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  #1  
Old 02-04-2012
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AirHead Composting Head (graphic)

Every once in awhile I see a post about the AirHead, and I was always interested. I wanted to post myself since I've decided to do the conversion myself. I'm not the most "handy" of sailors, but I'm learning rapidly.

I picked AirHead because the dimensions fit my boat's head better than the Nature's Head. I ordered it, received it, and I was impressed by the construction and height. It's sturdy and comfortable when I sit on it.

Step 1:
Today, I tore out my old head. It took me about three hours (I was interrupted in the middle because I had a diesel mechanic come to help me with my engine). The holding tank was already pumped out, and before I started I opened the waste plug as an additional vent.

I popped the bolts off the toilet so that I could remove it. Each of the toilet's lines were attached pretty snugly, so it was very difficult to remove them. I made my first critical error - removing the macerator pump's discharge line from the pump itself. The pump wasn't pumping before I removed the head, and I figured that since the holding tank was empty, it should be fine, right?

No.

There was a fair amount of pulpy human waste in that line. I was halfway prepared for it (mask, rubber gloves under work gloves, long sleeve shirt and pants, and lots of garbage bags and paper towels). The problem was compounded because the line would not separate all the way from the discharge side - and the high part wasn't coming free either. So, gritting my teeth, I grabbed hold of the hose and really twisted. It came free and rapidly voided itself in the garbage bag I had jammed beneath it when the discharge began. Delightful.

I ended up wrapping that toilet in three garbage bags and a sheet to be able to get it out of my boat. That initial hose got tossed in a bag too, after I cut it off the top of the holding tank. And I did a lot of cleaning up afterwards.

The holding tank was much easier. I had a friend help me (he was bored and he wanted to get his hands dirty) while I worked with the diesel mechanic - he had it out in a few minutes and in it's own trash bag (it was 3 gallons). He also removed the waste port hose as well.

After the mechanic left, so did my friend. I was going to leave, but I still had the discharge line for the holding tank to my thru-hull. I really wanted to finish the project today.

So, I thought about it, and I decided that it must be empty. It was a short run. I looked at it, underneath my settee, and I decided to just cut the line off. As soon as I made my initial cut, more pulpy human waste (well, liquid initially) came spraying out.

I did what I could to make the cut area the "high point" of the line, but the hose was too short. So I had grit my teeth again, and get that line cut. I tell you, I have seen the things of nightmares. When I was done, I jammed as much rag in as I could, crammed on a rubber glove over the hose and jammed it through the bulkhead to get it into its own garbage bag.

I then had the pleasure of cleaning up after myself. I'm going to go back tomorrow and make sure that my boat doesn't stink, and if it does, I'm going for 100% bleach. (Not to worry, when I left there was no evidence of the smell of human waste.)

I'll let you know how the rest of the install goes, but as of right now, at least everything that has ever touched poo is off my boat. And that is a huge accomplishment for me.

I'll tell you also that if rebuilding a head or repairing a jammed pump is only half as bad as what I went through today, then it is too much. I know that I have made the right decision. This is the ONLY time that I want to mess with the waste that comes from humans in pulpy form. The AirHead has no moving parts (except the trap) and importantly, nothing that can jam or clog. And thankfully, the waste part just looks like soil after its been composted.

Nick
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Old 02-04-2012
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Why didn't you rinse everything with freshwater a few times?

I've replaced hoses and pumps a number of times, and what you describe sounds self inflicted. It doesn't need to be that way. Generally, I never even got my hands wet.

For other readers: Flush, repeat, and repeat. No big deal.
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Old 02-04-2012
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Oh yes, it was definitely self-inflicted. I have to laugh at this, because I forgot to add that before I did this change out my dad and his friends (and later a delivery captain) sailed my boat down from Charleston when I was getting deployed. Apparently someone clogged the pump and left it for when I got home.
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Old 02-04-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslade8581 View Post
Oh yes, it was definitely self-inflicted. I have to laugh at this, because I forgot to add that before I did this change out my dad and his friends (and later a delivery captain) sailed my boat down from Charleston when I was getting deployed. Apparently someone clogged the pump and left it for when I got home.


Still, I might have declogged first!
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Old 02-05-2012
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C-head is offering one similar to the Airhead and Natures head for around $450, a fraction the cost. They also sell components, which let you make your own. Just do a search under C-head.
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Old 02-05-2012
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Ok! I have a pump-out system Closed when it fills the tank its pumped from a deck fitting. Have little or no problems ,as long as people follow rules. I considered a porta-potty but couldn't see carrying around a suit-case fullof xxx, looking for a toilet to flush it down. Not to mention the looks & statements you would have to hear! So now you have a composting toilet that doesn't stink in the boat-just outside,burns electric,you get to empty a bucket of **** once a year,And your still carrying a container to a toilet,like the porta-potty guy! Now tell me what is gained here!-----Dale
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Old 02-06-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Superior Sailor View Post
Ok! I have a pump-out system Closed when it fills the tank its pumped from a deck fitting. Have little or no problems ,as long as people follow rules. I considered a porta-potty but couldn't see carrying around a suit-case fullof xxx, looking for a toilet to flush it down. Not to mention the looks & statements you would have to hear! So now you have a composting toilet that doesn't stink in the boat-just outside,burns electric,you get to empty a bucket of **** once a year,And your still carrying a container to a toilet,like the porta-potty guy! Now tell me what is gained?
What is gained?
.No pumps , no valves , no liquid filled hoses, no thru hulls, no tank full of sloshing ****, no smell below, extreme simplicity, no head breakdowns, no pump outs, you get to clean the whole head compartment easily every time you dump it. The fan draws only milliamps. Takes a fraction the limited space on board. Submerge the entire head if you want, and its far easier to bury contents in the bush, throw them in a dumpster, or throw contents overboard at night, or mail to your MP in Ottawa in an ice cream bucket, if you object to boaters being made political scapegoats.
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Last edited by Faster; 02-06-2012 at 07:19 PM. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 02-06-2012
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My family uses about a 1/2 roll of TP every day- what would that do to a composting toilet?

I would like to use one but can they really handle that much TP?
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Old 02-06-2012
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But thats not true: you still have a bucket of liquid to empty , stinks out side and in cockpit. If fan quits then inside. your dumping over the side anyways , use a bucket!..Dale
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Old 02-07-2012
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TP Disposal

No they can't handle that amount of TP .... but there are plenty of countries where you shouldn't flush TP down regular toilets ... adapt!

Traveler Tip: Whether or Not To Flush Toilet Paper in 10 Different Destinations




Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
My family uses about a 1/2 roll of TP every day- what would that do to a composting toilet?

I would like to use one but can they really handle that much TP?
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