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Old 06-15-2019, 11:16 AM   #1
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Combo fresh water/sea water toilet

We installed a fresh water flush Raritan Marine Elegance toilet in one of our heads and love it. Looks good, flushes great, easy to clean and no smell. We intended to install the same toilet in our second head. However....the boat is new to us and we soon discovered that the fresh water tanks are not as large as we were told. So we are worried about using this much fresh water for the toilets while out cruising. We wonder about setting the new toilet up with both fresh water to use while at the dock (we live aboard) and sea water while we cruise. Our concern is that even using sea water part time in this toilet will cause that "marine head" smell. Or will intermittent fresh water flushes keep this from happening? Does anyone have a dual flush toilet like this and can comment on the smell?
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Coddiwomple View Post
We installed a fresh water flush Raritan Marine Elegance toilet in one of our heads and love it. Looks good, flushes great, easy to clean and no smell. We intended to install the same toilet in our second head. However....the boat is new to us and we soon discovered that the fresh water tanks are not as large as we were told. So we are worried about using this much fresh water for the toilets while out cruising. We wonder about setting the new toilet up with both fresh water to use while at the dock (we live aboard) and sea water while we cruise. Our concern is that even using sea water part time in this toilet will cause that "marine head" smell. Or will intermittent fresh water flushes keep this from happening? Does anyone have a dual flush toilet like this and can comment on the smell?

The smell you get from a raw water head is generally from the water in the intake line. Organisms that are in the raw water die in the hose after it has sat for a while. This causes a strong sulfur like smell when the head is first flushed. If the head is used regularly, you shouldnít get a smell from a raw water head.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:09 PM   #3
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You can get a Marine Elegance that has the option of seawater flush. It costs a bit more since you need a pump but the Elegance is the way to go.
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Old 06-15-2019, 12:15 PM   #4
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The Raritan Marine Elegance can be installed to switch between fresh and sea water at will. It requires adding the "SeaFresh" option Raritan seafresh.pdf which can also be retrofitted to your current Marine Elegance.You'll also want to refer to the plumbing section of the owners manual (p.7) If you didn't save it, you can download a copy of it: Raritan Marine Elegance Owners Manual Raritan tech support can answer your questions: 800-352-5630



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Old 06-15-2019, 02:47 PM   #5
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Yes, we understand that the Raritan Elegance can have the option to switch from sea water to fresh water flush and we think this is what we'll do. But we wonder if there is still the odor that comes from sea water flushing if you are alternating between the two. Once those little critters get into your hoses, will the odor occur or will occasional flushing with fresh water disperse them.

We have lived aboard 3 different boats and the sea water heads have all had a certain amount of odor despite regular flushing. Frequent cleaning helps but the hose odor always seems to be there to a degree.
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Old 06-15-2019, 06:12 PM   #6
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Yes, if you have seawater flush you will get the smell if the seawater flush has not been used everyday. But usually it goes away after the first flush or two. Unless you use freshwater flush all the time you will have to deal with the first flush smell.
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Old 06-15-2019, 06:30 PM   #7
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My thought is that the amount of water used by fresh water toilets is insignificant compared to the boatís other usage of fresh water. Both our toilets/heads are fresh water flushes. That coupled with PVC waste lines.......no smell what so ever but to each his own
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:14 AM   #8
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In my case, the toilets are the biggest users of freshwater. I changed to seawater which has extended my cruising time by about 7-10 days. We live on board.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:16 AM   #9
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agree, PVC pipes are much better than hoses...they never absorb any smell.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:44 AM   #10
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My opinion from 14 years liveaboard 3 different boats, additional years of commercial multi day trips and many months on USCG cutters with salt water flush.


It takes more than a couple days for salt water heads to stink, maybe after a day or two you start the smell, but hardly noticeable if there are any other odors. A couple of flushes and it's all but gone.


Heads vary greatly in how much water they use. I went salt water flush due to my concern about fresh water use....no matter how little fresh water is used, it's still more than zero....and depending on toilet usage, even a little adds up. The stink about heads, even bilges to me is overblown as a liveaboard usually has enough cabin air exchange to keep smells less than many houses and neighborhoods I have lived in.
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:46 AM   #11
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As Dave pointed out the smell from raw water flushing comes from the intake side of the of the system. It takes some time for for the flora and fauna to die and start to produce odor. If a raw water toilet is used frequently it won’t develop those odors. The problem comes when the toilet is unused for a couple of days.

In your case I’d fresh flush at the dock and raw flush while cruising. An occasional fresh flush while cruising, to clean out the system, wouldn’t hurt.

I see psneeld beat me to it.
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