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Old 10-09-2018, 01:22 PM   #1
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Vacuflush question - water discoloration?

Hi there. First post on this forum but I have been viewing for the past few years as there is a wealth of information here. I have a question about one of my vacuflush toilets. My boat has 2 heads, both with freshwater vacuflush toilets and both work well. That being said, when one of the toilets sits for a few days without use the water in the bowl starts to discolor and turn a brownish hue and create a brownish film on the bowl. The water in the other toilet remains clear. This occurs even after a thorough cleaning and flushing of the bowl. I have owned the boat for 3 years and this has happened consistently over the course of my ownership. I have never had this issue with the other toilet. The discoloration occurs in the toilet that gets the most use, but since it happens even after it has been cleaned well I'm not sure if it can be blamed on residual organics in the bowl.

This is not a major issue, merely an annoyance. That being said, I am at a loss to determine the cause or why this would only happen in one of the toilets. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

Thank you.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:43 PM   #2
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Have you given thought to perhaps a steel fitting on the crash water side that gets rusty?
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:46 PM   #3
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My guess (only a guess) is that you have a joker valve that needs to be replaced. If you have owned the boat for 3 years, I'd suggest both heads should be serviced according to the manual.



Disclaimer: I have never owned a Vacuflush so it may be different from other heads that I've been familiar with.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:49 PM   #4
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Are the bowls, both the same age. The porcelain on the one the one that stains, could be older or in poor condition.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. Toilets are both original on a 10 year old boat and both look to be in like new condition. I'll check for a rusty hose fitting. Regarding the joker valve, if it were going bad I would expect to have a problem with the vacuum and the toilet works perfectly. No leaks, strong vacuum.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:14 PM   #6
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Could be

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhays View Post
My guess (only a guess) is that you have a joker valve that needs to be replaced. If you have owned the boat for 3 years, I'd suggest both heads should be serviced according to the manual.



Disclaimer: I have never owned a Vacuflush so it may be different from other heads that I've been familiar with.
DHays May be on to something

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Old 10-09-2018, 03:15 PM   #7
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Cut off the water supply to the head and flush with a different source of water from the adjacent sink faucet or shower head. If no more discoloration it sounds like Gordon J nailed it.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DPKCK View Post
Thanks for the responses. Toilets are both original on a 10 year old boat and both look to be in like new condition. I'll check for a rusty hose fitting. Regarding the joker valve, if it were going bad I would expect to have a problem with the vacuum and the toilet works perfectly. No leaks, strong vacuum.
Bad joker valve equates to not being able to hold vacuum. I get brownish stains only when not used for a long time and the water evaporates.

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Old 10-09-2018, 03:47 PM   #9
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Great idea to cut off water supply and fill from a different source - will give it a try!
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:16 PM   #10
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Two thoughts.

It might be worth disassembling the bowl from the base, cleaning the 2 surfaces and replacing the gasket. I have replaced both bowls on my vacuflush heads (larger bowl as opposed to the original kid's toilet) and found some stuff under the original bowl.

The other thought might be something environmental in one bathroom and not the other, such as mold spores.

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Old 10-09-2018, 05:07 PM   #11
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The only source of water going INTO bowl is the hose connecting the flush water valve on the back of the bowl to the cold water line that feeds the sink in that head. There are no solenoid valves or anything else in that line, just a PVC tee (that may also be a shut-off valve...if it isn't, it should be) connecting it to the cold water line to the sink. So if the water in only one toilet bowl is turning brown and growing a film, the fresh water plumbing feeding only that toilet has to be the culprit. To find out whether any more of the cold water plumbing going to that sink is affect, try also leaving water in that sink when you leave the boat for a while.

All that said, one more possibility just occurred to me: something in the atmosphere in that head. Is there an air freshener--stick up, AirWick, Glade plug in, whatever--or maybe a potted plant in it, that isn't in the other head? If so, try removing it.

Fwiw, VF toilets don't have a single joker valve. There are FOUR "duckbill" (joker) valves in the vacuum pump (2 on the inlet end, 2 on the outlet end), but the pump is in the DISCHARGE plumbing. It has nothing to do with the flush water supply. Nor does the joker valve in any other toilet have anything whatever to do with water coming into the bowl unless it's backing up. And it's just about impossible for anything in V/F plumbing to back all the way through the system to get into the bowl through a "trapdoor" that's sealed tightly enough to keep water standing in the bowl.

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Old 10-09-2018, 10:58 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone. No metal fittings. All PEX and plastic so doesn't seem that it could be rust. The cold water PEX line to the toilet and sink is a relatively short run from a cold water manifold and I can't imagine that this one particular line would be contaminated. I will try your idea of letting water sit in the sink or some other container to see if it discolors. I also put bottled water in the toilet bowl. I'll give this a few days. The result of these 2 experiments should shed some light. There is nothing environmental in the head that I can imagine contributing to this. I'll report my results as I move forward. Thanks again.
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:11 AM   #13
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Spores are getting into the water in the bowl from somewhere. If you see it in the sink too, it's possible that they're throughout your fresh water system. It's not uncommon, especially on boats that don't use enough fresh water to replace it often 'cuz molds and fungi only start to grow in hoses that aren't being used. The dock supply line is often the source, so before filling the tank each time, always let the dock water run for at least 15 minutes first...the same critters that like the lines on your boat LOVE the dock supply line and your hose that sits in the warm sun, and you certainly don't want to transfer water that's been sitting in the dock supply line to your boat's system. So let the water run long enough to flush out all the water that's been standing in them so that what goes into your boat is coming straight from the water main.

While the molds, fungi and bacteria in onboard water systems here in the US may not be pleasant, we're dealing only with aesthetics...water purity isn't an issue here--or in most developed nations...the water supply has already been purified (unless you're using well-water). Recommissioning the system will solve the problem. If you can't find the directions I've posted here several times over the years, I'll be glad to post 'em again.

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Old 10-10-2018, 10:02 AM   #14
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Another thing to consider is the room temperature. If the affected head is in a warmer room, maybe due to how the sun hits the boat, that may result in warmer water in the head. Warmer water develops algae/mold faster.
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Old 10-10-2018, 01:41 PM   #15
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Good thoughts, but I don't suspect it's an issue with the fresh water supply as a whole as it only happens in that toilet, not the other. Plus, I turn my tanks pretty often and filter the water that goes into the boat. That being said, I will go ahead and shock the system with a bit of bleach as a precautionary effort. Sunlight might cause this, but both heads have an opaque overhead hatch and get what appears to be a similar amount of diffused light. But, in order to test, I will keep the toilet lid closed and see what happens. So I think I need a week or so to go through these various experiments independently and see what I learn. At the end of the day, one would think it shouldn't be that complicated..... Will report back.
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:11 PM   #16
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The cause may be the bowl and discharge. Our Raritan Elegance with fresh water flush discolors and form a gungy ring also after a few days of not being flushed. I would think it would be very hard to sanitize the bowl to kill the creepy crawlers. Question, the other head that stays clean, was it sanitized and not in use ? Is there a water filter in the flow to the gungy toliet that’s removing the city waters clorine treatment.
We use Raritan CP to scrub the bowl and discharge prior to leaving the boat for a few days and we still get the grunge build up, but it only takes two micro bugs to begin the grunge build up. The good news it doesn’t stain the bowl and is easily cleaned.
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Old 10-10-2018, 05:35 PM   #17
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Our Raritan Elegance with fresh water flush discolors and form a gungy ring also after a few days of not being flushed.

DPKCK says he filters the water going into his tanks...Do you also do that?

And btw..why are both of you leaving water in the bowl to sit and stagnate while you're away from the boat? In the hot humid summers we have here, even toilet bowls in my air conditioned house grow mold around the waterline in the bowl and they get used several times a day. My housekeeper tells me she sees that in most of the houses she cleans, so it's not unique to my house.

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Old 10-11-2018, 08:53 PM   #18
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Completely empty the bowl. Clean one more time. Fill with 1/2 gallon of distilled water. Then wait.
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