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Clogged Sanitation Hose

Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Aft electric toilet will not send the bowl contents to the tank. Disconnected the hose from the toilet to determine whether the joker valve (boat document says our model has a flapper valve) was blocked. Clear! Connected a city water hose to the toilet discharge hose to see whether water pressure would break through the clog. Nope! Disconnected the hose from the tank to see whether the clog was at the tank connection. Nope!

So, what I seem have is a sanitation hose that has some sort of a blockage; likely calcium build-up. My plan is to run a small plumber snake through the hose to see whether I can break it up.

Does someone have any ideas, short of replacing the hose, on how to dissolve this clog or break it up? Thanks in advance for your comments/ideas.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,089
- - LIttle Rock
My first thought was a blocked tank vent that's pressurized the system, but removing the hose from the toilet and tank (really risky without first making sure the tank vent isn't the culprit!) would have relieved the pressure. So it sounds like you do have a clog. If it were the typical mineral buildup I think you'd have seen at least some buildup in the hose when you took it off the toilet.
First thing to check is any y-valve in that line. If there isn't one or no sign of any problem with it, the most likely place is any sag in the line where waste, TP, salt minerals (and maybe even wet wipes if you've had guests aboard) can build up if you don't flush plenty of fresh water through the hose to rinse it out at least weekly...or, if that toilet is used rarely, ALWAYS before it will sit unused. If the toilet hasn't been used in a while, it's prob'ly turned to "concrete"...I don't know if a snake can break that up. However, there is a product that should dissolve it: Sew Clean (pronounced Soo--as in sewer--Clean). Read all about how to use it and be sure to follow the directions. Sew Clean

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
 
Jan 25, 2011
2,219
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
Peggy, for us that have teed the head inlet to the sink drain, can this stuff be mixed in the sink? Will it do anything to the stainless sink? (Maybe make it look better?) Ha!
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
First thing to check is any y-valve in that line
Thanks Peggie for your input. I will check out the Sew Clean product. No wye valve or fitting in the line and the tank vent is, was and has been clear for many years now after discovering the vent was clogged when we took possession of the boat in 2002, then implementing a tank pump out procedure that has kept it clear ever since. Before pumping out the tank I always flush a couple gallons of fresh water through the system to clear each line (forward and aft head) of any material. My article here: https://hunter.sailboatowners.com/mods.php?task=article&mid=45&aid=6003&mn=42
 
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Dec 2, 1997
8,089
- - LIttle Rock
tank vent is, was and has been clear for many years now after discovering the vent was clogged when we took possession of the boat in 2002, then implementing a tank pump out procedure that has kept it clear ever since. Before pumping out the tank I always flush a couple gallons of fresh water through the system to clear each line (forward and aft head) of any material.
Flushing out the head discharge hoses with fresh water wouldn't do a thing for the tank vent 'cuz there's no connection between the vent and the rest of the system. And there are all kinds of things that can block a vent. Even if you're scrupulous about never overfilling the tank, heeling cause even a half full tank to spill into the vent line (that's how the vent fitting on the tank and that end of the vent line become blocked) and out the vent...one of the things that lead to a blocked vent thru-hull. Dirt daubers LOVE to build nests in vent thru-hulls, dust and pollen can clog up the slit or little bitty holes in some vent thru-hulls...corrosion clogs up screens in vent thru-hulls that have 'em.

All of which is one of the reasons I recommend replacing the "vent" thru-hull (all of which are designed to keep sea water out of the fresh water and fuel supply, but builders just use the same thru-hull on all vents) with an open "bulkhead" or "mushroom" thru-hull that you can stick a hose nozzle against and backflush the vent line every time you pump out and/or wash the boat, preventing vent blockages (although you might have to use a screwdriver blade to chip out any dirt dauber nest...be sure to check EVERY vent for those as part of spring recommissioning).
You may already do this, but enough other people will read this to make it worth the effort to write and post it. It's also covered in my book, btw...see link in my signature below.

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
 
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SG

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Feb 11, 2017
1,670
J/Boat J/160 Annapolis
Wouldn't opening the deck pump-out fitting relieve any back pressure and remove the question of the vent being the issue?
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,089
- - LIttle Rock
It would, but I'd make sure to be UPwind of the deck fitting and have a hose at the ready...'cuz if the tank is pressurized there WILL be a geyser when you open the cap.

However, if you re-read my first reply, I ruled out a blocked vent as the cause of your problem.
--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
 
Dec 19, 2006
5,727
Hunter 36 Punta Gorda
Try sending a snake and that would help see if you have a clog I would think.
Nick
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
hose nozzle against and backflush the vent line every time you pump out and/or wash the boat, preventing vent blockages
Thanks again Peggie. As I mentioned in my linked article that I wrote several years ago, I use city water to flush the tank vent line every time I pump out. That has kept it clear all these years. The reason for flushing two gallons of water through the discharge hose is to clear any solids that might remain in the line between the toilet and the tank.
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Update at; oops, it's past eleven. So took a snake to the boat yesterday with the purpose of breaking through the hose blockage. Began from the toilet end and the snake came up against a hard block right at the lowest part in the hose, which is next to the galley sink through hull valve. Worked for about an hour to break through. Nope zip nada.

Then I tried from the tank end. Again, nope zip nada. My next step is to use a Marine San Un-chloric Acid product made in Seattle, which is very similar to Sew Clean, only this is a powder that you mix with water. It is supposed to remain in the hose for 24 hours, enough time to dissolve the mineral deposit. I will let you know the outcome, but it will be a day or so before it arrives and then apply it to the hose. The product here: https://www.marinesan.com/Unchloric-Acid-Chemical-p/unchloric.htm
 
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Dec 2, 1997
8,089
- - LIttle Rock
Can you get both ends of the hose high enough to let the chemical work on clog from both sides?

And btw...after this you ARE gonna make sure to flush at least a quart of clean water DAILY? Ok..at least last thing before leaving the boat to sit after just a weekend aboard...and every couple of days if you're aboard longer.
--Peggie
 
May 20, 2016
2,991
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Terry - I feel for you. I’ll buy you a beer next time I see you at skutlebuts. Start a new Cruze over Labor Day. Two days with Trish then kick her off at Bell Harbor then I go explore the south sound.

Les
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Can you get both ends of the hose high enough to let the chemical work on clog from both sides?
Yes Peggie, that is the plan. Both ends extend about twelve inches above the low point in the hose. Hopefully, this stuff will dissolve the deposit and the operation will return to normal.

Our end of cruise practice has been to flush at least a gallon or two of fresh water through the hose to the tank just before pump out. That practice will continue. What I'm also thinking of doing, assuming this un-chloric product performs as stated, is to apply it every year or so just to keep matters moving smoothly.

I’ll buy you a beer next time I see you at skutlebuts.
Thanks Les. My number two son from Texas is flying in next week to go day hiking in the nearby hills for a few days. Patti and I hope to spend a week on the water after he leaves. Maybe see you out there.
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,553
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
Raritan has a product called Clean Hoses, would that be the same as yours?
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,089
- - LIttle Rock
Raritan has a product called Clean Hoses, would that be the same as yours?
Nope...it's Raritan's private label version of Sew Clean.

Terry, start flushing a cupful of distilled white vinegar through the toilet discharge line before you flush the clean water through it. That'll prevent buildup and/or a clog in it.

--Peggie
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Nope...it's Raritan's private label version of Sew Clean.

Terry, start flushing a cupful of distilled white vinegar through the toilet discharge line before you flush the clean water through it. That'll prevent buildup and/or a clog in it.

--Peggie
Thanks for the tip, Peggie. I keep a supply on board for when the galley sink begins to stink.

Almost went the Sew Clean route, but it was $30 versus $9 for the non-chloric stuff, less shipping and handling, of course. Soon will find out if the right choice was made.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,089
- - LIttle Rock
Save your white vinegar for the hoses....it does a great job of prevent mineral buildup in 'em but doesn't emulsify grease and oil, which are the main culprits in drains and sump. There's a better way to keep sink drains--and sumps too--sweet smelling and draining freely:

Raritan only markets their "C.P. Cleans Potties" as a bowl cleaner--and it is an excellent one. But it's also the best sump and drain cleaner on the planet. C.P. is a bio-enzymatic cleaner that not only destroys odor on contact, but the enzymes in it "eat" hair, soap scum, body oils, galley grease and all the stuff that clogs sumps and drains and makes 'em stinky.
Sumps: Put 2-3 oz down the shower drain when it can stand at least overnight...the enzymes need time to work. Then flush clean water through the sump. You can even let it remain in the sump for weeks, 'cuz although the enzymes exhaust themselves in 24 hours, there's nothing in C.P. that can harm anything.
Sink drains, close the seacock, then put about an ounce of C.P down the drain and fill the drain with water--again when it can stand at least overnight.
That's all you'll ever need to do to either one.
And btw, you'll find all that and bunch more useful tips in my book (see link in my signature below).
--Peggie
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Almost went the Sew Clean route, but it was $30 versus $9 for the non-chloric stuff, less shipping and handling, of course. Soon will find out if the right choice was made.
Update.

Went to the boat Monday and poured about one half quart total of the non-chloric stuff into both ends of the hose. You could tell right away that this stuff went to work. Lots of brown bubbling and some smell emitted. I let it work for about 22 hours, then I tried flushing fresh water through the system. At first the flush was very slow, but then seemed to improve some with each half gallon. Wednesday I flushed a fresh quart of this mixture down the toilet in hopes that it will dissolve the rest of the clog. I'll know more when I drive to the boat tomorrow to see the results.
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,006
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Update.

Sent an e-mail last night to the maker of the product to see what they recommend, since after three applications following their directions, the clog persists, albeit slightly better. Maybe if I doubled the strength of the mix, would that help, is one alternative. I might try the snake again to see whether the mineral deposit is soft enough to break up. Replacing the hose is my last resort. Waiting for their reply.