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Old 02-02-2021, 18:29   #1
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Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Hi All,

I have a 36' boat that we will use for mostly day trips, some light cruising/overnights. Head will not see heavy use I don't expect.

Boat has no head at the moment.

I do not want to add thru-hulls below the waterline. I also want to minimize smells. I thought about composting heads and just can't get excited.

I would love input on my unorthodox plan. In theory, would the following system work:

Electric macerating toilet, plumbed to a Y valve with a holding tank and an above-waterline thru hull. I would place that thru hull within 6" of the waterline to minimize issues with hull staining/cleaning, but would put a riser loop in that line to avoid water backing into the system.

When offshore, I would direct discharge. When inshore, I would flush to the holding tank until it could be pumped out or I could get offshore again to drain it.

If this works in theory, I will have some follow up questions...

THANK YOU everyone!
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Old 02-02-2021, 18:41   #2
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Everything youíve posted works and has been done before.
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Old 02-02-2021, 18:47   #3
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Awesome thank you.

So, if the thru-hull is above water line, I will put a riser loop right before the thru hull itself.

1. Should I still do a vented riser off toilet? I assume the answer is yes.

2. If the holding tank can't be above the thru hull, any macerating pump should work to discharge right?

3. Can the holding tank vent be 12' from the tank? Seems to me that venting to the stern would minimize odor.

4. I cannot co-mingle my sink's freshwater tank and my head's tank...unless I fill the head from the sink drain, is there any way around having 2 freshwater tanks (1 for sink , 1 for head)

Anything else I should consider?

Thank you!
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Old 02-02-2021, 18:51   #4
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Donít see why it wouldnít work.
I understand a lot of people worry about thru-hull fittings below the water line but if done right, youíll never have a problem. If the toilet is above the heeled waterline no riser needed.
When ever possible, sewage lines should run downhill so sewage doesnít sit in them.
Many electric toilets use a 1 inch discharge hose. Thatís pretty small.
Iíd put the discharge a little below the waterline but it should work above if you are really that worried.
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Old 02-02-2021, 19:18   #5
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Thank you

The Johnson aqua T silent electric has 1/1.5” discharge ... no way to run the lines “downhill” with my proposed plan ... assume I should just use more water to flush the lines
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Old 02-02-2021, 22:07   #6
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

1. If the toilet will only flush into the tank, no. But there should be a vented loop in the line that flushes overboard. And it needs to be at least 6-8" above waterline at max heel, not just when the boat is at rest...which, on most sailboats including yours, puts it 2-3 FEET above the bowl. 2. The most common macerator pumps can lift up to 4', so the answer is yes. 3. Tank vent line should be as short as possible (ideally no longer than 5') and as horizontal as possible (rise should not exceed 45 degrees). Venting out the transom guarantees odor out the vent that may not annoy those on your boat, but anyone on the dock when the toilet is flushed while you're in the slip won't appreciate it, nor will anyone within at least 25' aft of you in an anchorage or on the water. I'll be glad to help you spec out where to run the vent line if you'd like to send me a PM. 4. I don't know what you mean by "co-mingle my sink's freshwater tank and my head's tank." If your toilet is one that's designed by the mfr to use onboard freshwater, you can safely connect it to your fresh water plumbing. If it's designed to use sea water, rerouting the toilet intake line to tee it into the head sink drain line is a very simple and inexpensive way to prevent odor caused by sea water left to sit and stagnate in the toilet intake. Because most sink drain thru-hulls are below waterline, it allows you to flush with sea water,--thus conserving your freshwater--but also provides a simple means of rinsing all the sea water out of the entire system before the boat will sit: close the sink drain thru-hull, fill the sink with clean fresh water, flush the toilet. Because the thru-hull is closed, the toilet will pull the water out of the sink, rinsing all the sea water out of the intake line, pump, channel in the rim of the bowl AND the toilet discharge line. I don't know what you have against it. Something else we can discuss--along with your entire head and tank plumbing plan--if you choose to send me a PM. --Peggie
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Old 03-02-2021, 20:58   #7
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

I have a fresh water head that pumps into an above waterline blackwater tank that discharges below the water line, could have discharged above the waterline but that would be yukky, the blackwater discharge seacock is easily seen and whenever away I close the through hull...... the system eliminated the seawater intake losing a through hull is a win.....
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Old 23-03-2021, 06:57   #8
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Hi Peggie,

THANK YOU for your reply.

So, incorporating your feedback, here is my plan. Critiques welcome. I am hardline on discharge above the waterline.

This is a powerboat.

Silent electric macerating toilet below waterline

Freshwater tank feeding toilet, below waterline

1" marelon thru hull, 6" or so above waterline, with marelon ball valve I'll close when off the boat

1" Toilet discharge line to 1" marelon vented loop about 12-18" above resting waterline, to Y valve with option for direct discharge, or to holding tank

Holding tank below waterline, with macerator on drain line connected to a 2nd Y valve tied into tank feed line/thru hull. That Y valve will also route to pump-out fitting.

1" holding tank vent, about 3' from tank under with no more than 45 degree rise
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Old 23-03-2021, 09:04   #9
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

My only objection to your plan is the toilet/tank discharge line above waterline...waste will definitely leave a stain on the hull. Seacocks aren't needed on above waterline thru-hulls, yet you plan to put a seacock on it anyway, so why do you insist on putting it above waterline? Your "fear" of below waterline thru-hulls guarantees that you'll be OCD about keeping it closed except when in use whether above or below waterline.

Any electric toilet designed to use sea water, whether pulling in sea water or from a separate flush water tank, will NOT be anywhere close to "silent." Some are a lot noisier than others, but all are noisy. Toilets designed to use pressurized fresh water can safely be connected to the fresh water plumbing and, while not silent, are very quiet...so why not go with one and eliminate the need for a flush water tank?

You can eliminate the 2nd y-valve by spec'ing TWO discharge ports in the tank--one for the line to the deck pumpout fitting, the other for the line to the macerator pump.

--Peggie
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Old 26-04-2021, 09:48   #10
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Peggie & All:

I have modified my plan to reduce complexity, and wanted to confirm this all looks ok?

I will plan to flush to the holding tank, then periodically empty the tank when offshore, and forego a direct discharge arrangement.

Freshwater tank to electric head
Electric head 1" discharge to holding tank, NO Y valve for direct discharge
Holding tank will have 1" vent as Peggie recommends
1.5" discharge from holding tank to macerator, to 1" discharge hose with vented loop 12" above waterline, to 1" discharge thru hull 4-6" above waterline

I assume because I'm using freshwater I dont need a vented loop between tank and head.

Other than people rolling their eyes at discharge above waterline, any issues with this setup?

Thanks!
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Old 26-04-2021, 11:04   #11
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Our 1981 Formosa 30 apparently had a direct discharge head, which had been replaced with a porta-potty. I'm getting tired of lugging the tank up to the marina bathroom, and haven't figured how to empty it while offshore. I have an old, never used, Jabsco macerator toilet which I would like to install. Question is, should I put the holding tank up high, behind the head, where it could drain by gravity, but require about 2 feet of vertical pipe between the macerator pump and tank, or down in the bilge, which would require a separate discharge pump.
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Old 26-04-2021, 16:11   #12
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Looks fine to me...I just have one question: Is your toilet designed by the mfr to use onboard pressurized fresh water? Or do you plan to connect a sea water toilet to the fresh water system...if so, HOW do you plan to do this?


-Peggie
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Old 26-04-2021, 16:25   #13
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Since your only objection to the portapotty seems to be the need to carry it off the boat, here's a Plan B worth considering: An "MSD" portapotty

The "MSD" designation in the model name/number means it has fittings for a pumpout line and vent line, and is designed to be permanently installed (actually just sturdier brackets than portables, so you could still take it off the boat if you absolutely have to), which means that although it's still called a PORTApotty, you don't have to carry anything including urine jugs off the boat to empty it.

A 5-6 gallon model is household height and holds 50-60 flushes...you'd need at least a 30 gal tank to hold that many from any manual or electric marine toilet and I'm not sure a "composter" can hold that much poop and organic material needed to absorb the liquid in solid waste(which, btw is about 75% water). No plumbing needed except a vent line and pumpout hose--so no new holes in the boat...and -0- maintenance needed except for rinsing out the tank--which you can do with a bucket while it's being pumped out. Total cost including the pumpout hose and vent line is about $200--a fraction of what you'd spend for toilet, tank and all the related plumbing needed. And the best part is, you have all the advantages of a toilet and holding tank without giving up a single square foot of storage space.

Assuming that you already have a discharge thru-hull to dump a tank, y-valve in the pumpout line along with a macerator or manual diaphragm pump would even give you the option to dump the portapottie at sea.

If this idea appeals to you, check out the Dometic/SeaLand 975MSD Defender has it for $169

Dometic SaniPottie 975MSD Toilet @Defender|

--Peggie
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Old 27-04-2021, 06:22   #14
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Looks fine to me...I just have one question: Is your toilet designed by the mfr to use onboard pressurized fresh water? Or do you plan to connect a sea water toilet to the fresh water system...if so, HOW do you plan to do this?


-Peggie
Hi Peggie,

Thank you!

Yes, it's an albin marine electric toilet designed for use with a pressurized system. I realize it's not the Rolls-Royce of marine heads but I'll give it a season or two and re-asses...

No problem with the holding tank being below waterline and the macerator having to pump it out "uphill" a bit right? Macerator says it can pump uphill to 4' so I assume not. No reply needed unless I'm wrong there.

Thank you so much again.
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Old 27-04-2021, 08:10   #15
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Re: Freshwater Head help -- Peggie Hall your input appreciated!

Albin toilets are actually pretty decent quality...they're a Swedish product, mfr'd in various worldwide locations, so the quality/durability may depend a bit on how much attention the "home office" pays to it. I couldn't tell from their website which of their toilets are designed to use pressurized fresh water...If you can give me the model name/number I'd like to bookmark the owners manual for it.


Your macerator would have to pump uphill to push tank contents over the top of a vented loop if your discharge thru-hull were below-waterline (where it should be!), so it should have no trouble pushing them out the above waterline thru-hull. Just make sure it'll be high enough to stay above waterline with full water and fuel tanks and provisions loaded. That weight can raise the waterline several inches.



----Peggie
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