OK to pressurize holding tank? - SailNet Community

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  • 1 Post By jameswilson29
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Old 01-03-2012
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OK to pressurize holding tank?

Two years after replacing all the holding tank and head hoses, I'm still trying to determine the source of the bad oder coming from around the holding tank (under the V berth).

I've had good luck in the past with pressuring "closed" systems, pumping them up with air, and then spraying a soap solution on fittings etc. to locate leaks. I figured I could remove the holding tank vent line and put a fitting on it that would allow me to pump the tank up to a fairly low pressure (like 5psi) - the tank is poly and I wouldn't want to rupture it. My concern is that I have a Whale gusher pump connected to the tank for overboard discharge. I wouldn't want to rupture the bellows in that pump. I'm also concerned about the toilet - whether I might damage something there or if it would even permit the tank to be pressurized.
The hoses are a real pain to get on and off or I'd just remove them and seal them up. I'm wondering if anyone on sailnet has ever done this and what suggestions you might have so I don't go makeing a livable situation a real mess.

Thanks and Happy New Year to all!!
harbin2
Islander 30, Bahama
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Old 01-03-2012
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appliynig pressure is not a good method. Most probably the tank will rupture or the shape will change. Toilet odors are generally caused by bad hoses that will allow odors outside polyester tanks might also pass the odors without any fluids coming off. Cleaning the hoses with a wet cloth and smelling the cloth will give a good indication of odor passage. You can also do it to the tank. If odor is passing through it is best to change the faulty one. you can also try to apply aluminum foil around them. This will block the passage of odors.
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Old 01-03-2012
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I don't know the answer to your question, but if you do decide to pressurize the holding tank, make sure you videotape the procedure!
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Old 01-03-2012
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I would be hesitant to pressurize a holding tank. What about the "wet wipe" test? Most leaks in holding tank fittings are accompanied with the development of a residue or deposit accumulating at the leak. I believe that you could run a "wet wipe" or moist paper towel over a suspected location to detect a problem. Good luck, Aythya crew
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Old 01-03-2012
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Ho Ho Ho, James
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Old 01-03-2012
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harbin2,

Yeah, I think you don't want to be the first 2012 candidate for the Darwin Award :-)

Wipe down the tank and, especially, the hoses with a cloth soaked in Chlorox. See if that makes a difference.

Much of the hosing I see used is substandard and in time will pass odors. For toilets, you need to buy the very best (and most expensive) toilet hose you can find. You'll be happy you did.

Bill
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Old 01-03-2012
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Thanks. Like I said in my original post, I replaced every single hose. I used "nearly" the best that Shields makes. What had been there was total junk - no wonder it smelled. But, even with new hose, there was still an odor. A couple months ago, I scrubbed the entire area around the tank. I have the boat on the hard and covered so I'm leaving the portholes open and V-berth covers off to really let things air out. The thought to pressurize was to be the last weapon in my winter arsenal. However, I do think I'll drop that and will try the wipedown technique that you all suggest.
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Old 01-03-2012
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harbin2, what's your holding tank made of? Original? How old?
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Old 01-03-2012
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The tank is Poly. I'm almost certain it's original. It would be a bear to replace but if I found it were cracked, I probably would replace it. That is pretty much a last resort. The boat is an 81 so the tank is at least 31 years old. At least it doesn't get much sun .
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Old 01-03-2012
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Check them out good... On my 34 yr old the water tank was brittle and deteriorated and broke apart under finger pressure, but my head tank is soft and pliable and looks to be in good shape...Neither is exposed to sun...

Although with that much history, I can't guarentee the head tank has not been replaced...
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