Clearing a vent and/or vent hose... - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Clearing a vent and/or vent hose...

Hey all -

The vent on the aft water tank on Jo Beth is blocked. We've cleared the vent topside to the best of our abilities, removing lots o' junk. Still, we can't get air or water to pass through the line. The vent is open in the tank, at least for the length of a beheaded Q-Tip stick.

We can open the tank and fill it with no problems. However, this has me thinking there could be potential issues with our other plumbing systems.

Any suggestions or ideas, or better yet, solutions??

Thanks!

Bill & Lisa Ballard
S/V Jo Beth
1984 Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34, Hull #16

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post #2 of 10 Old 09-27-2009
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On my '85 E-42, I found a kink in the vent line. Try to check the entire vent line. I ended up replacing mine. As usual, it was not easily reached.

When you open the tank filler cap after running the water system for a while, do you get a sucking sound? That is a sure sign of water vent issues.

What you are chasing may not be a vent line issue. Sometimes you can have issues on the suction side of the system between the tank & the pump that would mislead you into thinking you have a vent issue.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xort View Post
On my '85 E-42, I found a kink in the vent line. Try to check the entire vent line. I ended up replacing mine. As usual, it was not easily reached.

When you open the tank filler cap after running the water system for a while, do you get a sucking sound? That is a sure sign of water vent issues.

What you are chasing may not be a vent line issue. Sometimes you can have issues on the suction side of the system between the tank & the pump that would mislead you into thinking you have a vent issue.
Thanks Xort -

I'm thinking it's a line issue. As I was filling the tank this afternoon, the water began to overflow the fill pipe on deck. I checked the tank, and when I opened the inspection port a pretty significant blast of air was released - which tells me air wasn't being pushed out of the vent. So, that's what I'm basing the theory of a blocked vent or vent hose on.

There were no problems draining the tank through normal use with manual pumps, so I don't think the issue is on the pump side...

Bill & Lisa Ballard
S/V Jo Beth
1984 Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34, Hull #16

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post #4 of 10 Old 09-27-2009
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Hey Bill & Lisa,

We had the same problem with the aft tank that you describe. (If your vent is in the starboard winch bin) We ended up taking the headliner out in the quarter berth to access the elbow fitting at the vent. Easily removed with just 6 screws holding it up. It was clogged up deep into the fitting probably by a mud dobber. Disconnected the vent hose, cleaned it out and re-connected. Problem solved.

Good luck,

John S.
Psc 34 # 201
"Norstar"
Norstar Ventures, LLC
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Hey Bill & Lisa,

We had the same problem with the aft tank that you describe. (If your vent is in the starboard winch bin) We ended up taking the headliner out in the quarter berth to access the elbow fitting at the vent. Easily removed with just 6 screws holding it up. It was clogged up deep into the fitting probably by a mud dobber. Disconnected the vent hose, cleaned it out and re-connected. Problem solved.

Good luck,

John S.
Psc 34 # 201
"Norstar"
Norstar Ventures, LLC
Ah, an elbow in the line...hmmm, doesn't sound too bad. The actual vent is on the outboard side of the starboard cockpit coaming, so it sounds as if the plumbing run should be similar as yours was.

We're off the boat now for a couple of weeks, so I'll take a look next time I'm down and report back.

Thanks -

Bill & Lisa Ballard
S/V Jo Beth
1984 Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34, Hull #16

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post #6 of 10 Old 09-28-2009
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I had a similar problem with both of the water tanks on my PSC 37. After some trial and error the solution I found for clearing the vent hose was to use a short length of wire to clear what I could from the outside of the vent into the hose. That left the hose still plugged but some dirt fell out. I then blasted the vent with a stream of water aimed straight down the vent. It took a little while to clear this way, but eventually the vent hose ran clear. I then had to clean the tanks out via the interior hatch as the dirt and mud ends up inside. If you try this, you might want to mostly empty your tanks first. I used a sponge and bucket to empty the tank, sprayed it inside with a hose, cleaned again, sprayed, cleaned and called it good.

I could tell the vents were clear by running the water in the sink and then feeling for a slight intake of air at the vent. If there is no sucking pressure when you put your finger over the vent, its still plugged.

I'll probably end up replacing the water lines at some point this winter as the water is taking on a foul taste when it comes out of the faucet. But for now the vents are both clear!


Craig,
s/v Luckness,
PSC #234, 1990.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svjobeth View Post
Ah, an elbow in the line...hmmm, doesn't sound too bad. The actual vent is on the outboard side of the starboard cockpit coaming, so it sounds as if the plumbing run should be similar as yours was.

We're off the boat now for a couple of weeks, so I'll take a look next time I'm down and report back.

Thanks -
All my hoses from the factory are installed with some blue-grey
harden goo, it's impossible to get the hose off without destroying
it. I have the same problem with my holding tank vent, but have
been putting it off
You can overbuild a boat.
Tom

PS31#111 Cielo Azul
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-28-2009 Thread Starter
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Hey Tom -

Yeah, one of the hazards of buying an overbuilt boat. So far, the hoses we have had to go through and replace haven't been more difficult than we would expect, so I'm hoping we'll have the same luck with the vent hose - presuming we don't have success in clearing it -

Bill & Lisa Ballard
S/V Jo Beth
1984 Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34, Hull #16

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post #9 of 10 Old 09-30-2009
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blocked water vent

On our Crealock 34, if you fill the water tanks too fast, the water will back up the vent line, causing it to dip. The water pump can not pull the water from the tank, until you remove the vent hose from the elbow, and BLOW backwards.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-23-2012 Thread Starter
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An update to this old thread:

As part of our preparations to move aboard, we're tackling this problem again. Since we're dockbound for a while (traveler and other issues) and plugged tank vents weren't anything that kept us from enjoying short trips and daysails, we had put this problem on the back burner. But to liveaboard, we obviously need a properly functioning plumbing system.

I ran my inspection camera down both fill pipes as far as possible and found no obstructions. The camera is too large to fit all the way into the vent hoses, but I did verify the vent fitting inside the aft tank was clear. Both vent outlets topsides were clear as well.

So we're testing all sorts of methods to check for air movement in the vent lines; finger tip near the vent opening to fill for suction, etc and I decide to soap up the vents. As we slowly filled each tank, I rubbed a soapy paper towel over the vents , and ta-da! Bubbles! So air is moving through the lines on both tanks.

We worked to fill the aft tank first, slowly, and did so with moderate success so long as the flow from the shore side water was a moderate trickle - say about as much flow as if you were carefully filling one of those nozzle mounted fertilizer/pesticide sprayer bottles. More than that and it would back up the fill hose.

We had removed the inspection plate to check the tank level prior to filling, then put it back in place, dogged down. As the tank continued to fill, I noticed the vent stopped bubbling. Almost immediately, Lisa said, "hey...I hear air hissing!" Sure enough, air was escaping from around the inspection plate lid and by the time I get below, with water still flowing into the tank, it was blowing bubbles too!

I'm now thinking that what I presumed to be a clogged vent is actually a failed gasket on the tank inspection plate, at least on the aft tank. If the air inside the tank is escaping through the lid o-ring, then the air will stop pushing through the vent. We opened the tank again and indeed, the water level was above the vent opening. We ripped out the old gasket, cleaned the area on the lid plate, and installed a new gasket. (I happened to have some gasket material that fit perfectly on-board.)

We'll see in a couple of days if that was indeed the problem. We still have the forward tank to deal with, which has had an identical issue, and on this tank the previous owners gooped mounds of silicone over the entire inspection plate. It's easily an inch thick.

I suppose that should have been a clue.

Bill & Lisa Ballard
S/V Jo Beth
1984 Pacific Seacraft Crealock 34, Hull #16

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain

Last edited by svjobeth; 01-23-2012 at 11:05 AM.
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