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post #101 of 132 Old 01-11-2016
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Re: Composting Head

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......... Most boaters also pay pump out fees to rid themselves of excrement....
Actually, we dump or pump at least once per week. I don't recall the last time I paid for either. If there is a pumpout boat, I usually tip the operator, but that's maybe once per year. $hitty job.


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post #102 of 132 Old 01-11-2016
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Re: Composting Head

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Actually, we dump or pump at least once per week. I don't recall the last time I paid for either. If there is a pumpout boat, I usually tip the operator, but that's maybe once per year. $hitty job.

You are right, the composter would have made more sense 15-20 years ago when pumpouts were few and far between and also could be quite expensive.
I'm a big fan of the composter but I can understand some peoples preference for the standard system.


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post #103 of 132 Old 01-11-2016
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Re: Composting Head

Would like to hear what peoples experience has been with the use of composting heads. How is the smell? Mess? Clean up? Are you happy with the change or not?

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Jordan Snyder
s/v Base Camp - Pearson 31-2
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post #104 of 132 Old 01-11-2016
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Re: Composting Head

No smell, no real mess (although overflowing the piss jug is always a BAD TIME) and cleanup is really easy. Very happy I changed. It's hard to force myself to look sympathetic when dockmates are complaining about holding tank issues.

Again though, I would not use one if I had a crew of 3 or more. Handles one or two people fine though.

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post #105 of 132 Old 01-11-2016
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Re: Composting Head

Ah, good call. I like the suggestion of 3 or more, that makes perfect sense. I just upgraded all my sanitation lines and pretty happy so far with the minimal odor now.
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post #106 of 132 Old 01-12-2016
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Re: Composting Head

Composting or conventional - they can both be good or bad.

What I find interesting about these threads is that in general it is those with smelly, possibly badly designed holding tank systems that are the ones changing to a composting head. A good holding tank system does not smell and is easy to maintain.

Hose runs should be as short as possible - IO have been on boats where the hose runs look like a LA freeway complete with cloverleafs.

Hoses should never run level - they should go from the head up to an anti-siphon and then downhill to the tank without any dips that can hold waste. The best hose will permeate if waste is left in them.

Y-valves should only be used if necessary - they aren't always needed. The less connections the better.

Vents should be large - 3/4" ideally and there should be 2. Same reason you cannot ventilate a house by opening one window, one is needed for air in and another for air out. If you ever come across an open air waste treatment pond there is rarely any smell - I have seen them in the heat of Mexico without odor. Those small screened vents are close to useless.

Just because the builder installed the system does not mean it is done correctly.

Simple is always better if the result is the same. Especially in the tight spaces of a boat.

While there are many well designed systems the one I like is on Nigel Calder's boat. His holding tank is above and behind the head. All waste goes into the tank. There is a valve at the bottom of the tank as well as a reachable through hull. The waste goes into the top of the tank. An anti-siphon is not needed. If you are in a harbor close the valve. If at sea it is opened and all waste goes straight out. When empty leave the through hull open but close the valve at the tank bottom. This allows the hose below the tank to be rinsed clean. There is a deck pump-out as well.

Changing head systems is somewhat similar to switching from diesel to electric drive - very few switch out a good diesel for electric, just those with old high maintenance engines that came with the boat.

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post #107 of 132 Old 01-12-2016
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Re: Composting Head

What I'm finding in these threads is that almost 100% of the negative comments about composting toilets are from people with absolutely no experience with them at all. Whereas almost all of the positive comments are from people who actually have used them and know what they're talking about.

Same thing with Portabotes.
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post #108 of 132 Old 01-12-2016
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Re: Composting Head

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Originally Posted by 2Gringos View Post
What I'm finding in these threads is that almost 100% of the negative comments about composting toilets are from people with absolutely no experience with them at all. Whereas almost all of the positive comments are from people who actually have used them and know what they're talking about.



Same thing with Portabotes.

I think it's been said before that the majority of the people with the positive comments also have had experience with the typical holding tank setup yet they prefer the composter. And my next dinghy will be a Portabote[emoji1]


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post #109 of 132 Old 01-12-2016
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Re: Composting Head

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Again though, I would not use one if I had a crew of 3 or more. Handles one or two people fine though.
I agree with more than 3. Our youngest son was still living at home when we got our Air Head. It kept up with three of us, but we had to be careful not to "over power" it and we had to change it more frequently, about every 3 weeks. But for ease, 1 or 2 is preferable, absolutely.
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post #110 of 132 Old 01-12-2016
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Re: Composting Head

Couldn't be happier. Air Head users for over 5 years, best upgrade we've ever made to the boat in 15 years of fulltime liveaboard/cruising. No mess, super easy to clean, no smell if maintained properly (meaning if you use coco coir in the amount recommended by the manufacturer, if you use the screen and fan as instructed), no bugs(the complaint that many non-users continually spout off about. Few people I know with CT actually HAVE a bug problem if they use the screen for the fan as suggested, yet this is the complaint that a lot of people are afraid of and continue to mention on these forums. If there are bugs, it's operator error), and we are 100% Coast Guard compliant. In the Caribbean where there are few operational pump outs, I often wonder what people are doing? Some of these boats never move from their harbor mooring, so I know they're not going 3 miles offshore. At least a composting toilet gives you a chance to not pollute harbors.
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