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post #1 of 13 Old 04-24-2013 Thread Starter
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Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

I just saw, in th thread about moving from a head to a porta-potti, a suggestion that adding a fresh water filter to filter the sea water being drawn into a typical head will make a big difference in overall odors. Is there something to this? I have often seen sugestions that a final flush using fresh water, at the end of the day or weekend, will help by eliminating the life forms in the salt water that degrade while in the hoses over time. Adding a true filter would seem to do much the same, but be easier (no need to remember). If this does work, what sort of filter would be used? I doubt that I would trust a typical house filter, but those are actually all plastics of some sort so won't corrode. Any true marine grade products that work?

Mike sullivan
1985 Marshall 22 catboat
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

Use the fresh water flush method.

I think (there's two words you don't often hear) that the amount of tiny critters and stuff in sea water would quickly clog any micro-filtration.

A filter on your head intake line would just be one more thing to leak, winterize and maintain.

JMHO, YMMV.

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

I have a screen-style filter on my intake line just to keep major items (like kelp) out of my toilet.

I flush using fresh water unless I know I'm going to be pumping out the tank soon. I keep an old pot in the head for collecting water from the sink and dumping it into the toilet.

There has been no head odor on my boat since replacing the lines and tank (the originals leaked) and putting in a 1-1/2" vent line instead of the anemic standard 5/8" vent. I don't even use any chemicals in the holding tank.

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post #4 of 13 Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

Fresh water rinse when you leave the boat and the religious usage of Odorlos.

Tim R.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

While I'm sure a freshwater rinse works, so does a sprtiz of treatment...
Sail Delmarva: Something Free, Something Lazy
... and for me this is easy and has worked well.

Straining out the bigger junk is required for many of us. If nothing else, the sea grass clogs things and generates smells, freshwater flush or not. Depends on the area.

And as most know, closing the through-hull for at least 24 hours occationally will kill the stuff trying to grow in the intake (lack of oxygen). Folks that leave it open can grow stuff inside the hose.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

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by Joe Brown, English rock climber




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post #6 of 13 Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

If you flush with sea water and the first flush of the day smells it is due to something that happens to the water trapped in the pipe. I don't think a filter would make any difference. It is a gas.

I have this issue but as I am in the Caribbean the heads have a big forward facing hatch which I leave open it soon blows away.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

I have found that simply putting fresh water in the bowl was not enough to keep the smell down for a toilet that flushed with seawater. The residual water that was left in the rim dried out and left a funky smell and a toilet brush couldn't clean the smell out. I rebuilt the pump and plumbed to flush with fresh water from the sink and over the course of a week the bad smell went away. Now I'll plumb in a Y valve to select flushing water from the sink or from the sea. To plumb the sink in to the toilet took just over two hours and $50 worth of parts, so it was a pretty easy and inexpensive fix.

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

n8kraft: I hope that when plumbing your toilet to the sink you plumbed the toilet into the sink drain, not into the sink's freshwater supply. Plumbing it into the freshwater supply is a good way to contaminate your whole fresh water supply should the toilet pump allow even a little bit of water to backflow into it's supply line.

If you plumb into the drain line you can then fill the sink with water (with it's seacock closed), then pump from the sink into the toilet.

My Catalina 25 was setup to support this from the factory. The toilet water supply and the sink's drain were plumbed to the same through hull. If you closed the through hull and filled the sink with water then the toilet would get it's water from the sink.

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-26-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

T into the sink drain, don't even need a valve.

Head Odors 101.1 - "T" into sink drain: Head Odors 101 & Fresh Water to Head from the Sink in the Head FLIX

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post #10 of 13 Old 04-26-2013
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Re: Adding filter to head intake to reduce odor

the rotten egg smell in the head after the yachts been sitting for awhile is due to the decay of micro-organisms in the raw water line as the oxygen is depleted. Sulfur dioxide dissolved in the water exgasses as the water is agitated by being pumped into the bowl--which is what you smell. Depending upon where you are discharging the waste. one "treatment" involves putting a small chip of a chlorine pool tablet in the filter basket on you raw water intake strainer. Note, however, that the filter screen will suffer if it is made of metal and a mesh screen may have to be substituted. The first discharge after you return to the yacht should go overboard (without waste) with quite a few pumps to get the concentrated chlorine from the dissolution of the tablet chip through and out of the system. From there on, the little bit that will remain in the system should not be unduly harmful provided you shift your head to "dry" and put a few cups full of fresh water into the head and pump that through to protect the rubber valves somewhat. An alternate treatment is to take a small piece of copper grounding foil, and make a circular roll of it that will fit into the strainer basket. The dissolving copper with prevent the proliferation of micro-organisms as well.

FWIW...

"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."

Last edited by svHyLyte; 04-28-2013 at 11:24 AM. Reason: Correct typo
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