Welcome to my blog. Here you will find the journeys of Ti Gtu and information that I have researched and found useful for maintaining and servicing yachts and motorboats.

I post full information that I find on the Fay Marine information site, accessed through www.faymarine.com/ and I can be emailed at paul@faymarine.com.

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Happy sailing,

Paul Fay

Friday, 6 January 2012

Blocked Loo

The blocked loo is one of the most feared problems of the cruising sailor. It generally happens due to the reaction of urine and salt water producing a calcium build up. This narrows the pipes
and coats the valves stopping them working.
If you currently have a blockage then you may well need to dismantle the system to clear it first (YUK) as the following will only help in keeping it clear. It will be unlikely to unblock it and may well make it difficult if you eventually need to dismantle the loo as the acid will be trapped in the system.
The way to keep the system free of calcium is to use hydrochloric acid. In many countries this can be purchased very cheaply from hardware stores or supermarkets.
In the UK our laws make it difficult to purchase chemicals which are freely available in other countries. In France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece etc. it comes in a red plastic bottle and costs around one euro.
In the UK I have found that garden patio cleaner is strong hydrochloric acid and in this form is easy to purchase.
To keep the system clear I pour the whole bottle (about 1 litre at 30% strength) into the loo pan and then slowly, by giving a few strokes every half hour, pump it through the system.
I do this roughly every 2 to 3 months in an area that is NOT environmentally sensitive as the acid ends up in the sea!
This has virtually no effect on the plastic and metals in the system but will kill off any microbes in a holding tank system.
Some people claim that these microbes can help to stop the holding tank smelling - I prefer not to have blockages!
I will be putting a link to this blog on the http://www.faymarine.com/ web site so that it will be easy to find.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul,
    When I have to strip the Henderson pump on my Lavac, I use a milder acid than hydrochloric, sold as a household descaler. I've found that strong hydrochloric will attack the aluminium insert in the trilobal "heart" valve, so that it will no longer hold the self tapping screws that hold it in place.
    David T.