Installing a new head (toilet) on your boat
Installing a new head (toilet) on your boat

Having a functional and reliable head (toilet) on your boat is essential for an enjoyable and comfortable sailing experience with your family. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of installing a new head on your boat.

Installing a New Head (Toilet) on Your Boat

Leaving the rat race behind and setting sail on a life of adventure with your family is an exciting and fulfilling journey. As you embrace the open sea and spend quality time with your loved ones, it’s essential to ensure that your boat is equipped with all the necessary amenities to make your sailing experience as comfortable as possible. One such essential amenity is a functional and reliable head (toilet) on your boat.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of installing a new head on your boat. We will cover everything from selecting the right type of head, preparing the installation area, and the step-by-step installation process. So, let’s dive in and get started on this DIY boat project!

Table of Contents

  1. Choosing the Right Type of Head for Your Boat
  2. Preparing the Installation Area
  3. Installing the New Head
  4. Connecting the Plumbing
  5. Finalizing the Installation
  6. Maintenance Tips

Choosing the Right Type of Head for Your Boat

Before you begin the installation process, it’s crucial to select the right type of head for your boat. There are several types of marine toilets available on the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common types of heads you can choose from:

Manual Pump Heads

Manual pump heads are the most basic and affordable option for a marine toilet. They operate using a hand pump that flushes waste into a holding tank or overboard, depending on your setup and local regulations. These heads are simple to install and maintain but may require more frequent pumping to keep the bowl clean.

Electric Heads

Electric heads offer more convenience and ease of use compared to manual pump heads. They use an electric motor to pump waste into the holding tank or overboard. Electric heads are more expensive than manual pump heads but provide a more comfortable and efficient flushing experience.

Vacuum Heads

Vacuum heads use a vacuum pump to create a powerful suction that flushes waste into the holding tank or overboard. These heads are more expensive than both manual and electric heads but offer a more efficient and odor-free flushing experience. Vacuum heads also use less water per flush, which can be a significant advantage when conserving freshwater on your boat.

Composting Heads

Composting heads are an eco-friendly option that breaks down waste into compost using natural processes. These heads do not require any plumbing connections, making them easy to install and maintain. However, they may require more frequent emptying and maintenance compared to other types of heads.

When choosing the right type of head for your boat, consider factors such as your budget, available space, and personal preferences. It’s also essential to check local regulations regarding waste disposal to ensure that your chosen head complies with the rules in your sailing area.

Preparing the Installation Area

Once you have selected the right type of head for your boat, it’s time to prepare the installation area. Follow these steps to get the space ready for your new head:

  1. Remove the old head (if applicable): If you are replacing an existing head, start by disconnecting the plumbing connections and removing the old head from its mounting location. Be sure to wear gloves and use proper sanitation procedures when handling waste hoses and components.

  2. Clean the area: Thoroughly clean the installation area, removing any dirt, debris, or residue from the old head. This will ensure a clean and sanitary environment for your new head.

  3. Measure and mark the mounting location: Using the mounting template provided with your new head, measure and mark the mounting holes on the floor or platform where the head will be installed. Be sure to leave enough space around the head for comfortable use and access to plumbing connections.

  4. Drill mounting holes: Using a drill and the appropriate size bit, drill the mounting holes for your new head. If you are drilling into a fiberglass platform, be sure to use a sharp drill bit and apply steady pressure to avoid cracking the fiberglass.

Installing the New Head

With the installation area prepared, it’s time to install your new head. Follow these steps to secure the head in place:

  1. Position the head: Carefully place the head over the mounting holes, ensuring that the plumbing connections are accessible and correctly aligned.

  2. Secure the head: Using the mounting hardware provided with your head, secure the head to the floor or platform. Be sure to tighten the hardware evenly to avoid damaging the head or mounting surface.

  3. Install the seat and lid: Attach the seat and lid to the head according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve securing the seat and lid with screws or snapping them into place.

Connecting the Plumbing

With the head securely installed, it’s time to connect the plumbing. The specific plumbing connections will vary depending on the type of head you have chosen and your boat’s existing plumbing setup. Here are some general guidelines for connecting the plumbing:

  1. Connect the intake hose: Attach the intake hose to the head’s water inlet fitting. This hose will supply seawater or freshwater to the head for flushing. Secure the hose with a hose clamp and connect the other end to a through-hull fitting or freshwater supply, depending on your setup.

  2. Connect the discharge hose: Attach the discharge hose to the head’s waste outlet fitting. This hose will carry waste from the head to the holding tank or overboard discharge, depending on your setup. Secure the hose with a hose clamp and connect the other end to the appropriate waste disposal system.

  3. Connect the vent hose (if applicable): If your head has a vent hose connection, attach the vent hose to the vent fitting on the head. This hose will allow air to escape from the holding tank, preventing pressure buildup and odors. Secure the hose with a hose clamp and connect the other end to a vented loop or through-hull fitting, depending on your setup.

  4. Test the connections: With all the plumbing connections in place, test the head by flushing it several times. Check for any leaks or issues with the plumbing connections and address them as needed.

Finalizing the Installation

Once the plumbing connections have been tested and any issues addressed, your new head installation is complete. Here are some final steps to wrap up the project:

  1. Secure any loose hoses: Use cable ties or hose clamps to secure any loose hoses and keep them tidy and organized.

  2. Install any accessories: If your head came with any accessories, such as a toilet paper holder or towel rack, install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  3. Clean up: Dispose of any waste materials and clean up the installation area.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your new head functioning properly and ensure a pleasant experience for you and your family, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Regularly clean the head: Clean the head regularly with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to prevent buildup and odors.

  2. Inspect the plumbing connections: Periodically check the plumbing connections for leaks or signs of wear and address any issues as needed.

  3. Pump out the holding tank: If your head is connected to a holding tank, be sure to pump out the tank regularly according to local regulations and your usage.

  4. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations: Consult your head’s owner’s manual for any specific maintenance recommendations and follow them to ensure the longevity and proper function of your head.

By following this comprehensive guide, you can successfully install a new head on your boat and enjoy the comfort and convenience it provides. With proper maintenance and care, your new head will serve you well as you continue your sailing adventures with your family.