Occaisional Head Smell

Sep 6, 2020
26
Catalina 315 74 Barrington, RI
Hello all! I have a new 2021 Catalina 315. It has an electric head, fresh water flush, holding tank, and macerator. Normally, the head smells just fine - new boat, in the water for only 2 months - it should smell just fine.

But 3 times now, always while sailing (never while motoring, and not during every sail), the head all of a sudden has a terrible smell. It only smells in the head, as it's not noticeable in the main cabin nor anywhere else. When it happens I see no visible signs of liquid anywhere in the head, and the smell is always gone by the next day. As it has never happened on the dock (despite spending several nights on the boat, and entertaining several times on the boat), and never while motoring, and not even always while sailing, I suspect it's somehow related to sailing at higher heel angles with stronger winds, which somehow causes air/gas to backup through the system. But I really don't know.

Ideas and solutions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,782
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Congrats on the new sailboat!!

I would seek a warranty repair claim........maybe a simple vent line issue. Hopefully Peggie the Head Mistress will weigh in.
 
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Dec 2, 1997
8,129
- - LIttle Rock
Does your holding tank vent out a thru-hull or out slits in a rail stanchion? Does it only happen when you've been heeled to that side far enough to put your rails in the water and stayed on that tack for a while?

--Peggie
 
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Sep 6, 2020
26
Catalina 315 74 Barrington, RI
Hi Peggie,

Thanks so much for your reply. I have your wonderful book and am half-way through it! Didn't think I'd need it for a new boat, but here I am.

The holding tank vents through the side of the hull, through a little metal vent pointing towards the stern, above water (at least while flat), maybe 8 inches below the toe rail and maybe 1.5 feet above the waterline. I've not yet been able to determine exactly when it happens (which tack, how long, etc.), but it's always been during/after sailing, and probably always in decent winds.

Thanks so much!
Anthony
 
Oct 3, 2011
788
Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155 155 Lake Erie/Catawba Island
Welcome to the Catalina 310/315 Family, We hope you will Love your New Boat, Like we love ours! She is a great child of Catalina Yachts. This SBO is a great source of Information and parts, there are no dumb questions and everyone is here to help! Welcome . Please consider joining the Catalina 310/315 IA this supports everyone. Thanks.
 
Oct 3, 2011
788
Anam Cara Catalina 310 Hull #155 155 Lake Erie/Catawba Island
Peggy, The Head Mistress, Recommends KO & CP, which we have used for years on two boats with excellent results!
 
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Dec 2, 1997
8,129
- - LIttle Rock
Assume you have treated the holding tank with an odor- blocker: 10 Best Marine Holding Tank Treatments Reviewed in 2021 (marinetalk.com)
I have no idea who wrote that article, but what they know about marine sanitation system management would fit under my thumbnail and leave room for the complete works of Shakespeare!

The #3 product on that list--Zaal No-Flex Digestor--is actually the best one. Noflex Digestor. It's become the only tank product I recommend now. And you CAN have instant results if you pump out and rinse out the tank before switching to it...in fact, you'll get much faster results with any product if you do that.

I was really surprised to see the lethal Thetford products on that list, 'cuz the good ones PREVENT odor from occurring by working WITH nature...toxic chemical products try to kill odor that already exists.

Alan, KO was the first live bacteria tank product...the only alternative to lethal chemical products that just add a chemical odor to the sewage odor. We introduced it in 1987. And for years it was the best tank treatment on the market. And it's still one of the best. But chemistry, like everything else, evolves and has led to new environmentally friendly products that don't rely on keeping bacteria alive--which KO does and No-Flex doesn't, and can function in anaerobic conditions--something KO can't do but No-Flex Digestor can. Plus, unlike KO, No-Flex dissolves sludge. So as long as KO continues to work for you, keep using it! As for C.P....it's also a bio-active product...and not just an outstanding bowl cleaner, but the best sump and drain cleaner on the planet!

--Peggie
 
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Nov 22, 2011
981
Ericson 26-2 San Pedro, CA
I have no idea who wrote that article, but what they know about marine sanitation system management would fit under my thumbnail and leave room for the complete works of Shakespeare!

The #3 product on that list--Zaal No-Flex Digestor--is actually the best one. Noflex Digestor. It's become the only tank product I recommend now. And you CAN have instant results if you pump out and rinse out the tank before switching to it...in fact, you'll get much faster results with any product if you do that.

I was really surprised to see the lethal Thetford products on that list, 'cuz the good ones PREVENT odor from occurring by working WITH nature...toxic chemical products try to kill odor that already exists.

Alan, KO was the first live bacteria tank product...the only alternative to lethal chemical products that just add a chemical odor to the sewage odor. We introduced it in 1987. And for years it was the best tank treatment on the market. And it's still one of the best. But chemistry, like everything else, evolves and has led to new environmentally friendly products that don't rely on keeping bacteria alive--which KO does and No-Flex doesn't, and can function in anaerobic conditions--something KO can't do but No-Flex Digestor can. Plus, unlike KO, No-Flex dissolves sludge. So as long as KO continues to work for you, keep using it! As for C.P....it's also a bio-active product...and not just an outstanding bowl cleaner, but the best sump and drain cleaner on the planet!

--Peggie
I'm curious about something, Peggy. I've got a Thetford 550P MSD plumbed through a macerator. I've tried using Noflex Digestor but have had absolutely no luck with this product, even though I was expecting it to be effective based on the prior research I had done on it. I tried varying the dosage, increasing it above what was recommended, but that didn't help, either. Nor did more frequent treatments. I had also rinsed the tank with fresh water prior to my attempts with it, so I don't think the issue is anything residual left in the tank.

On the other hand, I have had and continue to have good success with Odorlos. The vent on the 550P is fairly marginal, and I recall from what you have said in the past that Odorlos is effective even in tanks with limited venting. This has proven true for me.

I guess I don't have a problem since the Odorlos seems to do the job, but I'm wondering if you have any insights as to why Noflex Digestor simply didn't seem to work when everything I've read about it points to it being the best product.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,129
- - LIttle Rock
D'd if I know why No-Flex didn't work in your 550P MSD...the vent line is the most likely culprit--too small? Too long? Not straight? May even have something to do with the discharge routing through a macerator pump. Glad Odorlos does work for you!

--Peggie
 
Jun 4, 2009
90
Catalina 309 Swantown Marina Olympia, WA
If you have a macerator on your boat , make sure the seacock for the macerator is closed when the boat is under sail heeling to port as it will backflow back into the holding tank fill it up to the point of blocking the vent. I had a C309 that did that and the C315 is probably the same setup if you have a macerator.
 
Jan 1, 2006
6,096
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
For some not too good reason, the pathway from the holding tank to the macerator pump on my 356 had no shutoff valve. I think there should be one. Otherwise, effluent is always in the hose which will permeate and become smelly. And, well, the thought of unrestricted poo pouring out of the tank due to hose or connection failure is something I don't even want to contemplate.
On the other hand, the boat operator would have to remember to open the valve before discharging thru the macerator pump. And, effluent would still sit in the hose unless extraordinary precautions were taken. Nevertheless, even if you have to replace that hose more often a shutoff valve would make that job so much better. Not fun, but better.
 
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Aug 21, 2019
109
Catalina 315 18 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
My c315 has a old fashioned pump head that goes to a holding tank. My question is, what is the advantage of having a macerator in the system?
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,129
- - LIttle Rock
None, and many good reasons why there should NOT be a macerator pump in the TOILET discharge line. But the macerator pump in question here is in the TANK discharge line...used to dump the tank at sea.

And if the tank has only one discharge line at the bottom of the tank, there should be a y-valve in that line that's always aimed at the deck pumpout line, to prevent tank contents from sitting in the line to the macerator pump.

--Peggie
 

MikeWT

.
Sep 30, 2018
6
Beneteau 343 Bristol
Question about NoFlex -
It is a granular product, that has a sand like consistency. Could this damage an electric flush toilet?
Is Odorlos better for electric toilets, since it is a liquid?

I have used NoFlex with our Raritan Marine Elegance electric flush and the “sand“ causes a bit a grinding noise when you flush. You can wait longer for it to fully dissolve but I’d like to add a little with each flush.
 
Dec 2, 1997
8,129
- - LIttle Rock
I've yet to hear of a single problem with No-Flex in any toilet. If anything the macerator blade in macerating electric toilets should only make it dissolved in the tank faster...it is, after all a TANK product.

So I suggest you use No-Flex according to directions...adding a little with each flush accomplishes nothing that a little more water with each flush doesn't accomplish.

--Peggie
 
Nov 16, 2012
1,001
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 31 Santa Cruz
None, and many good reasons why there should NOT be a macerator pump in the TOILET discharge line. But the macerator pump in question here is in the TANK discharge line...used to dump the tank at sea.

And if the tank has only one discharge line at the bottom of the tank, there should be a y-valve in that line that's always aimed at the deck pumpout line, to prevent tank contents from sitting in the line to the macerator pump.

--Peggie
Peggie, recommendations for a Y-Valve? Would like to get one that works well and doesn't leak!!
 

RoyS

.
Jun 3, 2012
1,214
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
Regarding Y Valve: I have found that the ones with ports that can be rotated tend to leak. All it takes to cause them to leak is to apply a force in any direction on the port and the O rings that seal the rotating port will deflect and leak. The Y valves that have fixed ports only have an external seal on the operating handle and that seal is not under any strain.