Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-21-2018, 08:28 AM   #1
Guru
 
toocoys's Avatar
 
City: Seabrook
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Final Choice
Vessel Model: 1996 Mainship 37 M/Y
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 688
How to unclog a vacuum toilet?

Just what it says. How do you unclog a vacuum toilet?

Only “natural materials” were flushed, no hard goods like paper or anything. Bowl fills with water but doesn’t go down. I was forced to use the wet/dry vac.

This toilet hasn’t been flushing liquids ok, but has had more smell than the forward head. Could something be dried and stuck in the lines from sitting on the sales dock?
__________________
Advertisement

toocoys is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 12:52 PM   #2
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19,537
"stuck in the lines from sitting on the sales dock?"


With a boat from the sales dock , ANYTHING could be in the head.
__________________

FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 02:13 PM   #3
Guru
 
Conrad's Avatar
 
City: Calgary
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Blue Sky
Vessel Model: Nordic Tugs 42 Hull #001
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,732
This occurs with our vacuflush toilets about once a year; in fact it happened yesterday.

What has worked for me is to turn off the water supply and then use a plunger fairly judiciously when you've opened the ball valve via the foot lever. (My understanding is that plunger use won't hurt anything)

I find that turning off the fresh water pump and relieving the pressure via opening taps is the easiest way to stop the water flow to the toilet.

That is assuming that everything else is in order such as electrical connections etc.
__________________
Conrad
Berthed in
Campbell River BC
Conrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 02:29 PM   #4
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,745
Does the vacuum pump run when you step on the pedal? Have you ever heard it run?



--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 02:36 PM   #5
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,745
I find that turning off the fresh water pump and relieving the pressure via opening taps is the easiest way to stop the water flow to the toilet.

The flush water inlet line should have been connected to the fresh water line using a shut-off valve. In fact, that's how ALL toilets designed to use pressurized flush water should be connected. It's a fairly easy job to replace the tee that I'm sure was used with a pvc shutoff valve.


--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 03:10 PM   #6
Guru
 
Conrad's Avatar
 
City: Calgary
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Blue Sky
Vessel Model: Nordic Tugs 42 Hull #001
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,732
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadMistress View Post
I find that turning off the fresh water pump and relieving the pressure via opening taps is the easiest way to stop the water flow to the toilet.

The flush water inlet line should have been connected to the fresh water line using a shut-off valve. In fact, that's how ALL toilets designed to use pressurized flush water should be connected. It's a fairly easy job to replace the tee that I'm sure was used with a pvc shutoff valve.


--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
I agree Peggie. There is no external shutoff valve to our toilet; there may be one inside the cover at the toilet, I don't know, but in any event it is difficult to get at so I used the alternate which is okay when at the dock and near a ready water supply.
__________________
Conrad
Berthed in
Campbell River BC
Conrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 03:19 PM   #7
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,161
Plunger is a bad idea, can screw up the duck bills. Best to just let things be for awhile if you are sure everything that was flushed is "soft" or liquid. It will usually eventually decompose and pass. Despite the efforts of a certain crew member and guests, I found it impossible to clog our three systems over the course of 6+ years living aboard.
We had the separate components rather than the all in one versions.
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 03:21 PM   #8
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,745
It wouldn't be at the toilet. On most boats the toilet inlet line is teed into the cold water line to head sink...often that connection is under the vanity, which makes it very easy to get to to swap out the tee for a shutoff valve...eliminating the need to turn off the whole boat's fresh water pump to work on the toilet.



--Peggie
__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 03:31 PM   #9
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,745
Plunger is a bad idea, can screw up the duck bills.


Actually the VacuFlush is about the only toilet in which it IS safe to use a plunger...judiciously of course. It's even one of the cures for a toilet clog listed in the trouble-shooting guide....which I'll be glad to send you if you'll send me a PM that includes your email address (no way to attach anything to a PM).


--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 04:14 PM   #10
Guru
 
Conrad's Avatar
 
City: Calgary
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Blue Sky
Vessel Model: Nordic Tugs 42 Hull #001
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,732
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadMistress View Post
It wouldn't be at the toilet. On most boats the toilet inlet line is teed into the cold water line to head sink...often that connection is under the vanity, which makes it very easy to get to to swap out the tee for a shutoff valve...eliminating the need to turn off the whole boat's fresh water pump to work on the toilet.



--Peggie
I wish. There is a bilge compartment directly under the toilet(s) which is relatively easy to access, but nary a single shutoff valve for either toilet.

But as you say, installing a shutoff valve or two would be quite straight forward.
__________________
Conrad
Berthed in
Campbell River BC
Conrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 06:11 PM   #11
Guru
 
toocoys's Avatar
 
City: Seabrook
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Final Choice
Vessel Model: 1996 Mainship 37 M/Y
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 688
Thanks for all the replied, but I fear that the problem is the tank is too full and it just has no where to go. Since we discovered the holes in the tank, it wasn't properly pumped out last week, when we thought it was.

After they repair the tank on Friday, if it still does not flush they will address the issue.

Peggy, yes the vacuum runs when you push the button, but the liquid doesn't go down, probably due to the full tank.
toocoys is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 07:00 PM   #12
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,161
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadMistress View Post
Plunger is a bad idea, can screw up the duck bills.


Actually the VacuFlush is about the only toilet in which it IS safe to use a plunger...judiciously of course. It's even one of the cures for a toilet clog listed in the trouble-shooting guide....which I'll be glad to send you if you'll send me a PM that includes your email address (no way to attach anything to a PM).


--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
Well that's new to me then Peggy, I became very intimate with the VF manual for awhile there when I had to re-mediate an improper installation of one of our units by a PO. I'll always defer to you in these matters though. But I can't see where putting back pressure on the duckbills and vacuum switch mechanism is going to work out so well, even with the vacuum tank in the way. You're the expert here for sure.
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 08:57 PM   #13
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,745
Since we discovered the holes in the tank, it wasn't properly pumped out last week, when we thought it was.

That doesn't make sense. Holes in the top of the tank should have provided the source of air needed for a complete pumpout. All tank vents--water, fuel and waste--have two functions: 1. to provide an escape for air in the tank displaced by incoming contents...otherwise the tank--the whole system--becomes pressurized...and 2. to provide a source of air to replace contents as they're pulled out...otherwise the pump will pull a vacuum that won't allow more than a gallon or two to be pulled out...which is the reason why it's essential that tank vents never become blocked. So even if the vent IS blocked, the holes would become the needed source of air.


I strongly suspect there's another explanation: If the pumpout fitting is on the top of the tank, there has to be a pickup tube on it inside the tank that goes to the bottom. If your tank is metal, any pickup tube is certain to be metal too...and if it is, I'd bet real money that urine has eaten through that tube in multiple places and a portion of it may even have broken off. When the pumpout has pulled out enough to drop the level in the tank to the highest hole in the tube or to the end of what's left of the tube it starts pulling in air, preventing it pulling any more out.


--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2018, 09:19 PM   #14
Guru
 
HeadMistress's Avatar


 
City: AR
Country: USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Well that's new to me then Peggy, I became very intimate with the VF manual for awhile there when I had to re-mediate an improper installation of one of our units by a PO. I'll always defer to you in these matters though. But I can't see where putting back pressure on the duckbills and vacuum switch mechanism is going to work out so well, even with the vacuum tank in the way. You're the expert here for sure.
You're not deferring to me, you're deferring to Dometic/SeaLand. The V/F troubleshooting guide is included in every owners manual. The V/F has changed so little except cosmetically since Mansfield Plumbing introduced it in 1978 that the same troubleshooting guide is still found in the owners manuals for every year, every model, and it includes just about every symptom, likely causes and recommended cures that a V/F can develop. You'll find "Use a plunger" in #9 "Toilet will not flush."

--Peggie
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't completely understand it yourself." --Albert Einstein
__________________

__________________
© 2019 Peggie Hall
Specializing in marine sanitation since '87.
Author "The NEW Get Rid of Boat Odors"
HeadMistress is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012