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post #21 of 132 Old 12-29-2015
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Re: Composting Head

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I too am looking at this as an option. Unfortunately our PO didn't have a holding tank installed so we are distinctly illegal until we fix it. Before anyone jumps on me, we don't use the head. At this point, it is remove the plumbing and replace with a composting head or add a holding tank. I'm leaning toward the composting head. My only issue is the height of the two most popular composting heads, we'd need a step stool!
We had similar concerns, but instead of the step stool option (many people build small "foot pads") we were able to lower the floor where the Air Head sits. it's still higher than a household toilet, about like using a toilet in a handicap stall. But it's a small price to pay for the convenience.
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post #22 of 132 Old 12-29-2015
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Re: Composting Head

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We had similar concerns, but instead of the step stool option (many people build small "foot pads") we were able to lower the floor where the Air Head sits. it's still higher than a household toilet, about like using a toilet in a handicap stall. But it's a small price to pay for the convenience.
I've thought about lowering the area where the head sits and it is still an option. I'd have to learn how to lay fiberglass, but I'm going to have to learn that sooner or later.

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post #23 of 132 Old 12-29-2015
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Re: Composting Head

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Originally Posted by copacabana View Post
Minne, it's not the same as "just flushing overboard".
I was referring strictly to the implication that a composter could be dumped where a holding tank could not. No such place. I bet most do dump their pee bottles where they aren't allowed.

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..bring it into the woods and dump it under a tree (which I do)
Let us all know which tree has raw feces under it. Your last deposit is not likely composted at all. Would you drop your shorts and go next to that tree?

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....bag it and dispose of it accordingly.
It's really the only good method, IMO. Of course, if it's a plastic bag, that's a shame.

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The urine, where legal, can be dumped overboard,
Are you saying there is a place where urine is specifically legal? None I know of. Where you can legally dump your urine, you could flush a traditional head straight into the same water, #2, paper and all.

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Also, it's not any more complicated for guests than a pump toilet (with its valves, pump handle etc.). They are really quite simple to use and I've never had a guest screw up.
It's not that it's complicated. It's how well some will take to the idea. Let's not be critical of how people feel about these personal things. I don't care one way or the other, but I am aware that many of my guests would find it objectionable.

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If you've never had one on board, it's hard to understand the simplicity of a composting toilet and the advantages.
I acknowledge their advantages, but their weaknesses as well. While I've not used one aboard, I have in camp sites. They are great, when there are no other options. I've also used outhouses, porta-potties, etc, but most would not like them aboard either.

I suppose, if I was alone on a long cruise, I would take to the idea of the simplicity. However, entertaining significantly (probably 100 guests per season) makes them undesirable to me.


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post #24 of 132 Old 12-29-2015
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Re: Composting Head

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Originally Posted by Simply Sailing View Post
Fullt ime liveaboards with an Air Head for 5 years. We've traveled thousands of miles with our Air Head and using it underway is absolutely no problem. They really aren't tricky at all. Much simpler than a traditional marine head and much more forgiving if something goes "wrong." For example, if a little urine gets in the solids container it's not the end of the world. We get 6 weeks for two people fulltime before we have to change the solids container. When our son was still at home we got 4 weeks for three people. Someone may have been giving you misinformation.
This is exactly consistent with my experiences. We are seasonal full-timers so far, which means living on board for ~6 months at a time. For two of us we get around five to six weeks before having to dump the main tank. There is no issue using it underway, nor have I ever encountered any special problem instructing visitors in how to use the head, but visitors to our boat are a self-selected crowd, so it may not be as wide a sample size as Minnewaska's.

Like most choices for a smallish cruising boat, there are plusses and minuses to going with a composting head. In past threads I've itemized both. It is not the best choice in all circumstances, but for those for whom this product is aimed at, I believe it is, indeed, the best option.

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post #25 of 132 Old 12-31-2015
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Re: Composting Head

We are full time liveaboards/cruisers and just came back from the Bahamas. We love the dry head( well as much as you can love a head).
Pros
No hoses, no stink, easy to sanitize the whole system.( I'm a germaphobe).
There is no issue under way except I do not allow the pee tank past 2/3 full to avoid spills. Even in the heat of a Bahamian summer we did not have bug or odor problems. As long as you think of the head as a dry head, you are not composting in the traditional sense ( using microbes to break down the poo), you are drying the poo out (desiccating, denying microbes to live and breed) using good dry peat. I like to add poo powder to help speed up the desiccation process since we empty the poo tank around every 10 days( it can be as often as 1 week, or as long as a month).

Cons
*Cruising, we use a lot more peat then I estimated( 1 gallon of peat a month, Ha!). Cruising we use a gallon of peat every 10 days, sometimes every week. The high humidity in the tropics requires more peat to properly desiccate. We do not have a vent or agitator, so that may be a factor. Poo is 75%ish water so dry it out, not ugh to dispose of.

*Pee disposal is the challenge . We all are so focused on the poo, that's easy. Humans generate about a gallon a day of urine. So lugging urine to the pump out, bathroom, etc, can be a pain. In key west the free pump out boat has a wand that will pump out a jerry can we have on deck for urine tank disposal. So ask your free pump out service if they have a wand. That was the most convenient. If we are on the move pee disposal is really not an issue as it's easy to hop out past the NDZ to empty the pee jugs. In harbor we place two one gallon pee jugs in a designated backpack and empty at the bath house every other day. Not that big of a deal especially compared to the time and effort we spent keeping the wet sanitation system going.

If we had the space and money, I'd push for the waste treatment system like lectrasans( spell? ). That to me is as close to perfect as far as convenience and environmentally friendly.
Hope that helps
Erika
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post #26 of 132 Old 12-31-2015
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Re: Composting Head

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Originally Posted by oceangirl View Post
...Cons
*Cruising, we use a lot more peat then I estimated( 1 gallon of peat a month, Ha!). Cruising we use a gallon of peat every 10 days, sometimes every week. The high humidity in the tropics requires more peat to properly desiccate. We do not have a vent or agitator, so that may be a factor. Poo is 75%ish water so dry it out, not ugh to dispose of.
Erika, have you ever tried coir instead of peat? If so, did it make any difference in the desiccation process. I've only cruised un north so far, but we have never got less than a month using a compressed brick of coir. In the summer the southern Great Lakes can be incredibly humid, although I assume it's not as moist as what you deal with.

I would think an external vent would also make a big difference in the drying process. Are you planning to put one in?

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post #27 of 132 Old 12-31-2015
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Re: Composting Head

I try to only use CocoTek coir, just works so well. I have used off brand coir and my only issue is it is more difficult to reconstitute.( don't know why..?)

Adding a vent is on the list, but our head works so well, the project is at the bottom of the list :-). I put a layer of poo powder down at every new clean tank. WAG bags are especially nice to use as tank liners. But this would only work if you do not have an agitator ( though a c-head may be able to be lined).
Hope that helps. Will be offline till tomorrow ( I think) so may take a while to reply to any questions.
Happy New Year!!
Erika


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post #28 of 132 Old 12-31-2015
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Re: Composting Head

https://vimeo.com/150454103

This is our painful process of dumping the C-Head. All of 17 seconds?


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post #29 of 132 Old 01-01-2016
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Re: Composting Head

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This is our painful process of dumping the C-Head. All of 17 seconds?
And you filmed it? That had to be a little painful.

Seriously though, I don't think anyone is saying it's hard, but that certainly isn't the sum of what you need to do. That plastic bag in the bucket needs to go somewhere and you need to reload the head's composting material.

I'm actually curious what you did with the pee bottle. The rendition above where two gallons of pee are backpacked ashore every other day doesn't exactly sound painless.


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post #30 of 132 Old 01-01-2016
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Re: Composting Head

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
And you filmed it? That had to be a little painful.



Seriously though, I don't think anyone is saying it's hard, but that certainly isn't the sum of what you need to do. That plastic bag in the bucket needs to go somewhere and you need to reload the head's composting material.



I'm actually curious what you did with the pee bottle. The rendition above where two gallons of pee are backpacked ashore every other day doesn't exactly sound painless.

And I thought I might get an offer for a leading role in Hollywood based on my acting in this short video!
The plastic bag was knotted and thrown in the dumpster with the rest of our trash. The total time to reload the head with compost was about the same 17 seconds it took to dump it.
We would usually take the jug of pee in with us when we went to shore, either dumping it in the porta potty dump or flushing it down the toilet. The jug will get an odor after awhile, but since it uses standard milk/water one gallon jugs its painless to replace.
In my opinion, we spend less time and aggravation doing the necessary maintenance on the composter than if we had to pull our anchor every week or two to motor to a marina to pump out.
From my experience probably 95% of the composting head proponents have experience with the standard holding tank arrangement, where probably 95% of the composting head opponents have no experience with a composting head. All a matter of choice.


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