Today we’re talking about toilets…
The toilet, head, privy or potty …(whatever you choose to call it) is a necessity on-board your yacht and if you don’t want to get bogged down with blockages and leaks…we’ve a few tips to stop you going round the “U bend” …and to keep it running smoothly!
Unpleasant smells usually come from a build-up of calcium deposits – from salt and other waste. Running fresh water through the system before leaving the toilet will help stop these smells.
It is this build-up of calcium that will ultimately block the toilet but in the short-term it will affect the one way valve (or joker valve) that stops water coming back into the bowl.
Flushing white vinegar through the head once a month will stop the build-up of scale/calcium in the piping which is the main cause of bad odour.
This tip will work on the new build-up of calcium but unfortunately it won’t work on anything that has been sitting in the piping for a long period.
To remove older build up… you need an acid. Acid such as muriatic acid can be used for this but should be used with caution and attention to the directions…
It’s important to lubricate the toilet after cleaning and on a regular basis. This can be done with specialist cleaner/conditioner available from marine stores.
The main reason for blockages in marine toilets is normally a crew member on-board that has had the induction by the skipper but ultimately the rules don’t sink in…
It’s always a good idea – especially if you have a lot of guests on-board – to have a visible, laminated instruction sheet to follow.
What to do if you have a block
Tanks can get filled past capacity which will cause a block.
It is important to remember that if this happens, the last thing you want to do is remove the deck cap.
When you’re travelling around inland waters, it’s a good idea to check the local yacht clubs for waste pump out stations that you can use to empty the holding tanks. Preferably do this in advance!
The first thing to do is to check the discharge valve is open.
Then, check the ‘Vetus’ breather valve on the side of the boat (this will be located close to the head).
It’s held on with two screws and is it’s essential that it is not blocked as it feeds air to the head system in order for it to circulate and empty. If this has anything blocking it…clean it out!
At this point, flush the toilet and check if it has cleared the block.
If a block is still present, the next stop would be the discharge valve.
A way to clear a block from this end is to use a high pressure hose and hose from the outside into the valve. Just make sure the discharge valve is open and there’s someone inside ready to close it as soon as the block is closed. You must not let it discharge into the marina!
As soon as it is clear and running, close the valve and either clear the tank from the deck cap at a pump out station or when you are offshore.
A Handy Tip to Check the Toilet is Clear
If you are not sure whether you have a block or not, you can use a cup of milk and flush it through the toilet with the discharge valve open. This is a handy method just to check all clear and working before you set off for that holiday weekend.
If you can see cloudy water at the discharge outlet outside the boat, then the pipe is all clear.
Follow these simple toilet tips and you’ll never be down in the dumps again! The tips apply to both electric and manual toilets.
Of course if you cannot solve the blockage then call the Windcraft Service Centre.