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Old 16-11-2015, 11:37   #31
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
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. Mark
Not really. Vinegar--at least not in the concentrations that are likely to exist in any holding tank, isn't a bacteriacide...a cupful every week or so wouldn't have any noticeable impact in it. Oil, otoh, can create an oil slick on the surface that seals it, turning it anaerobic. Not much of a factor for liveaboards though 'cuz the frequency of incoming waste breaks up the oil slick often enough to prevent it from creating much of a seal. Tanks on weekend warriors' boats can sit still long enough though.
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Old 16-11-2015, 11:57   #32
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Where do I get your writings?
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Old 16-11-2015, 12:52   #33
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I use vinegar and mineral oil in the head, also flush with fresh water, helps to keep odors out
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Old 16-11-2015, 13:58   #34
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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I have heard recently both pro and con opinions about using vinegar to clean discharge hoses for the head. Regular flushing of some vinegar is supposed to help reduce scale build up and odour. I have also heard of testing this by soaking pipes in vinegar with no apparent benefit. Does anyone have a tried and true maintenance regime or are we just assuming the vinegar works?
Thanks.
Vinegar once a week works fine. We dont bother with any oils. In 2 years of living aboard we noticed no difference in using oil.

Vinegar used regularly stops the buildup of carbonates. It's acetic acid and it dissolves the hard scale carbonate. We use about 10 Oz and let it sit in the head and about 18" of the outlet hose for several hours.

We replace the flapper and joker valves in our Raritan heads once a year. The flapper valve usually fails catastrophically due to fatigue from the weight on the rubber flap.

The joker valve will start leaking allowing drain back.

Doing nothing is the worst. Using household cleaners is also bad practice. They kill all the good bugs.

Aeration in the black water tank is ideal. This allows the aerobic bugs to decompose everything. But first the anaerobic bugs do their thing. They are responsible for the h2s smell.

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Old 16-11-2015, 14:49   #35
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by boeing1 View Post
I use vinegar and mineral oil in the head, also flush with fresh water, helps to keep odors out
Flushing with fresh water pretty much negates the need for vinegar. This is a great way to reduce head scale and odor problems if one can manage it.

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Old 16-11-2015, 14:55   #36
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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. 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.
You Sir are correct of course.
I was thinking about my own experience when I re-plumbed my heads and never had a boat new enough to have factory hoses, usually previous owners had changed heads and hoses.
Spent un-told hours wrestling and cutting new hoses as the old ones were smelly and full of calcium and other stuff.
Also experienced the dreaded Exploding Heads..
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Old 16-11-2015, 15:57   #37
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I have used vinegar for cleaning the mineral buildup out of stuck valves, among other things. At 100% concentration it works, albeit very slowly. So putting enough quantity into a toilet frequently should keep things clean (but do pump dry first to keep the concentration high). While in Europe I starting using muriatic acid (dilute hydrochloric acid) in the head, which worked great to dissolve minerals but if left in too long would probably dissolve metals as well (I never had a problem though). But do be aware that the muriatic acid I bought there was 4% hydrochloric acid, and in the States it is 15%; the stuff here is very strong and needs great care in use, and must not touch the skin. YMMV

[Edit: to be clear, "100% concentration" of vinegar is actually only 4%-8% acetic acid, so quite diluted to start with. If using vinegar it would be better to get the type used for commercial pickling, at up to 18%. or use muriatic acid...]

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Old 16-11-2015, 16:21   #38
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I was once told years ago that the cause of the scale build up in the hoses was caused by a reaction between urine and salt water. Since then when ever possible we flush with fresh water. I have not had a scale problem in 8 years. We keep a gallon jug of fresh water next to the head. As an added benefit the head smells much sweeter, I think because we are not pumping in all the little creatures that live under a boat.

Just a thought and it works for me.
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Old 16-11-2015, 17:17   #39
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Where do I get your writings?
Here:

Get Rid of Boat Odors

A great read.
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Old 16-11-2015, 17:48   #40
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I'm going OT here, but it looks like the right occasion and it's something that's been nagging at me since the first time I spent a week on a sailboat.

Why, when everything else on the boat is marine grade stainless, are the heads made out of the cheapest available plastic? Would there not be a market for fixtures that cost a bit (2, 3, 4 times the price) more but don't break if you look at them cross-eyed?

(Once spent an afternoon cleaning the bilges of a small boat that had a flexible rubber holding tank, that had dried out after a number of years, that split at the seams as soon as we used it. You get the picture.)
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Old 16-11-2015, 18:10   #41
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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Originally Posted by AnglaisInHull View Post
I'm going OT here, but it looks like the right occasion and it's something that's been nagging at me since the first time I spent a week on a sailboat.

Why, when everything else on the boat is marine grade stainless, are the heads made out of the cheapest available plastic? Would there not be a market for fixtures that cost a bit (2, 3, 4 times the price) more but don't break if you look at them cross-eyed?

(Once spent an afternoon cleaning the bilges of a small boat that had a flexible rubber holding tank, that had dried out after a number of years, that split at the seams as soon as we used it. You get the picture.)
Really shitty, isn't it?!? :biggrin :

We really like our Raritan PHII. Plastic, but tons better than our old Headmate.
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Old 16-11-2015, 18:38   #42
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Why, when everything else on the boat is marine grade stainless, are the heads made out of the cheapest available plastic?

There's good reason why marine toilets aren't metal, but not all of 'em are made of the cheapest plastic...there are still a couple of mfrs left who build quality products, but they aren't cheap. You do get what you pay for in marine toilets.

The good reason they're not stainless: the same reason no metal of any kind is recommended for waste holding tanks: urine is so corrosive that the lifespan of any metal that's in constant contact with it is even shorter than the lifespan of cheap plastic. That is, except bronze. The first marine toilets WERE bronze...the Wilcox-Crittenden "Winner," "Skipper," "Imperial" and "Junior" (slightly small version of the "Imperial")...the Groco EB and Model K. Groco discontinued the EB, but still makes the Model K. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough profit in repair parts for toilets built to last 100 years, so except for the Model K for $1000, one by one they were all discontinued. Jabsco used to make a fairly durable plastic toilet...they were the first to pioneer the "disposable" marine toilet. Thetford bought W-C just to get get rid of the entire W-C line...today Thetford only sells Tecma electric macerating toilets. Only Groco and Raritan still build manual toilets that aren't made to self-destruct in only a couple years...the compact Groco HF and full size Model K and the Raritan PHI and PHC (which is the PHII pump on a compact base). None of the three are cheap, but with just minimal maintenance--keep 'em well lubed and rebuild about every 5-6 years--they'll last at least 20-25 years. All except for the Model K are available as "conversions" (everything south of the bowl)...all bowls that mount using a 4-bolt + pattern will fit all the "conversions." Check 'em out.

As for waste holding tanks, bladders have an average lifespan of less than 15 years...metal, even 316 stainless, only about 10 years. Seamless rotomolded PE with a minimum wall thickness of at least 3/8" will last as long as the boat and is the recommended material for waste holding. Ronco Plastics Ronco Plastics Marine Catalog
has been my first choice for 20 years...they make TOP quality tanks for a very reasonable price and have more than 400 shapes and sizes, over 100 of which are non-rectangular, and they install in fittings in the sizes and locations specified by the customer when they make the tank.
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Old 16-11-2015, 18:47   #43
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

The Lavac is pretty durable, due in no small measure to using a standard 1-1/2" bilge pump. The only potential issue is that sitting on the lid will break it, and then it won't hold suction to make it work. So don't sit on it. Duh!! I have a wooden seat which is hinged and folds down to cover the toilet when not in use. The only real problem is that the price has skyrocketed in the last decade, for absolutely no good reason other than it is now known widely as a very reliable product.

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Old 16-11-2015, 19:15   #44
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Can't speak about clearing hoses, but I know from experience that distilled white vinegar will clean the brown crud inside the bottom of a marine toilet. Let it sit only a couple of hours, and then mild use of a toilet brush leaves it new looking.
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Old 17-11-2015, 01:08   #45
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

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.......................
................... urine is so corrosive that the lifespan of any metal that's in constant contact with it is even shorter than the lifespan of cheap plastic. That is, except bronze. ......................
I've noticed that the Jabsco macerator pumps repeatedly fail after four to six years of service due to the corrosion of the four long stainless steel bolts that hold the pump body together. I have one, without the bolts, that I was planning to restore to service. I'll try to locate bronze bolts, but I was considering a coating for the bolts that might protect them from corrosion. 'any thoughts? I'll likely just insert new stainless bolts for another five years of lifespan.
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