Using good hoses for your sanitation system | Cruising World

Beware of the Odor

Proper connections and quality hoses prevent the sanitation system from taking over your boat. "Hands-On Sailor" from our July 2010 issue

odors 368

Steve's Tip: Here┬┐s a quick test to find out if your sanitation hoses have become permeated. Soak a clean rag in hot water, then wrap it around a hose and leave it there for 3 minutes. Place the rag in a resealable bag and leave the boat with it. When you open the bag, if it smells like effluent, the hose is likely permeated.

Steve D Antonio

With careful planning and the use of quality materials along with good installation practices, there's no reason why a sailboat's sanitation system can't be free of odor. Often, though, a system's woes stem from when the vessel was built or when the system was installed or refit.
With careful planning and the use of quality materials along with good installation practices, there's no reason why a sailboat's sanitation system can't be free of odor. Often, though, a system's woes stem from when the vessel was built or when the system was installed or refit.

Many leakage problems, and the resultant odors that are sure to follow, can be traced to poor installation practices. Make certain that your hoses are installed over properly sized proprietary pipe-to-hose adapters rather than pipe nipples or ground-down P.V.C. plumbing. The connection between the hose and its adapter or barb should be clean and the surfaces free of scratches, nicks, and other damage-all present a path for leaks. Never install a hose over threaded plumbing; the threads form a helical path for fluid to follow. Because few flexible sealants are designed to resist immersion in effluent, the interface between hose and plumbing should be made dry, although threaded connections should be coated using an appropriate pipe-thread sealant. Double-clamp hoses using solid band-style hose clamps.

Hose used for sanitation should be specifically designed for effluent-I frequently encounter fuel-fill hose being used incorrectly in this application-and unless you want to carry out hose replacement on a regular basis, choose the hose with the longest permeation warranty. While many cruisers have their own favorite brand or variety of sanitation hose, after having changed thousands of feet of the stuff, I've found that hose made from E.P.D.M. synthetic rubber-available in both black and white-lasts the longest and remains resistant to odor permeation. In fact, in all the years I've used Trident hose, my brand of choice, I've never had to replace a single foot as a result of permeation.

Here are some more points to consider: Many P.V.C.-based sanitation hoses prohibit the use of alcohol, which is often used for winterizing purposes. Once exposed to alcohol, P.V.C. hose may become gummy and prone to permeation. And if you're buying a new boat, ask what sort of hose was used. Some builders use the cheapest they can find, and it may become quickly permeated. Ideally, where possible, rigid P.V.C. pipe should supplant hose; it essentially lasts forever and is permeation proof.

Poor installation practices can also lead to odors. The most common problem is a dip or a valley in an effluent hose. In some cases, these are unavoidable, but trim excess hose to eliminate low areas that can trap liquids. In such spots, odor permeation can set in with a vengeance.

Another flaw in sanitation-system design worthy of mention is the holding tank. Ideally, holding tanks should be made from such nonmetallic materials as vinylester- or epoxy-based fiberglass or polyethylene. Aluminum and even stainless steel aren't well suited to containment of caustic effluent as they suffer, respectively, from poultice and crevice corrosion.

Finally, the hose connections on holding tanks should be located on a horizontal surface rather than on a side or bottom. Side and bottom connections ensure that a section of hose will always be submerged in effluent-with predictable results.


Steve D'Antonio offers services for boat owners and buyers through Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting (www.stevedmarineconsulting.com.)

Latest


More Stories


Videos