Houseboat Toilets - Smell from black water vent pipe.

by Vicki
(Lake Shasta, California)

How to eliminate houseboat toilet smells.

How to eliminate houseboat toilet smells.

When it comes to houseboat toilets, how can we lessen the methane vapors and smell from our black water vent pipe? We have tried many toilet chemicals...we really like odorless.


There is no toilet smell inside the houseboat, but outside while relaxing on the stern deck, a welcome nice cooling breeze comes by...followed by the horrible methane vapors from the black water vent pipe.

Obviously, the vent is necessary and there is really no good place for it to be...bow, stern, catwalk, upper deck, lower deck...all placements interfere with windows to the inside or deck areas on the outside.

Is there any type of filter cap or attachment to lessen the impact of the vapors...or a chemical that lessens the methane in the tank?

Thanks, Vicki.



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Reply - Answer
Well Vicki, thanks for posting your situation, and sorry to hear about the problem with the "smelly head" so to speak.

I can thoroughly relate to your situation, and we have had great success by changing the way that we treat or maintain our black water holding tank. It is only normal that the vent allows a certain amount of foul smelling exhaust.

If you have one liter of liquid that goes into a septic holding tank, a liter of exhaust air will be expelled. You can buy some carbon filters to try and eliminate the odor, yet I haven't heard any real success stories.

The way we solved our situation was when we found a website for RVer's that had the same problems. They solved their methane gas and odor problems by using water softener powder and laundry detergent. I know it sounds weird, but have a look.


Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their houseboat odor problems and experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.


Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats


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Comments for Houseboat Toilets - Smell from black water vent pipe.

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Best vent odor fix I could find!
by: Cary - Fellow Houseboater

I have found the fix for that horrible smell of the methane gas that builds up in your tanks. The fix is a vent cap change out. The product I am referring to is a product called the 360 Siphon Roof Vent.

I had contacted Doug at Drain Masters inquiring of a fix for my odor problem. Doug was a wealth of knowledge and extremely helpful. The 360 Siphon Vent is the answer as it does not allow air back flow into your tank. With little to no wind, the valve should expel most if not all of the negative holding tank odors.

Keep in mind that if your vent is in an area that is utilized, a pvc extension can be attached allowing to get the vent well above entertaining areas etc... and will have no negative effect.

They provide expert assistance and are a wealth of information on venting and other products that may be helpful, I spoke with Doug.

The product is inexpensive as well - more than likely, considerably less than you are spending on gallons and gallons of tank additive.

Good luck, Cary

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Black water smell
by: Anonymous

If you are looking for a product that actually kills the odor and breaks everything down I would recommend a product called "Canndure".

It is a Canadian product and available online at most marine stores. I have used it for years now in a porta potti on a smaller boat and it is completely odorless and works very fast as well.

I have left the porti potti half full in the boat for a month and when I open it up there is no odor...best stuff ever.

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