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  #1  
Old 10-16-2008
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The Head - flushing query

I currently have what I consider to be a normal toilet on board, a Jabsco hand-powered saltwater system.

The "quiet flush" electric systems that I've seen on sale sound good, but I don't understand the practical differences between "saltwater" and "freshwater" systems. What is the advantage of plumbing to the water tanks (except to the manufacturers of desalinators)?
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The major advantage of plumbing the head so that it can be pumped out using fresh water is that it is less likely to generate nasty odors. In many cases the stench in the head isn't from the waste but from the decaying sea life that is in the salt water used to flush the head.

However, most manual heads need to be setup so that they can't cross contaminate the fresh water system. The simplest way to do this is to plumb a diverter valve into the head sink so that the water from the sink bowl can be used to flush the head. That is how the system on my boat is setup, and it is quite nice as it makes winterizing the head quite simple.
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Old 10-16-2008
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Salt water contains microorganisms that die when caught in the head intake for extended periods of time, thus contributing to "head aroma", especially on the first flush. Boats used mostly on weekends suffer from this more than liveaboards, obviously, so plumbing the head to a fresh water source can yield a real benefit.

The pumps on manual model heads usually have a plunger that serves double duty - one side evacuates the waste, the other side draws in the flush water. It is inadvisable to connect a pump like that to a potable water system. The electric heads use one pump to evacuate waste, usually a macerator, and let the potable water system's pressure supply the flush water. Thus the two sides of the system have no direct conenction, thus maintaining the sanitary condition of the potable water.

FWIW - We installed an electric, fresh wtare plumbed head this Spring and it has definitely had the desired effect of reducing head odor. IRMV
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Old 10-17-2008
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Thanks for the information. The difference is only $200 between an installed freshwater system and a saltwater one and since I do intend on putting in a reverse osmosis system the loss of freshwater shouldn't be noticeable.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
The "quiet flush" electric systems that I've seen on sale sound good
When your batteries are soft and your charging isn't working, the choice between being able to run the nav lights for another half hour and having a cr@p is a tough one. And don't say it won't happen - it can and it will

I would only install an electric head if I had two and the other one was manual.
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Lol - so now I have my house bank, my starter battery, my generator start battery, my windlass battery and my flush battery... Do electric flush systems have no manual backup?
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Lol - so now I have my house bank, my starter battery, my generator start battery, my windlass battery and my flush battery... Do electric flush systems have no manual backup?
Not the ones I've seen . . . .
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Ok, that means that I won't make all the heads electric - thanks for that observation.
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Yeah, it's called a BUCKET.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
Lol - so now I have my house bank, my starter battery, my generator start battery, my windlass battery and my flush battery... Do electric flush systems have no manual backup?
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We have a simple work around for our saltwater system. I have closed the saltwater intakes. If someone needs a "wet" flush a cup of water from the sink gets poured into the bowl. Works great and lets me put re-plumbing the head way down on my project list while limiting odors.

Michael
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