Andy Willett: Tips on heads maintenance

Andy Willet Head Tips

Regular Maintenance

  • The internal seals of a marine toilet will thank you for a little lubrication from time to time. There are aftermarket lubricants for marine toilets but I do find that in most cases a little olive oil down the pan is quite beneficial.
  • Operating the head – manual or electric on a regular basis is a good plan.  Seals in pumps rely on the fluid to lubricate them simply cycling the head can be a part of preventative maintenance.
  • Clean the Anti-siphon device regularly. In most if not all cases a vessel should be fitted with an anti-siphon device to prevent the back tracking of water into the toilet after use.  The small valve in the top of the anti-siphon device can become unreliable if not cleaned. Your vessel could be at risk if anti-siphons are not checked and cleaned as part of a regular maintenance regime. Remember that its common place to fine anti-siphon devices on Generators,  Propulsion Engines, Grey water holding tanks, Bilge pumps – anything that discharges below the waterline should be fitted with one.
  • Eco friendly bowl cleaner and tank de-odourisers can be a good method of keeping the toilet, its holding tank and associated plumbing in good shape. Sealand Clean n Green Holding Tank Cleanser Sachets is one example that we use – other brands available no doubt!

Preventative Maintenance

  • Adequately flush the toilet so that there is only water left standing in the pipework.
  • Check the calcification build up inside the toilet pipework when the vessel is ashore for periodic maintenance.

Other points to note.

  • If you have the opportunity – invest in the best quality odour free hose for the heads. The premium toilet hoses have an internal membrane to prevent odour leeching through the plastic wall of the pipework resulting in that typical heads smell after a few years in commission.

And remember the old boating rule – avoid putting anything down the toilet unless you have eaten it beforehand!