Extended time away - how to leave the system?


New member
Jan 1, 2000
RO Number
I'm in south Florida, finally, but need to leave the boat for ~ 2 months. I have two Sealand/Vacuflush systems. I definitely will shut the power down on the VacuFlush units but I'm unsure if I should drain the toilet water before doing so. If I leave the water in the bowl its more likely to ensure no smells creep into the boat from the holding tank. If I flush the water from the bowl it will help the water from getting nasty and causing a smell upon our return....so, not sure which is best.

Thoughts on how I should approach this? I've always left the bowls with water in them during the summer time, so, I'm more likely to take this approach than to flush the water.

I will, of course, pump out w/backflush so the tank won't be so nasty.
I always flushed the system and tanks and lines with fresh water then added drained the tanks. A last flush with KO cant hurt either. lastly a drop or two of cooking oil in the head will slow evaporation. Dont leave the bowl dry or smells will come out.
Definitely flush fresh water through the system into the tanks and when you are all done no matter what you do shut them off. Leave water in the bowls and perhaps a bit more than usual. The small amount of oil is a very good idea and might help the duck bills maintain vacuum. But I am thinking a spray into a dry bowl with PAM followed by some exercise of the valve without water on might be better? Then fill it and turn on the pumps and shut them off when they are done? During the Summer we have left ours on the hard up in Port Charlotte and Indian Town. At launch they still had vacuum in spite of the bowls completely evaporating. A pump out followed by a thorough rinse is a very good idea.
Ok, thanks. I use KO as well. I will put extra water in the bowl with some oil or other lubricant and then shut the vacuflush's off -- there's no raw water involved anywhere so this should work fine. bowl might be nasty upon my return but shouldn't cause a stink.

About all you will find is a ring caused by evaporation. Just clean the bowls up good and flush it away so there is nothing to contribute to odor.
If you're not using chlorinated water a tiny bit of bleach (tiny bit) in the bowl will help. Two to three sprays of generic "cleaner with bleach" will do or half a teaspoon of straight bleach. Chlorinated city water should be fine as-is. Yes, bleach will kill the aerobic bacteria in the tank but not if you're adding a small amount to the bowl and then using the system when you get back. I know KO well but wouldn't use it to keep a bowl clean. If you want to use a Raritan product for that I'd suggest CP.
We never left any chemicals in the bowl. If you have odors the bowl is not clean, or it leaks, or the hose leaks. If there was any residue in the bowl, we'd put some vinegar in the bowl swish it around and let it sit a while. Then wizz it around again and flush it down prior to all of the other steps.
You had chlorinated (city) water though, right? Well and raw water can benefit from a touch of chlorine for long term storage.
Actually no we didn't because we always had a carbon filter on the inlet to the boat.
Vacuflush is fresh water and the ball valve ensure no smells come out. I always leave water in the bowl to ensure the seals stay wet. I also turn off the breaker but leave the system under vacuum. A little of pine sol or favorite household cleaner doesn't harm to keep the water clean

Originally posted by boatbum

Actually no we didn't because we always had a carbon filter on the inlet to the boat.

No organisms though as the water was chlorinated first. It is the little critters that make the bowl water smell. I wonder if filling the bowl with distilled water wouldn't also have a similar benefit?
If they leave the boat for a couple of months the odds are the bowls will be dry when they return. If they are dry the critters are dead and gone. There's a point where I stop and let it go. I'm thinking distilled water is beyond that point :)