Head and holding tanks

Hcard

Member II
i just purcahsed an Ericson 32-200 1990 and have not used the head or the tanks out of fear. I have heard horror stories about it and i wans to do it properly. I would appreciate any help with the following. The boats is supper clean and was winterized. So the tanks are empty and all the hoses replaced.
1)i have a norinco head with manual pump. The pump has two settings, DRY and FLUSH. i have read the manual but it is not very clear.
a) how to operate and flush the toiled.. and how to set it when going away.
b) we have not use it and i put some recommended baggs of blue stuff, which i flushed down. the following week i found blue in the toilet water, i assume it came back from the tank, is that possible?
c)we do d have a gauge for the tank, can you please recommend and external gauge?

2)fresh water holding tank.
a)can you please recommend what to put inside the tank so the water is clean? Not drnkable but good enough to wash dishes etc?

any other recommendation to avoid bad smells on the boat from the head is greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Welcome to the group!
Nice boat!
We had earnest money down on a 32-200, once, but could not come to terms with the seller... long time ago...
Very happy with our Olson 34, purchased a week later. Long time ago - 1994.
:)
Anyhow, I am not familiar with a "norinco" head. It helps if you post a picture. Stock head from EY was the Raritan PH2, and it was a high quality toilet.

If you are not familiar with marine heads, first you open valves to let water in and waste out. There will be one thru hull valve nearby for allowing outside water in, There will be choices on the outgoing side...
A "Y" valve to allow waste to go to a thru hull for overboard discharge, or to direct the waste to the holding tank. If your boat has the EY "full Monty" plumbing layout found in our '88 model, there will be a hand pump inside the head compartment to allow pumping OB from the holding tank when in international waters. There will be a deck fitting for suctioning out the tank contents at any "pump out dock".

In general, and it will probably become kind of intuitive, do not let waste sit in the HT, but rather empty it once your day of sailing is over. And, then flush some fresh water thru while emptying it. Bad idea to let waste settle in the tank, valves or hoses for any period of time.

Check to see if the hand pump located in the head compartment is working --- pump some plain/clean water into the tank, set the valves for OB pumping, and pump that clean water out with the hand pump. I had to replace our stock hand pump because the prior owner had left effluent in the whole system for a long time and pump had corroded inside.

BTW, your boat's interior layout is quite similar to our boat, with an aft head, except that the hoses under your counter are a bit more crowded together. Great system with maximum choices, but a lot of bits and pieces were installed into a small space. Challenging.... to work on when/if you have to.
 
Last edited:

Bob Robertson

Member III
Hi!
Welcome to the group.

We purchased our boat new in 88. We have never had a problem with head odors. We have a rule that everybody has to sit to use the head. Our theory is that using the head while standing causes some spray to leave the head and to create odors. Our boat has always been in freshwater, so that might contribute to why we've not experienced any odors coming from the hoses.

As for the fresh water tanks, I flush out the antifreeze in the spring then put in a bottle of clorox bleach and fill the tank with water. Then I let it sit overnight. In the morning I empty the tanks and then fill/empty them twice to flush out the bleach. On our boat one of our water tanks also has a foot pump attached. After draining that tank I have to use the foot pump to get all of the water out of the tank.
 

paul culver

Member III
What Loren said and a few more words. That blue dye coming back from the holding tank might indicate you need to replace the joker valve at the base of the toilet. It acts as a one way valve to keep stuff going in the right direction and in my experience they are good for 5 years at best. Ordorlos is a good tank treatment for keeping smells under control. Depending on your setup, you might not be able to pump directly from the toilet to OB. Most systems plumb direct from toilet to holding tank, then from tank to OB. If you're concerned about your fresh water tank you can get purifying tablets from RV suppliers.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
What Bob said! On our boat also, EVERYONE SITS. I was taught this when I first started doing deliveries several decades ago by an experienced owner/skipper. Simple rationale -- keeps the whole darned head compartment 97% cleaner. Also, when the boat is rolling around or pitching, it's safer. :)
After a multi day off shore delivery with 3 or 4 guys, the wives meet us at the destination, and we present them with a clean interior. Very good for marriage preservation.

Want another piece of unsolicited advice?! (Not hearing a 'no' over the internet...)
When cruising with friends for a day or longer, have everyone choose/provide their own bowl, cup, and spoon. Iron-clad rule is that they keep these with their personal things and *nothing* is ever left in the sink. Nothing.
They can wash and dry it regularly, or add new comestibles to the dried on crud, but it's their dish. You very soon get used to a clean galley. Whole boat is lots nicer. A sink full of dirty dishes, rattling around as the boat moves, is gross, and it's interesting how no one wants to volunteer to wash 'em, including the owner.
:)

edit: now reads 'bowl' !!
 
Last edited:

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
some recommended bags of blue stuff

Arghh. Use Odorlos only.

A marine toilet is nothing to fear (agree, sounds like you'll need a new joker valve). If they smell something's wrong, and Peggy Hall (the "Headmistress" author cited above) knows how to fix it. The head (holding tank, valves, hoses) is a system like any other system on the boat, and it pays to get some hands-on familiarity with it.

Because boats are set up differently, we owners are doomed forever to be the only one who understands how it works, what the issues are, how the valves are set, and how to empty the holding tank. A privilege, sort of :) .
 

Hcard

Member II
some recommended bags of blue stuff

Arghh. Use Odorlos only.

A marine toilet is nothing to fear (agree, sounds like you'll need a new joker valve). If they smell something's wrong, and Peggy Hall (the "Headmistress" author cited above) knows how to fix it. The head (holding tank, valves, hoses) is a system like any other system on the boat, and it pays to get some hands-on familiarity with it.

Because boats are set up differently, we owners are doomed forever to be the only one who understands how it works, what the issues are, how the valves are set, and how to empty the holding tank. A privilege, sort of :) .
Thank you Christian. Much appreciated.
 

Hcard

Member II
Welcome to the group!
Nice boat!
We had earnest money down on a 32-200, once, but could not come to terms with the seller... long time ago...
Very happy with our Olson 34, purchased a week later. Long time ago - 1994.
:)
Anyhow, I am not familiar with a "norinco" head. It helps if you post a picture. Stock head from EY was the Raritan PH2, and it was a high quality toilet.

If you are not familiar with marine heads, first you open valves to let water in and waste out. There will be one thru hull valve nearby for allowing outside water in, There will be choices on the outgoing side...
A "Y" valve to allow waste to go to a thru hull for overboard discharge, or to direct the waste to the holding tank. If your boat has the EY "full Monty" plumbing layout found in our '88 model, there will be a hand pump inside the head compartment to allow pumping OB from the holding tank when in international waters. There will be a deck fitting for suctioning out the tank contents at any "pump out dock".

In general, and it will probably become kind of intuitive, do not let waste sit in the HT, but rather empty it once your day of sailing is over. And, then flush some fresh water thru while emptying it. Bad idea to let waste settle in the tank, valves or hoses for any period of time.

Check to see if the hand pump located in the head compartment is working --- pump some plain/clean water into the tank, set the valves for OB pumping, and pump that clean water out with the hand pump. I had to replace our stock hand pump because the prior owner had left effluent in the whole system for a long time and pump had corroded inside.

BTW, your boat's interior layout is quite similar to our boat, with an aft head, except that the hoses under your counter are a bit more crowded together. Great system with maximum choices, but a lot of bits and pieces were installed into a small space. Challenging.... to work on when/if you have to.
Thank you Loren B. Many thanks for the valuable input. i will do as you suggest. Thank you again.
 

Hcard

Member II
Hi!
Welcome to the group.

We purchased our boat new in 88. We have never had a problem with head odors. We have a rule that everybody has to sit to use the head. Our theory is that using the head while standing causes some spray to leave the head and to create odors. Our boat has always been in freshwater, so that might contribute to why we've not experienced any odors coming from the hoses.

As for the fresh water tanks, I flush out the antifreeze in the spring then put in a bottle of clorox bleach and fill the tank with water. Then I let it sit overnight. In the morning I empty the tanks and then fill/empty them twice to flush out the bleach. On our boat one of our water tanks also has a foot pump attached. After draining that tank I have to use the foot pump to get all of the water out of the tank.
Thank you Bob, this is great. Brings pece to my mind. I thought this tanks were supposed to be a pain and source of bad odor. Many thanks for your ideas.
 

Hcard

Member II
What Loren said and a few more words. That blue dye coming back from the holding tank might indicate you need to replace the joker valve at the base of the toilet. It acts as a one way valve to keep stuff going in the right direction and in my experience they are good for 5 years at best. Ordorlos is a good tank treatment for keeping smells under control. Depending on your setup, you might not be able to pump directly from the toilet to OB. Most systems plumb direct from toilet to holding tank, then from tank to OB. If you're concerned about your fresh water tank you can get purifying tablets from RV suppliers.
Thank you Paul. Yes I think i will have to do some work on the head before i can fully use it. I noticed some dripping from the pump chamber. many thanks for your help
 

Bolo

Member III
Heard, Allow me to make a suggestion or at least add my two cents to the wealth of info in this thread which is typical on this web site. It seems to me that you may be lacking some knowledge about your boat. Please don't be offended by my assumption because I was once there many years ago. We all were. My suggestion is to have a "local" Ericson owner (preferably one who own's a 32 or above) meet you on board (wear a mask of course) and show you some of the finer points of boat system operations. Just a suggestion mind you so please take no offense.
 

Hcard

Member II
Heard, Allow me to make a suggestion or at least add my two cents to the wealth of info in this thread which is typical on this web site. It seems to me that you may be lacking some knowledge about your boat. Please don't be offended by my assumption because I was once there many years ago. We all were. My suggestion is to have a "local" Ericson owner (preferably one who own's a 32 or above) meet you on board (wear a mask of course) and show you some of the finer points of boat system operations. Just a suggestion mind you so please take no offense.
Thank you Bolo, you are right... i am discovering the boat. I have reached to a sailing captain who has been with me on the boat a couple of times but he does not now the specifics. There are not many Ericson in Florida so it is a bit hard to find someone close to where we are. But you have a point and it is very well Taken. Thank you for taking to respond. I appreciate it very much.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Thank you Bolo, you are right... i am discovering the boat. I have reached to a sailing captain who has been with me on the boat a couple of times but he does not now the specifics. There are not many Ericson in Florida so it is a bit hard to find someone close to where we are. But you have a point and it is very well Taken. Thank you for taking to respond. I appreciate it very much.
That's why this site is here, so owners, new and old, can ask questions when they are perplexed. I've always had good answers to my questions, and have tried to be helpful when I had answers to questions.
Frank
 

wynkoop

Member III
I will weigh in on the Fresh Water tank. If you have a source of potable water at your marina then you can follow the same procedure I do every spring. Since we have freezing weather in NYC I have no water in my tank from about December until March.

In the spring I put a few cups of chlorine bleach in Silver Maiden's tank then fill the tank to the top. I then run it through to the sink and if the water really smells like chlorine and feels very slimy I leave it set for 24 to 48 hours. If I do not have the high concentration of chlorine that I want I add more directly to the tank.

After 24 to 48 hours, sometimes as long as a week if I do not get back to the boat, I drain the tank. I then fill with fresh water let it sit for a couple of hours and drain. I repeat this until the level of Chlorine in the tank and lines is low enough that I do not taste it any more. Caution do not drink the water from the first rinse. It will be too high in Chlorine. If the water makes your mouth burn you have not rinsed the tank enough.

My tank is now dry for the winter, only 4 months to fill up! In the mean time I have a not full 5 gallon jug for water on the boat. If it freezes it will not rupture since it is not full, and if it does rupture no harm I just have some water in the bilge.
 

Hcard

Member II
Welcome to the group!
Nice boat!
We had earnest money down on a 32-200, once, but could not come to terms with the seller... long time ago...
Very happy with our Olson 34, purchased a week later. Long time ago - 1994.
:)
Anyhow, I am not familiar with a "norinco" head. It helps if you post a picture. Stock head from EY was the Raritan PH2, and it was a high quality toilet.

If you are not familiar with marine heads, first you open valves to let water in and waste out. There will be one thru hull valve nearby for allowing outside water in, There will be choices on the outgoing side...
A "Y" valve to allow waste to go to a thru hull for overboard discharge, or to direct the waste to the holding tank. If your boat has the EY "full Monty" plumbing layout found in our '88 model, there will be a hand pump inside the head compartment to allow pumping OB from the holding tank when in international waters. There will be a deck fitting for suctioning out the tank contents at any "pump out dock".

In general, and it will probably become kind of intuitive, do not let waste sit in the HT, but rather empty it once your day of sailing is over. And, then flush some fresh water thru while emptying it. Bad idea to let waste settle in the tank, valves or hoses for any period of time.

Check to see if the hand pump located in the head compartment is working --- pump some plain/clean water into the tank, set the valves for OB pumping, and pump that clean water out with the hand pump. I had to replace our stock hand pump because the prior owner had left effluent in the whole system for a long time and pump had corroded inside.

BTW, your boat's interior layout is quite similar to our boat, with an aft head, except that the hoses under your counter are a bit more crowded together. Great system with maximum choices, but a lot of bits and pieces were installed into a small space. Challenging.... to work on when/if you have to.
Thank you!! I am sorry , but I made a mistake, I have a Earitan PH11. I have ordered the rebuild kit with all gaskets etc.
 
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