Marine Sanitation Hose
Not all hoses are created equal, and shopping for a marine sanitation hose can be daunting, even for someone who has been boating for a while. Being confronted by the vast selection of brands, materials, bendability, permeability, and what type of materials the hose can handle can become more than just the "simple" task of buying a section of hose. Read on to make sense of the different hose properties.
Unfortunately for most boaters, we can't have the same type of sanitation setup as we have at home, with its metal and thick-walled PVC pipes that are virtually impervious to permeation. Such rigid pipes are usually impractical on a boat because most marine toilets (and their fittings) must be crammed into spaces more suited for garden gnomes than real people. Thus, it isn't pipes that most of us need, but hoses.
Eeew That Smell
And it's tough to get resistance to the various unpleasant things that go down a toilet and cause those noxious odors by using a flexible product, although not impossible. But it has to be just the right material or combination of materials to both bend as needed, yet be as non-permeable as we can get it.
For example, although vinyl is easily bent, this attribute comes at a cost. Vinyl contains plasticizers, which leave the hose porous for acidic gases such as carbon disulfide and hydrogen sulfide to waft through. If a marine sanitation hose is going to be manufactured with vinyl it must have extremely low levels of plasticizers, plus have added polymers to help block odors.
Rather than vinyl or even the nitrile and neoprene used for other types of hoses, the best marine sanitation hose will be made with materials like urethane, butyl, EPDM, and PVC. Butyl rubber is excellent due to its very low gas permeation rates, but if this is used you must be very careful never to dump any oil/oil-based products or solvents into the head, as butyl will not stand up to oils. And elastomers in the head as well as the hose itself could be damaged.
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a synthetic rubber that is often used in better quality engine coolant hoses and steam hoses because of its low permeation rates with antifreeze and hot water. Although its acid resistance is great, it's not great when it comes to oil. This doesn't mean it's a sub-par product, it just means you shouldn't be flushing oils down the head.
Polyurethane has the happy combination of resisting both oil and chemicals, although air and steam permeate it more than butyl or EPDM. That is unless we're talking about the Shields sanitation hose company, which has combined polyurethane with other polymers into a composite hose called Poly X. This marine sanitation hose comes with a lifetime warranty against odor permeation on your boat.
In addition to the Shields sanitation hose, the Trident sanitation hose is hugely popular, and for good reason. Their best sanitation hoses, the 101 series, and the 102 series have never yet been known to fail. Add to that the fact that considering the quality you're getting, the prices are quite reasonable, making Trident sanitation hose a great value.
Now the Fun Part--Installation
Although marine sanitation hose is considered a soft hose, sometimes it seems like anything but, when trying to bend it. If you're wondering how to bend marine sanitation hose, one of the best and easiest ways is to soak the end in very hot water for several minutes first. Unless of course, the hose is steel reinforced.
In that case (and even if it isn't steel reinforced) you can use a glycerin-based lubricant on the end of the hose. Do not use a petroleum-based product, as many of the hose materials will not stand up to this and besides, glycerine-based is more slippery. Make sure to use connectors that match in size, and when installing a sewer hose, it is good practice to gently deburr all hose connections to prevent foreign material from getting hung up and creating problems later on.
Attach the hose firmly to the hose barb with high-grade stainless steel hose clamps. Sewage is more corrosive than most people realize--after all, who spends their time pondering stuff like that? But to help prevent corrosion, use high-grade stainless-steel hose clamps with clamp components of at least 316 stainless steel.
Look for the type of hose clamps with solid embossed bands. Avoid the ones with the holes, because the holes are places where corrosion can start, plus the holes also reduce the strength of the clamp. We carry several of these types of hose clamps.
If using a Shields sanitation hose 101 series or the 104 series, you can get away with not using hose barbs at all, as Shields has specially designed hose fittings that these two hoses slide over (their 148 series as well, although these are not septic hoses). According to Shields, PVC cement should be used to bond the hose to the fitting. These fittings could be particularly helpful in those extremely tight areas.
Marine toilets and the marine sanitary system are specialized because they cannot rely on gravity to function. A marine sanitary system can have anything from just a manual pump to a multitude of pumps, vacuum systems, sewer treatment units, or even a septic system. It is important to inspect and maintain the toilet and system often and replace components on an ongoing basis.
Using salt water in a marine system is common but can create issues such as building up calcium deposits on the interior of the plumbing, pump seals, and toilet bowls. If left to their own devices, calcium deposits eventually lead to total blockage, but you can head the bad guys off at the pass by running a pint of white vinegar through the works once a month. Go slow, with one pump of the head about every four minutes or so, then when all the vinegar has gone through, flush the lines with a gallon of fresh water--sort of like cleaning your coffee maker.
If you're also in need of a new toilet, we have plenty to choose from whether you're looking for a manual, electric, or portable model. And of course, we also have the quality marine sanitation hose and accessories you'll need to keep things flowing smoothly.