Has anyone personally had any bad experience with an Airhead or Nature Head "composting toilet"? Do any of you who have installed one of these products regret the experience? If anyone has a yes to either of these questions, please elaborate.
Bad experiences? Yeah, sure we've had those. Now that we're more experienced with the Nature's Head they're few and far between. My wife and I don't regret installing it at all, and believe you me, the experiences we had weren't half as bad as "experiences" with the old systems.
1: We had a larva infestation in the toilet.
This nearly put the wife off the whole process and she's normally happy to be the one to empty it! Turned out that the peat moss we bought had hitch-hikers of the 6 legged kind in it. We used premethrin spray and killed them and dumped the "compost". Yet another reason to use coconut coir. No possibility of bugs!
2: Got lazy with checking to make sure the urine bottle was full one too many times. The nature's head is designed to that if the urine bottle is full, excess urine goes into the composing part. A good design considering the alternatives, but we ended up with a soupy mess. We added quite a bit more coconut coir which soaked up the moisture and emptied the stuff once it was more like dirt again.
3: Pee bottle smells. If we don't rinse the pee bottle out with vinegar every few weeks/months depending on usage there can be a urine odor. Not a huge hassle though.
4: A non issue: We've had the fan stop many times and it was never a problem. It's quite amazing that the unit won't smell at all even with the fan off. Once the media is saturated with poo it will start to smell a little "earthy" but nothing like poo, or farm, or anything very unpleasant.
Sorry, I just can't leave the medical issue alone. There is so much bad medical information abounding on the internet that I feel compelled to comment, even though it's a bit off topic by now.
I AGREE that these units don't compost in any meaningful way. With particular attention to medical issues, they absolutely do NOT render any pathogens safe through "composing." Therefore I agree that some care needs to be taken with the nighsoil especially if you suspect sick people are pooping in it.
What I take issue with is C-diff. C-diff is NOT like hepatitis and many other fecal-oral diseases because C-DIFF REQUIRES A SENSITIVE HOST. Thus the dog rummaging through the trash analogy is not a very good one. Remember, to get C-diff you not only need to ingest C-diff spores orally, but you must CURRENTLY/RECENTLY BE ON ANTIBIOTICS in order to be at any risk of the infection. If you're not on antibiotics, you could eat a nightsoil sandwich that is loaded with C-diff spores and even live C-diff bacteriea and have nothing to worry about, except perhaps really bad breath.
C-diff is making the round of the media and it's common enough now that people know people who've had it, but it's like MRSA in a lot of ways. The more you know about the epidemiology of it, the less worried about it you should be. I track C-diff spores (and MRSA) home every day from work and I don't worry one bit about it.