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Old 10-06-2008, 12:23 AM   #1
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Anyone installed a composting toilet?

Hello,

We are restoring a 1956 trailer which will "live" in a location with no septic or sewer. We are thinking of installing a biolet composting toilet.

Anyone done this? Tips? Advice?

Thank you,

Natasya
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by casaalumina View Post
...Anyone done this?
hi casa....

start with these....

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f446...let-35866.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f444...tion-8747.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f444...ons-31011.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f446...ment-7278.html

need more?

search using the C word and about 40 more threads touch on this head...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:20 AM   #3
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Com-posters

**Before posting please read carefully**

People posting about composting toilets tend to last about 6 posts, then seem to turn into compost themselves

How come we never get any follow-up info on these toilets?

What really happens to these com-posters

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Old 10-06-2008, 01:26 AM   #4
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Per usual, 2Air is on the ball. I haven't read all of those posts, but as I have a Biolet N30 at camp, I have the following observations to share.

Does your site offer electricity, even though it has no sewer? If so, great - the toilet needs AC for the heating element and the fan.

Will you be able to set up as near level as can be? Good - the waste drawer won't jam from sloped accumulations.

Do y'all drink a lot of beer or booze??? If so, perhaps a vault privy would be more appropriate as the composting toilets do not like excess moisture. Not at all...

Do you live in a humid climate? Flies are an issue if you do.

How about snakes? They LOVE that heater drawer (the same is true of the gas-fired Destroylet from the 60's & '70's).

If you go with one of the non-powered units, beware of the amount of space needed - the holding area for a family of four is about the size of a modern Bambi (just a slight exaggeration).

Finally, are you really that fond of white or beige plastic?

Those are my thoughts. Your mileage may vary. If you go with a nonpowered unit, best make friends with a sawmill owner if you want to keep the cellulose input where it needs to be - NO ONE eats that much roughage, not even vegans...
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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Compost toilet installation - anyone done it?

Thank you for the links ... I read them all ... but everyone seemed to be planning an installation ... or used one in a cabin. So far no one reported on actual trailer installation.

The trailer is on rural land with vegetable gardens, goats, chickens, pig ... so the "humanure" will just add to the party };> We are not worried about disposal on the road.

My husband is a solar electrician ... so using a solar-power 12v system is likely our first choice.

Here are brands/models I have been considering ... anyone actually installed any of these in a trailer?

Biolet 30 NE Biolet [Biolet 30 NE] - $1,499.00 - Biolet Composting Toilets
Air Head Dry Toilet: Marine Composting Toilet with Compact Convenience: Specifications
Sun-Mar Mobile Straight Back Composting Head With 12 Volt Heater
Lehman's - Products for Simple, Self-sufficient Living
Natures Head Composting Toilet

thank you
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by olddog299 View Post
Per usual, 2Air is on the ball. I haven't read all of those posts, but as I have a Biolet N30 at camp, I have the following observations to share.

Does your site offer electricity, even though it has no sewer? If so, great - the toilet needs AC for the heating element and the fan.

Will you be able to set up as near level as can be? Good - the waste drawer won't jam from sloped accumulations.

Do y'all drink a lot of beer or booze??? If so, perhaps a vault privy would be more appropriate as the composting toilets do not like excess moisture. Not at all...

Do you live in a humid climate? Flies are an issue if you do.

How about snakes? They LOVE that heater drawer (the same is true of the gas-fired Destroylet from the 60's & '70's).

If you go with one of the non-powered units, beware of the amount of space needed - the holding area for a family of four is about the size of a modern Bambi (just a slight exaggeration).

Finally, are you really that fond of white or beige plastic?

Those are my thoughts. Your mileage may vary. If you go with a nonpowered unit, best make friends with a sawmill owner if you want to keep the cellulose input where it needs to be - NO ONE eats that much roughage, not even vegans...
Hi Olddog,

thanks for the reply!

Yes, we can run standard electric to the trailer site ... although I thought the Biolet N30 would run on 12v? Am I wrong?

We plan to pour a cement pad for the trailer ... so the site should be level.

Is the N30 the type that has an **external** holding tank?
Maybe I didn't read the spec sheet right?
We have ample 120v current ... but frequent power outages so we planned on 12v powered unit. We want self-contained *NOT* an external tank system.

Not fond of plastic at all ... but composting toilet is the practical solution for our site ... i.e. ample electric but no sewer/septic.

Snakes? EEEEK. Like you really got snakes crawling up your bu** or am I just scaring myself? Plenty of snakes in our area.

As for the husband and his beer-drinking pals ... I guess they will just have to go au naturel.

cheers,
Natasya in Ojai CA
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:56 PM   #7
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Hello Everyone,

I'm the operations manager for BioLet and have run across your forum. Hopefully you won't mind me jumping in here and adding a little bit to your conversation.

You can use a BioLet in an RV application as long as you consider the following:

1) Size - Will the unit fot in the space you have? All unit except the BioLet XL are 32"D x 21.5"W. The BioLet XL is 32"D x 25"W

2) Electric - Can you supply the unit with 120VAC constantly whenever the unit is in use? If not, you will have to use a non-electric model that presents you with an additional problem. The non-electric models have a drain tube, where are you going to drain it to?

In reply to some of the statements and questions I've seen here:

Olddog 1)Does your site offer electricity, even though it has no sewer? If so, great - the toilet needs AC for the heating element and the fan.
A) The AC power is only needed for electric models. The 30NE does not require power

Olddog 2) Will you be able to set up as near level as can be? Good - the waste drawer won't jam from sloped accumulations.
A) Not true with the electric models. However this is true with the non-electric models since the liquids need to be drained off. If the unit is un-level it may not allow the liquids to flow to the drain.

Olddog 3) Do y'all drink a lot of beer or booze??? If so, perhaps a vault privy would be more appropriate as the composting toilets do not like excess moisture. Not at all...
A) True, however, the rates are calcuated at 1.5 - 2 liters of liquid per person per day. Therefore a unit rated at 4 people full-time will handle up to 8 liters of liquid a day 7 days a week. That's a lot of booze. If you're urinating more than that, ask the guys to water the trees.

Olddog 4) Do you live in a humid climate? Flies are an issue if you do
A) Not true. The presence of flies is an indication of anaerobic activiity in the toilet. This is normally a result of insufficient ventilation or excessive liquid usage over an extended period of time.

Olddog 5) How about snakes? They LOVE that heater drawer (the same is true of the gas-fired Destroylet from the 60's & '70's).
A) After 9 years of working with these things, this is the first time I've heard of this one.

Olddog 6) If you go with one of the non-powered units, beware of the amount of space needed - the holding area for a family of four is about the size of a modern Bambi (just a slight exaggeration).
A) The 30NE requires a space of only 29" Deep X 16" Wide. However it does require something to handle the liquids that is external. Most people will either dig a French drain or use an external container then dispose of the liquids elsewhere.

casaalumina 1) I thought the Biolet N30 would run on 12v? Am I wrong
A) The 30 NE runs with no electric. However, there is a 12VDC auxillary fan that can be installed to increase efficiency.

casaalumina 2) Is the N30 the type that has an **external** holding tank?
A) No, please see Olddog 6 above

casaalumina 3) We have ample 120v current ... but frequent power outages so we planned on 12v powered unit
A) Most people in your type of situation will use an electric model and have a deep cycle battery and 700 watt inverter for the time with power outages. The largest electric model will run for about 2 days on a standard deep cycle marine battery.

Hopefully this helps a little with your discussion.
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Old 10-06-2008, 04:15 PM   #8
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Compost waste

From what I have read compost toilet waste should not be used for gardens,nor for pastures,it is just fine for flower gardens though.I recently built a composting outhouse,55 gal drum cut for container,solar 12v fan,and of course sawdust from the local sawmill,couldn`t stay up north long enough to judge it however. Dave
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Old 10-06-2008, 04:47 PM   #9
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Hi JWeaver,

Thank you so much for jumping in ... I have more questions if you don't mind me picking the brain of a Biolet expert

The (large) dimensions are an issue ... but the bathroom is a total tear-out so we have freedom to design for it.

Question: I see 2 depth dimensions on your spec sheet for the Biolet standard 10 ... 29" and 51". I *think* this means the installed unit extends 29" from the wall but you need 51" total CLEARANCE to remove the tray? Correct?

As you know some details of our situation ... why do you recommend an electric model (the Biolet 10?) over the 30NE ?

Assuming we got at Biolet 10 ... we would need to install a vent pipe through the roof, a liquid waste drain through the floor (to external greywater), and an outlet to plug it in? or is it direct wired? Have I got this right?

Thank you
Natasya, Ojai, CA
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:27 PM   #10
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I've got nothing against composting toilets. However, by the time you invest in a state-approved grey water system, you may be very close to having a full septic system anyway. It's worth checking out.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:36 AM   #11
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easyride Said: From what I have read compost toilet waste should not be used for gardens,nor for pastures,it is just fine for flower gardens though
This is absolutely correct. The compost from a composting toilet should be used on non-food-producing plants. If you wish to use it for food-producing plants you just take it out and put it on another compost pile and let it work for another 6 months to 1 year.


casaalumina Asked:

1) I see 2 depth dimensions on your spec sheet for the Biolet standard 10 ... 29" and 51". I *think* this means the installed unit extends 29" from the wall but you need 51" total CLEARANCE to remove the tray? Correct?
A) Correct. Most people in RVs will install the toilet so they can either pull the tray out through the door or will cut a slot in the bottom of the wall across from the toilet so they can pull the tray out through the wall and into the hall or another room. I don't know if this would be an option for you or not.

2) As you know some details of our situation ... why do you recommend an electric model (the Biolet 10?) over the 30NE
A) 2 reasons: 1) With an electric model they evaporate off all the liquids and you will not have the black water to contend with. 2) Since you have more control with the electric models they are normally more efficient. I recommend electric wherever possibly.

3) Assuming we got at Biolet 10 ... we would need to install a vent pipe through the roof, a liquid waste drain through the floor (to external greywater), and an outlet to plug it in? or is it direct wired? Have I got this right?
A) The 10 Standard is an electric model. Therefore it requires no drain. There is a vent through the roof and a standard 110VAC outlet.

RoadKingMoe Said: I've got nothing against composting toilets. However, by the time you invest in a state-approved grey water system, you may be very close to having a full septic system anyway. It's worth checking out.

This is correct in many areas. However, it is not the standard. You need to check with your local authorities as to what they will approve in your area. In the 3 counties around me: 1) require full septic for gray water 2) allows for 50% reduction in size of septic if you are using a composting toilet 3) allows you to run the gray water out onto the ground. So you never know what they are going to approve.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:17 AM   #12
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Since the OP's AirForums "Location" is California, I recommend she become familiar with the resources listed here as a minimum.

Checking with local authorities is also a good idea because local code may be even stricter than state requirements.
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:15 PM   #13
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I Do!

A few years ago I went white water rafting on the American River in Ca. it was a 2 day trip and we spent the night at a little gravel bar that had a toilet at the top of the hill.
I was so impressed that it had NO ODER! I ask my friend and she said "see this bucket here...it's full of cedar chips/shavings. After you "go" you sprinkle a cup or 2 of cedar shavings in the commode and no smell!" I was very impressed and wonder why all State and National parks that don't have flushers don't use this method.
I don't know if will work for you application but I thought i would bring it up in case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by casaalumina View Post
Hello,

We are restoring a 1956 trailer which will "live" in a location with no septic or sewer. We are thinking of installing a biolet composting toilet.

Anyone done this? Tips? Advice?

Thank you,

Natasya
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:49 PM   #14
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Air Head

We installed an Air Head toilet on our previous boat (yes, not a trailer but very tight "head space!")
We've also had two cruising friends who installed the Air Head and used for several years (we wound up selling the boat & didn't have that much usage of the Air Head)

There is no odor with this unit, if you follow their use/maintenance instructions, i.e. 12V fan as exhaust, keep the liquids separate from the solids. For full time use by two people, the compost section should be emptied every 5-6 weeks (many times, "guests" have an aversion to use this type of facility )

Yes, the composting effect is less efficient in high humidity & cooler temps (although no treat of holding tank freezing)

We did have the capability to route the liquids to a holding tank, where they could be emptied later. This avoided taking the liquid jugs to shore when inconvenient.

Toilet paper was always placed in a separate garbage bag (we even do this on our trailers now - keeps the holding tanks from clogging - not a pleasant experience to extract excess paper from the pipes & tank )

The main features we liked about the Air Head: 1) footprint; 2) 12V fan; 3) routing to holding tank of liquids.

Would we install on an A/S??? When our vintage Argy needs a tank job, we may consider it, especially if we plan to do a lot of boondocking. The typical toilet configurations on RV's require maintenance just as the composting toilets do, just that the standard RV head is more "like home."

Good luck on your research - Happy Head Hunting!
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