holding tank filter worth it? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 04-11-2010
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holding tank filter worth it?

I've had a little problem with holding tank oder in my 1 year old (to me) sailboat. After searching on the net, I've learned that proper ventilation is critical to allowing the good bacteria to do their thing - resulting in less oder. So, I checked the vent line from the tank to the bulwark. Turns out there is a Dometic filter in the line that I hadn't noticed before.

It says to replace every year. It's runs about $70 and I'm skeptical that it worth it. Since the tank is externally vented, all the filter might do is make the air that's going outside smell a bit better. At worse, it might inhibit air flow. Perhaps I should just bypass it?

Any thoughts on if it's worth replacing?
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Old 04-11-2010
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My initial thought is the filter would be blocking ventilation of the holding tank. All filters have a pressure drop across them and unless you have forced ventilation, the filter is likely doing more harm than good. I'd try bypassing the filter. If it results in undesirable effects, rethink the plan.
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Old 04-12-2010
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home made filter

i saw this a couple of years a go and wanted to do. but of course it is near the bottom of the list. looks very interesting

How to recharge holding tank vent filter -- w/pics - Club Sea Ray


mike
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Old 04-12-2010
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Remove the filter.
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Old 04-12-2010
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We have one of the filters

We have one of the filters. We installed a new holding tank, all new hoses and of course vent hose and toilet. Every piece of the sanitation system we replaced. I could blow through the vent hose easily (when it was new ). We used holding tank odor control chemicals but still noticed an odor when flushing, I think it was flushing when we noticed the odor.. Any way (this was a while back) I bit the buck and installed the filter. No more odors. My wife was real skeptical but since then there have been no odors at all and she is real happy. It has been at least 6 months now. I also purchased one of the filter rebuild kits off eBay. Have not needed to use it yet though so cannot comment on it.
The boat next to us, a Catalina 34, also swears by the filter, they have their own .
Good luck,
Chip
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Old 04-12-2010
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The usual cause of head odors are two-fold. The first source of odor is caused by the predominance of anaerobic bacteria in the holding tank. This is preventable by properly ventilating the tank. The second cause is from the sealife that dies in the lines in the head when flushing the head with raw water. This is easily preventable by flushing the system with fresh water if you have to leave the boat for an extended period of time.

Installing a filter in the vent line will cause more problems than it solves as the filters reduce the aeration of the tank, promoting the nasty smelling anaerobic bacteria and also will be deactivated if the filter gets wet when the boat heels. They also increase the chance of the vent line getting clogged, which causes some trouble that you really don't want to have on a boat.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-12-2010 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 04-12-2010
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My first thought when I saw the title of this thread was "Ewww". When I learned the filter was on the vent line, my second thought was, "Why??". Agreed with the consensus here.. ditch it.
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Old 04-12-2010
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If you decide to keep the filter don't pay for a new one, Simply remove the element and replace it with one or two "dryer sheets". This will block little air and also improve potential oder problems; however, my first choice would be to eliminate the filter. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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With proper ventilation a holding tank won't stink, BUT think about what the vent hose (or hoses) does. It allows fresh enter to enter, and stinky air to exit. Sit downwind of a head vent at the wrong time and sure, it should smell like what is being vented.

So a filter (probably a terribly overpriced activated carbon filter) might serve a purpose, but hardly would be "necessary". You might try removing it, giving the tank a chance to become healthy, and then reconsidering. Or relocating the vent if it is someplace it shouldn't be--like in the cockpit.
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