Thanks for all the replies and advice
so far. To clarify, I'll post a quick overview of the current
system setup. I didn't realize how much variety there was in how these are set up, so apologies for not including this information earlier.
I have 2 heads, both with the same system, but the two systems are completely independent from each other. I have a manual-pump head which draws sea water into the toilet bowl, and then pumps the bowl contents through a short length of hose to the holding tank. There are 2 options for removing the contents from the holding tank. I have deck fittings that allow a pump-out when available. The other option is to discharge overboard
, which I only do when at sea. There is a length of hose running from the holding tank to a standalone macerator pump. Then another length of hose from the macerator pump to the through-hull. To empty the tank, I run the macerator pump, which draws waste from the tank, chops it up, and pushes it through the through-hull.
Now a couple of follow-up questions based on what you all have said so far:
zboss: A manual pump is definitely appealing, as less prone to failure. Does it need a lot of clearance for the pump handle? My current
macerator pumps are tucked away in pretty tight spots, so I'd have to think carefully about clearance. Also, does that pump macerate as well, or just shove the waste out? And is there any reason I should want it to macerate?
belizesailor: If I take it apart to clean, what all should I be prepared to replace while it's opened up? I assume impeller and gaskets. Should I be prepared to replace the blades? Are there o-rings I need to know about? I'll look up a parts
list for my specific model, but any tips about trouble areas would be helpful.
shanachie: I don't think it's likely that I have a clog at the through-hull for a few reasons. I have a diver scrape my bottom every couple of months, so there shouldn't be a ton of growth, and any waste exiting at the through-hull should be macerated, which I assume makes it less prone to clogging.
NYSail: When you removed yours, did you have to make any changes to the holding tank or through-hulls? My through-hull is right next to the tank, with the tank sitting on the same part of the hull as the through-hull. This means the through-hull is even with the bottom of the tank. Would I need to raise the tank a little bit to encourage draining? Since the holding tank is below the waterline, I'm not really clear on whether it would drain at all, or if it would fill with sea water when I open the valve?