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Old 07-29-2020, 02:54 PM   #1
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To Vacuflush or not...

My wife , daughter and I are on vacation and I am growing impatient with our 35 gal holding tank capacity. I have a Raritan electric toilet that uses our fresh water supply. No problem there or smells as the plumbing is PVC. I just don’t like how fast our tank fills up. We have dealt with it during our 6 year ownership but needing a dock to pump out rather than wanting to go to a dock isn’t our thing.

Is a vacuflush worth the money? I understand they use a fraction of the water thus going longer between pump outs.

I should add, installing a larger tank involves carving things up. Doing my research at this point.

Thanks
Cory
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:04 PM   #2
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My wife , daughter and I are on vacation and I am growing impatient with our 35 gal holding tank capacity. I have a Raritan electric toilet that uses our fresh water supply. No problem there or smells as the plumbing is PVC. I just don’t like how fast our tank fills up. We have dealt with it during our 6 year ownership but needing a dock to pump out rather than wanting to go to a dock isn’t our thing.

Is a vacuflush worth the money? I understand they use a fraction of the water thus going longer between pump outs.

I should add, installing a larger tank involves carving things up. Doing my research at this point.

Thanks
Cory
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No, and I own 2.

To properly maintain the system and prevent crystals from building up in the hose and components, you need to flush a bowl of water each day through the system.

I'm very happy with my Vacuflush systems, but don't buy them based on less water usage.

Find a place for a second or bigger holding tank.

Ted
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:33 PM   #3
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I would not want a Vacuflush system. Would it stop me from buying a perfect boat, probably not but I would be looking to replace them with a Raritan Marine Elegance head. If you are filling your holding tank too quickly, either do what Ted suggested and put in a larger holding tank or go to a programmable head like the ME. The Vacuflush system is much more complicated than a head system should be. Just look at the number of threads there are on Vacuflush problems compared to plain old electric heads, not to mention how few on the ME heads. An aside we looked at a boat that had the ultimate holding tank on Monday, it had a 250 gallon holding tank.
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:45 PM   #4
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When the wife and I cruise we can go 8-10 days between pump outs. We use the "if its yellow let it mellow" method to reduce flushes. We have Tecma Toilets. I have adjusted the flush water volume down to only what is needed. I would think the Vac U Flush should be a minimum water usage system. Maybe the way the crew is filling and flushing needs addressed. Just a thought
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:53 PM   #5
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I have friends with Vacuflush. They are not trouble-free but people seem to hang in there with them. I have Raritan SeaEra freshwater flush heads that I like a lot. Very powerful and not much water used. If I moved on to another boat, this is the toilet I'd want.
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:59 PM   #6
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We swapped out our Vacu-flush (which we hated with a passion) with a Raritan fresh water electric with the automated switch panel. It has performed FANTASTIC in live-aboard use for 2 years now.

It has some programmability in the freshwater amount used for flushing. It also has separate "short flush" and "full flush" buttons.

We go 4-6 weeks on board full time between pumpouts, but we have a 110 gallon tank, so we're cheating a bit

Some install info on the Raritan: Raritan Electric Head Project
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Old 07-29-2020, 04:11 PM   #7
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No, and I own 2.

I'm very happy with my Vacuflush systems, but don't buy them based on less water usage.
They work better when a normal amount of water is used to flush. I never use the manufacturer's suggested amount of water (very small) & have had zero problems over the years.
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Old 07-29-2020, 05:17 PM   #8
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The Raritan Elegance with the smart control panel will allow you some control over the water usage. You can flush only( no water), add water only, low water use flush, and max flush. The water used for flush option is minimal. We have a extra solenoid that's been in the box for 4 years.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:13 PM   #9
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I have been a liveaboard with vacuflush toilets for 20 years. They have been almost trouble free all these years. However, I have always instructed every one to count to five before they stopped flushing.

If saving water is the goal, I’m not going to recommend a vacuflush.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:28 PM   #10
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Thanks all. We are pretty good about the ‘yellow/mellow’ school of thought. Perhaps our macerated needs a going through as things aren’t getting pulled in fast enough this the finger on the flush button to get it down this, more water is introduced (sorry for being graphic).

I will also look closely at the recommendations.

Thanks!
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:01 PM   #11
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With my sea era with the single button control, I find for solids out toilet paper it's best to hit it for a second, then wait for it to slide to the bottom, then flush as needed.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:36 PM   #12
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We've had Vacu Flush for over 30 years in two boats.

I would not have any other toilet in a boat. They are the "Cadillac" of marine toilets. Headhunter toilets are the "Bugatti". (I expect to be beat up over those comments - oh well?)

Having said the above, the Vacu Flush requires a little more preventative maintenance than the fancy grinder toilets that are now available. If you are unable to do the maintenance yourself or don't want to hire someone to do preventative maintenance then I suggest some other toilet.

The best way to have a trouble free Vacu Flush or any other marine toilet is with proper installation, minimizing hose/pipe runs and preventative maintenance.

I installed the largest holding tank possible in Sandpiper - 30 gallons and we can go 5 days between pump out, sometimes 6. Normal water and flush for liquids and extra water for "big business". 4 foot PVC pipe from toilet to Vacuume Generator.

I replace duck Bill's every 5 years and rebuild the toilet and VG every 10. Every other year an Uncloric Acid treatment. We only have one toilet. If we were to have a second back up toilet, preventative maintenance intervals would be increased.

Vacu Flush vs other toilets is like asking single or twin, displacement or semi, which anchor etc? You will never get a consensus.

Final disclosure, I am a Dometic/Sealand, VacuFlush dealer so I'm biased. I became a dealer after installing one in our last boat and thought it was a great marine toilet.

PM me for specifics.
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:49 PM   #13
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No way would I pay good money to install a VacuFlush. I have two, and they generally work fine, so I'm very unlikely to replace them. The key to success with them is to use lots of water. If you are installing new there are better options.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:32 PM   #14
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To Vacuflush or not...

OP, do you have room for an electrosan treatment system?? Then you could just pump overboard. You might even save some money.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:35 PM   #15
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PS I ditched my vacuflush and I know what you mean about the tank filling up faster.
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OP, do you have room for an electrosan treatment system?? Then you could just pump overboard. You might even save some money.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:14 PM   #16
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There has to be some reason that boat builders install Vacu Flush even though it's more costly.

Bayliner/Meridan, when they were the largest boat manufacturer, started installing Vacu Flush as standard equipment when they went up market even with increased cost.

The new grinder toilets by Raritan, Tecma and Masterflush by Sealand/Dometic are a vast improvement over the old Jabscos and Raritans from the past. The new toilets have larger diameter, hard to plug pump/grinder, fresh water capability, quiet automated operation and everything in an attractive package.

So why are Vacu Flush toilets still being installed in new and existing boats if they are so awful?

Why am I still selling so many Vacu Flush toilets every year?
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:34 PM   #17
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Cosmo, you said "I have a Raritan electric toilet that uses our fresh water supply."

I'm guessing it's a Raritan SeaEra...and I'll bet it has a single flush button...push it to bring flush water in as bowl contents are simultaneously pushed out. I'm right, I think there's a solution that doesn't require replacing the toilet.

Raritan offers a couple of other flush options that'll work with it. One is the 4 option "Smart Flush" panel someone mentioned earlier...but I think the "momentary control" is all you need Raritan Momentary Control owners-manual As you'll see in the manual for it, it's a 3 option switch that allows you bring in water ahead of use (essential ahead of solids), simultaneously bring in water/move bowl contents out (what I'm guessing you have now) and "dry" flush (out only, no flush water.). You can switch at will. So the user controls the amount of flush water used.

Defender has it for an excellent price Raritan Momentary Control at Defender They're on the other coast in CT, but this thing doesn't weigh enough to cost you much in shipping...or their price could be a bargaining chip with a local retailer.

--Peggie
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:16 PM   #18
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So why are Vacu Flush toilets still being installed in new and existing boats if they are so awful? Why am I still selling so many Vacu Flush toilets every year?

Two reasons: When it finally got some real competition from macerating electric toilets, Ed McKiernan launched a saturation ad campaign throughout the 90s and early 2000s to brainwash boat owners and OEMs into believing that 1978 technology was superior to anything else on the market...and it worked...helped quite a bit by some major price concessions to OEMs.

For at least 15 years V/F was the ONLY toilet that drew less than 5 amps, used pressurized fresh water and needed a very carefully worded "as little as" 1 pint of it. Before the "toilet tech revolution" in the 90s, macerating electric toilets drew 30 -50 amps, could only use sea water and needed 1-3 gallons of it/flush and made enough noise to wake the dead (some still do). But while macerating toilet technology has continued to advance, V/F has changed so little except cosmetically since Mansfield Plumbing introduced it in 1978 (they spun it off, along with their entire marine toilet division to SeaLand Technology in 1984) that the same trouble-shooting guide is still included in the owners manuals for all years, all versions.

It's a good toilet...in fact, the toilet on my last two boats. And I was a dealer for nearly 10 years...so I'm intimately acquainted with it and wouldn't walk away from a boat that already had one installed. But I wouldn't buy it again and no longer recommend it.

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Old 07-29-2020, 10:32 PM   #19
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Yup, what she said.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:19 PM   #20
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I have 2 VF units (catamaran) and each has a 90 gal holding tank. It takes about 12-14 weeks to fill when used by 2 adults. My own use is typically 7-10 days at a time and then unused for 3-4 weeks. At the end of each trip I add a bit of vinegar to dissolve the salts and then some olive oil to lubricate the duckbills. While one only went 3 years before needing new duckbills, the other went 10 years. I chose the VF for minimal odor reasons, not low maintenance. I had them put in during the build because that was the best information. That being said I would go with Peggy Hall's advice if building a boat today, and I have a PhD in environmental engineering.
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