult effort is the same. It is actually MORE difficult to run the old hose than new, because it is hardened.

Don't say cost. That is penny-wise pound-foolish in this example.

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Old 16-11-2015, 05:37   #18
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
But because pouring something into the bowl is easier than removing a few screws to take the top off the pump, or the pump off its base, people still pour oil down the toilet.
I agree. We went through our phase of oil in the bowl, special expensive lubes in the bowl, etc and they would last maybe a day or two until the squeaking and stiffness returned.

Now, a swipe of SuperLube in the cylinder and it is good for 6 months. On our model, this takes less than a minute to perform.

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Old 16-11-2015, 05:55   #19
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Exactly. Vinegar can't CLEAN anything...but vinegar-distilled white vinegar, not cider--applied regularly ...but will PREVENT mineral buildup...
I disagree that this is practical. I do agree that acid regularly flushed into the hose can help prevent mineral buildup, but it is impractical in full-time use.

To work, one cannot just flush the vinegar through - it must fill and sit in the hose for a period of time (a 1/4 cup in 1 gallon of hose volume is going to be pointless - it is <0.5% acid volume then). And this must happen once or twice each week, because, as you point out, once scale starts, vinegar is pretty useless.

So it takes a hose run amount of volume, and the head must be out of service for a bit. Once or twice a week. Two problems:

1. How much vinegar is everyone carrying around with them? Where do you find this much vinegar out cruising?

2. I assume everyone has two heads so that they have one in use when the other is being treated? Even overnight, our head is often being used.

Short straight hose runs and lots of flushing after use and it will be years before any buildup occurs. Every now and then, do a muratic acid descale and it will probably be decades of use. Particularly if one uses PVC instead of hose.

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Old 16-11-2015, 06:13   #20
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Vinegar In The Head..? Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

Worth reading. Maine Sail's vinegar experiment
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Old 16-11-2015, 06:26   #21
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I don't know how well it works in keeping the pipes clean, but we clean the bowl with vinegar and it works great. About a cup of vinegar poured in the bowl once a week - leave it for a couple hours, then give it a light scrub with the brush. Non-toxic and it deodorizes, so what's not to like.
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Old 16-11-2015, 07:04   #22
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
I don't know how well it works in keeping the pipes clean, but we clean the bowl with vinegar and it works great. About a cup of vinegar poured in the bowl once a week - leave it for a couple hours, then give it a light scrub with the brush. Non-toxic and it deodorizes, so what's not to like.
Because it is too easy!!! Not enough work involved. Works great as you described and vinegar is easy to find everywhere..

My wife has even starting using it at home for the scale due to the hard water.
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Old 16-11-2015, 07:06   #23
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
----WHY would you put the old hose back instead of just running new? The difficult effort is the same. It is actually MORE difficult to run the old hose than new, because it is hardened.
Maybe because I was in a place where there was no replacement available?
I won't bother to tell you how broke I was in the old days.
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Old 16-11-2015, 09:35   #24
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I disagree that this is practical. I do agree that acid regularly flushed into the hose can help prevent mineral buildup, but it is impractical in full-time use. To work, one cannot just flush the vinegar through - it must fill and sit in the hose for a period of time (a 1/4 cup in 1 gallon of hose volume is going to be pointless - it is <0.5% acid volume then). And this must happen once or twice each week, because, as you point out, once scale starts, vinegar is pretty useless. So it takes a hose run amount of volume, and the head must be out of service for a bit. Mark
1 cupful once a week--even every couple of weeks--for about 45 minutes is all it takes to keep mineral buildup at bay...Surely you can find something else to do once a week for that long.

As for how much white vinegar can you carry aboard? The stuff is sold in grocery stores in quarts and half gallons...surely you'll need to re-provision perishable foods at least once a month and can store that much.

But....it's your boat and whatever floats it for you...nobody's twisting your arm to use vinegar if you don't want to.
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Old 16-11-2015, 09:46   #25
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I used vinegar a lot and finally removed some hoses. They were about half filled with buildup. Banged them around on the dock and got al the stuff out of them that way as I was not in a location where I could replace them. But obviously the vinegar didnt remove build up that was already there.
I used mineral oil now and then which seemed to lube the pump quite well.
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Old 16-11-2015, 10:02   #26
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
But....it's your boat and whatever floats it for you...nobody's twisting your arm to use vinegar if you don't want to.
It's not that I don't want to - I don't HAVE to.

Again, short straight hose runs and lots of flushing after use and it will be years before any buildup occurs. Every now and then, do a muratic acid descale and it will probably be decades of use. Particularly if one uses PVC instead of hose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I used vinegar a lot and finally removed some hoses. They were about half filled with buildup. Banged them around on the dock and got al the stuff out of them that way as I was not in a location where I could replace them. But obviously the vinegar didnt remove build up that was already there.
I used mineral oil now and then which seemed to lube the pump quite well.
It sounds to me that the vinegar didn't even help prevent that buildup. This is what I have seen and experienced in practice. That is why I called it an unexamined meme. In my experience, it doesn't work at all - vinegar is just too weak and dilute. Mainesail's article points this out - if it doesn't remove ANY scale during a reasonable time, how would it prevent that scale (prevention is regularly removing the small amount that has already formed)? If one wanted to stay on top of it, they would use muratic acid regularly.

Mineral oil is what is sold as the expensive specialty head lube. In my experience, it still only lasts a very short time and requires continual dosing. A swipe of Superlube in the piston lasts 6 months or more and takes almost no effort.

I just like our heads to simply work and not require any thought or high maintenance. They are one of the few things on the boat we never have to think about or pay attention to - and we are using the cheapest, worse heads made. If others want to continually toss salad dressing down them and worry about scale buildup, and pull their hoses and bang them around, that's fine. I was just trying to provide a different mode of set-and-forget operation.

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Old 16-11-2015, 10:06   #27
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Vinegar works real well as a scale remover. Never tried it as a preventative but I think a head smelling of vinegar is not great. Large amounts might also cause holding tank problems if they kill the necessary bacteria.
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Old 16-11-2015, 10:14   #28
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Did you read the posted link? Vinegar In The Head..? Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com

Even Peghall, who supports its use for prevention says it won't work well as a scale remover in any reasonable time frame.

The holding tank issue is another setback of regular vinegar doses.

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Old 16-11-2015, 10:22   #29
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by Tientos View Post
We used vinegar and bicarb for many years but now straight to CLR - no mess, no smell and no scale. But agree with others, ensure a long flush every time.

Hello Tientos

I have used vegie oil with success for 20 years on every head that I owned.
Never used vinegar as the oil did eerything that I wanted (deodorise and lubricate.

Never even heard of using CLR. Can u tell me more about using CLR please? How much do you use? how often? How do you use it? Just pour it in and flush?

Cheers
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Old 16-11-2015, 10:34   #30
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
True, vinegar works.
Don't be shy, pour it in there with cheap vegetable oil to lubricate.
(Turns into a Salad dressing)

Worked for me over the years and previous owner did the same.

The Head Mistress however said to not use the above cocktail.
Whatever, just pump the hoses clean after every pee-pee and every poo-poo.
At least 10 or 12 strokes on the handle.
Change your hoses to series 141, heavy duty stuff. Also changed my bilge pump hoses to the same 141. Called Tiger Flex or some such thing.
I lived on boats. Head maintenance is a big thing.
30 years ago I removed and overhauled the Wilcox Critenden "Skipper" head every 6 months to overhaul and clean it.
More recently I had a PH II manual head on my CSY sailboat.
Strong and easy to maintain, every 2 years or so. Plenty spare parts around and overall a good design.
We used fish oil for lubrication and to keep steep waves manageable.
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