Friday, January 15, 2016

Composting Toilet: After 8 Months

--Blogpost written by Bob

It has been eight months since we switched from a conventional marine toilet to an AirHead brand composting toilet. Since we've had so much interest in our blogposts related to this subject, we thought we would pass along our latest experience.

A few things worth noting: (1) there is no flushing, (2) coffee filters now
have a whole new purpose, (3) there are no odors,
and (4) there are no pump out costs.

First Time Emptying Solids Container

We have just emptied the solids container for the first time.  Because we have lived in a marina most of the time since we switched, we have only made about 40 "donations" before emptying it.  It was not full.  We emptied it because of winter approaching, thinking it would probably be easier to empty it on a nice day than a cold day in the middle of winter.  As it turned out, it wouldn't have mattered--it was easy and relatively odorless.

After removing the air exhaust hose and the top of the toilet, we loosened the mounting screws and covered the toilet base with a large black plastic trash bag.  Then we simply turned the toilet base upside down, emptying the contents into the plastic trash bag.  It was an easy matter of disposing of the bag and its contents in the marina's dumpster.

A Couple Liquid Container Overflows

The large liquids container we have holds two gallons and it lasts about 2 days (if we are onboard) before it needs to be emptied.  There are some days that we don't spend onboard and we use the marina's facilities whenever possible.  So, it is easy to lose track of when in needs to be emptied.  Just a couple times in eight months, we didn't empty it in time and we had small overflows into the shower grate.  A "small" overflow is still a big problem because we have to pull up the shower grate and clean everything up.

In the rare event that we have a liquids container overflow, the liquid drains through
the shower grate.  It is a mess to clean up but a good reminder
to keep emptying it regularly. 

After a couple clean up operations, we've become much smarter.  When the "dribbling sound" can't be easily heard, it's time to empty.

No Odors!

The complete lack of odor when using a composting toilet is a huge advantage when living aboard.  There is no raw water handling, no sewage handling, and no holding tanks to leak odors.  

No More Pump Out Costs!

Our marina charges $10 per pump out.  If we still had our previous 15-gallon holding tank, we would need a pump out at least once per week.  Doing the math using 52 weeks per year, our annual pump out costs would be $520.  The composting toilet pays for itself in only 2 years of pump out cost savings.


I really wonder why more boaters haven't switched to composting toilets.  I suppose "change" is difficult.

Thanks for following our blog!

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