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Old 06-06-2024, 05:56 AM   #1
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Default Hints on Thetford toilet operation

Since Trailmanor trailers first became available in 1983 or so, they have been equipped with the Thetford recirculating toilet. For years, owners were happy with the toilet, and there were few complaints. But not long ago, a few users began to complain that the toilet smelled, and a "cute" but rude name was invented for the unit. Satisfied users often don't feel the need to respond, so the idea of "Thetford smell" soon entered the realm of legend. And recently it has gotten to the point where potential TM owners, even those who have never seen a recirculating toilet, are re-thinking ownership based on whether or not it has one. I think this is sad.

My wife and I have owned three Trailmanors over the last 20 years, all equipped with the Thetford recirculating toilet. We use the toilet for everything – we never use campground restrooms. And we have never had a smell problem. After reading dozens of posts on the Forum, I have concluded that if your Thetford smells, the problem is most likely not the toilet, but how you use it.

In my experience, there are 3 easy rules for using the recirculating toilet successfully.
1. Keep the lid down! You can leave it up at home, but don't do it here. Ask yourself – why do PortaPotties always stink, in spite of the fact that they all have a BIG vent stack? It is because no one EVER closes the lid in a Porta Potty! Yuk! Smells come up through the seat, rather than up the vent stack.
2. Use the recommended amount of a good deodorant. This is getting harder since the end of formaldehyde, but there are good deodorants out there. Rather than slick advertising and fake star ratings, look around for experienced-based recommendations here on TMOwners or on TMFans.
3. Use the vent fan when you need it, just as you do at home! Any number of folks go through elaborate toilet projects, only to discover that switching on that low-power fan for a few minutes solves the problem.

If you like projects – and many of us do, including me – there is nothing wrong with replacing one TM toilet with another. And it is fine to share details of how you did it. The project often costs around $1000, and requires many hours of uncomfortable labor, but if that is your choice, do it! What makes me uncomfortable is the desire to be "an influencer", and convince people that even if it ain't broke, you still need to fix it. That's not what this Forum is all about.

Feel free to post responses in the Plumbing Forum. Long-time Forum members remember that the Technical Library, like a brick-and-mortar Library, is not intended for real-time responses.

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