Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ??? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-17-2017 Thread Starter
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Question Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

Just installed a new holding tank. We have been using the shower head to supply freshwater rather than the saltwater supply which is still hooked up to the thru hull. With new holding tank I would like to use our freshwater tank to supply water to the head. My concern is cross contamination back to the water tank from the head. I want to do this but am hesitant and don't know the safe way to accomplish. Could use some advice on connecting head to existing water supply.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-18-2017
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

Sanitary code regulations for freshwater to a toilet/WC include that the water supply must have an 'air gap' to prevent retrograde contamination .... The supply water MUST fall by gravity through this 'air gap'.

1. Your current 'shower head' fulfills this requirement perfectly .... the supply water falls by gravity through a LARGE 'air gap' to the the toilet.
2. For concept purposes - Your household toilet + water tank system also has this 'air gap' to prevent retrograde contamination of the inlet water supply.
3. For a sanitary code-similar installation, you'll need a separate water tank with integral 'air gap' ... and good practice is to supply something similar a toilet tank valve in a similar water holding tank similar in construction and design as your home toilet/WC.

FWIW - A "Sloan Valve" would fulfill this requirement; but, boat water systems dont have sufficient pressure nor enough volumetric flow to operate a 'Sloan Valve'. However, you might want to check with https://www.sloan.com/commercial-bat...s/flushometers as there 'may' be teeny Sloan valves currently available due to enviro low flush water / low head toilet requirements .... downside is you'll probably need a much LARGER holding tank.

Obviously you NEVER EVER want to direct connect your freshwater system to your on-board head/toilet without an air-gap ... OR you risk dysentery, typhoid, etc. etc.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-18-2017
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

Put a three way valve between the head raw water intake, the sink drain, and the head intake. Normal flushing can come from the raw water intake. At the end of the day, switch the valve, fill the sink with fresh water and flush. That keeps the hoses and the flushing mechanism clean. Search for Peggy Hall posts. She really knows her "s..t".

s/v Harmony
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Anchorage Marina, Baltimore MD
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

Agreed, Peggy Hall's book is excellent....... she's the Head Mistress, as I think she calls herself. The book clears up many, many misuses of marine heads.

https://www.amazon.com/New-Get-Rid-B...KE2TV6V1YZRV1V

Personally, I think fresh water in the head is both unnecessary and wasteful. If you are using the head regularly, I see zero difference with using raw water. If away, I simply flush one bowl of fresh water, from the adjacent sink tap to clear the seawater from the bowl and waste line. The supply line still has raw water, with organisms that will die and you will smell them on that first flush, but it's simply that one flush. It's a boat opening procedure for us to clear that out, close the head door and open the hatch, and save all that fresh water for when it's really needed.


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post #5 of 16 Old 03-18-2017
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Sanitary code regulations for freshwater to a toilet/WC include that the water supply must have an 'air gap' to prevent retrograde contamination .... The supply water MUST fall by gravity through this 'air gap'.
Correct. The big issue with manual marine toilets is that the pump has intake water on one side of an o-ring and effluent on the other. To safely use fresh water you must either have an air gap (such as your shower head or @oldlaxer1 's sink drain arrangement.

An electric toilet (as-built, not a conversion) provides and air gap, and can be flushed with both fresh and raw water.

Fresh water flush means the rim of the bowl does not built up little dead critters that rot and smell. As @Minnewaska states, if you use your toilet a lot you won't have a smell problem. Unfortunately if you leave the boat even for a couple of weeks the smell can really build up, and rinsing/flushing with fresh water directly into the bowl won't clean the rim.

I'm very happy with an electric toilet we flush with fresh water inshore and raw water offshore.

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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post #6 of 16 Old 03-18-2017
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

FWIW I have a Vacuflush system which is plumbed to the pressurized fresh water system on my boat. The great thing about this system is that it uses one pint of water per flush. As Rich points out there is an air gap in the fresh water supply line between the valve and the bowl. (I don't understand his point #3). I am VERY happy with this system.

I have seen other people plumb the sink drain valve for use as their toilet water supply. The air gap in this instance is the distance from the bottom of the faucet to the sink drain.


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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
FWIW I have a Vacuflush system which is plumbed to the pressurized fresh water system on my boat. The great thing about this system is that it uses one pint of water per flush.......
That is a pretty good exception to my rule. To properly flush a regular head, one should be using between 1 and 3 gallons of water, per flush.

As I think about it, most head stink really comes from a permeated waste line hose and the OPs fresh water alone won't fix that. It's the smell on every single charter boat one's ever been on. Folks just don't chase the waste! Once the bowl is clear, they walk away, while the waste is still sitting in the hose. Just changing to fresh water won't fix this problem. Flushing more clear water is the only way......... unless one has the vacuflush.
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

If you have a Raritan head, you might want to take a look at this:

Raritan Fresh Head Retrofit Kit


It will convert your existing head to this:

Fresh Head |


Personally, I'm thinking about pulling out my Jabsco manual head and replacing with the Raritan fresh head. From the engineering diagrams, the footprint and bolt pattern of the floor attachment look identical, so it should be pretty easy. I hate using salt water and keep a small bucket handy to use fresh water from the sink. The Jabsco head is already starting to have problems after 3 years. I got the idea to replace it from a post I saw on here last week.

Anybody have any experience with the Raritan Fresh Head or using it to replace a Jabsco manual? I sure would like to get rid of "Bucky."
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
... most head stink really comes from a permeated waste line hose.....
Yep.
And all the air freshers you try will not fix it.
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Re: Freshwater head supply to H2O tank ???

We have a Compac 27, 55 gal water and now 15 gal holding tank with macerator. Waste hoses were the new white pricey hose. They are 4 years old, two years of salt water flush and two years of fresh water flush. Regular treatment with white vinegar. I just replaced them when I replaced holding tank. Hoses were in great shape. Boat holding tank not used regularly but on a monthly basis at least except for Jan and Feb. When we started using fresh water the odors disappeared within 2-3 weeks. We had a 6 gal holding tank. At least one quart or more as needed flushes, I know because we used one gal milk jugs to flush and refilled them as needed. We could also keep up with holding tank levels. Now I have a Raritan Super Flush coming Monday but think i need to look at the Fresh Head model using pressurized water. I have considered a separate water tank 6-8 gal but we have a 55 gal water tank that we do not use for drinking water and I want to utilize it and it appears the Raritan Fresh Head may be just the ticket. Have Peggy's book and have read it (she says no but this new toilet puts twist on it). Are there holes in my Raritan Fresh Head theory?

Am I missing something?

thanks again,
Juggy

Last edited by redfishnc; 03-18-2017 at 08:08 PM. Reason: add
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