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rebeccasf 10-03-2015 05:12 PM

Installed a Composting Toilet in my Casita
 
I installed a composting toilet in my tiny Casita just over a month ago. It's worked out wonderfully. I wanted to be able to boondock for at least a week at a time and the original toilet only had a 5 gallon tank. I know it's not for everyone, but it works great for me. I made a vlog post about it.

https://youtu.be/Fn24u_TkGQY

Bob Miller 10-03-2015 10:35 PM

Very informative video, it sounds like it's working for you so far. Did I miss any mention of the make and model and cost of the unit itself? I don't seem to remember it?


FWIW: You mentioned a threads on the site here about composting toilets vs. holding tanks without mentioning the real alternative in the discussion, the Porta- Potty.


I agree that the black tank, stinky slinky and finding a dump station are all a real drag. However, after removing the loo and black tank, we installed a Dometic 975 SeaLand porta-potty in our Hunter and two of use can use it for at least 4 to 5 or more days between emptying the holding tank into any toilet or outhouse. And, as with your system, there is never any odors etc.


About your battery.... I suggest that you get the charging system tested before you change out that battery. That it remained dead after being plugged in for several days suggests that you aren't charging from the on-board converter/charger. All of your charging so far may have only been from your tow vehicle.


When charging, your battery should be reading over 13.4 volts DC as soon as you power the shore cable. You will want to check that out first.


Good Luck




Sands 10-04-2015 05:03 AM

Xcellent video. I've looked at that model (the C-head) but it is great to see it in relation to a Casita bathroom. They (and all composting toilets) seem expensive for what they are, but if built well there is no reason they wouldn't last decades. Thanks for posting!

rgrugg 10-04-2015 05:16 AM

I can't understand how a composting toilet can work in an RV because of the short amount of time available for composting to take place. In my own case I empty once a week. How is this enough time to convert the waste to compost?

Larry C Hanson 10-04-2015 08:53 AM

Nature's Head
 
Hello,

After full timing for 6 years and using a 'composting' toilet
I can say that it is much better than dealing with black water.
Nature's Head is the one I chose costing about $900.

The compost box needs to be serviced about every 3 - 4
weeks... one person using it. There is only the smell of peat moss
when emptying out the chamber into a finishing plastic box that
let it dry out in some more. I don't know that it actually composts
as I have never used it for fertilizer. However, when disposing of the
remainder in a dumpster I don't worry much about the leavings as
they are surely not as toxic a dirty diapers or chemical wastes
that typically end up in the landfill. The urine container can be
emptied into a toilet. To me this arrangement is much less effort
than dealing with hauling around a tank of black water to dispose
of. Each week there would be about 15 gallons of the nastly
stuff to deal with.

The toilet maintenance is easy although the exhaust fan has
to be replaced every year or two, an easy job. The fan draws
about 1W or about 2 AH/Day at 12V DC.

All for now...

Larry H

Gina D. 10-04-2015 10:04 AM

Rebecca,

First off, let me say that it was a pleasure to meet you up on the Ridge last week, and I am pleased to see your post/video explaining your system. Well done!

I too, use the porta potti method, lacking a black tank in the trailer, its a natural alternative for me. I plan to come up with a less cumbersome method for dumping..that 5 gallon tank is HEAVY! This, in combination of using the campground facilities, has kept me "going" for several years of fulltiming. This winter, I intend to modify the plumbing in my rig so that I can dump the potty into a sewer hook up without ever having to drag the tank out of the trailer. I will use the existing pathways left from the PO after he ripped out the reciculating toilet original to the trailer. (Oh, how I wish he had not dome that)

On separating the liquids from the solids...I use a female urinal to help reduce the frequency of dumping. This is controversial for the squeamish, but not at all weird once you do it. I keep a proper balance of liquid in the potti to reduce the solid waste, but it really helps.

Bob Miller 10-04-2015 11:02 AM

Hopefully not stepping to close to the line of propriety....


Judy bought two of these the day that REI store #2 opened in Berkley, CA (about 1969?), back when we used to go hiking everywhere, and she still has one of them in her travel kit, (The other one got lost).
Sani-Fem Freshette Feminine Urinary Director - REI.com
and it is still in use.... talk about a quality product.


But that was before REI became more of a clothing store.... Hope the quality is still there.




Mary F 10-04-2015 12:03 PM

Hi, Rebecca!! Greetings from the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering. It was great to meet you last week. I have no opinion on your set up, but just wanted to :wave wave.

rebeccasf 10-04-2015 01:32 PM

Hi Bob!

The make is C-Head and it was $630. I agree, that there are some really wonderful porta-potties available. I would certainly have considered one, but the main reason I chose this was so I could boondock for a week or more at a time. The 5 gallon tank was just too limiting for me.

Also, I don't think the stinky-slinky is too terrible if you have a grey water tank. At least you have the ability to flush the tube after emptying the black water. For me, I only had the black tank, so I would have to rely on flushing the tube with fresh water. That seemed a little wasteful to run a bunch of water through to keep it somewhat clean. If I had a bigger black water tank and a grey water, I probably would have just left them in place and made due.

I have already replaced my battery. The old battery was very small and had fallen on it's side because the previous owner did not put it in the battery box. I replaced it with a maintenance free version. That was a story in itself. My video just before this one details the fun I had trying to buy my battery! ;)


Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Miller (Post 551973)
Very informative video, it sounds like it's working for you so far. Did I miss any mention of the make and model and cost of the unit itself? I don't seem to remember it?


FWIW: You mentioned a threads on the site here about composting toilets vs. holding tanks without mentioning the real alternative in the discussion, the Porta- Potty.


I agree that the black tank, stinky slinky and finding a dump station are all a real drag. However, after removing the loo and black tank, we installed a Dometic 975 SeaLand porta-potty in our Hunter and two of use can use it for at least 4 to 5 or more days between emptying the holding tank into any toilet or outhouse. And, as with your system, there is never any odors etc.


About your battery.... I suggest that you get the charging system tested before you change out that battery. That it remained dead after being plugged in for several days suggests that you aren't charging from the on-board converter/charger. All of your charging so far may have only been from your tow vehicle.


When charging, your battery should be reading over 13.4 volts DC as soon as you power the shore cable. You will want to check that out first.


Good Luck


rebeccasf 10-04-2015 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sands (Post 551979)
Xcellent video. I've looked at that model (the C-head) but it is great to see it in relation to a Casita bathroom. They (and all composting toilets) seem expensive for what they are, but if built well there is no reason they wouldn't last decades. Thanks for posting!

Thanks! I agree, these things seem expensive for what is basically a bucket and jug. But this one is sturdy and was originally made for a boat. So I don't have any worries about it on a bouncy, forest road or the stirring mechanisms breaking. I also really like that it just "feels" like a regular toilet. I specifically chose this model because the other popular one (the Nature's Head), was just too much more to justify the expense. Mine was $630 and the other was $960. Huge difference.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rgrugg (Post 551981)
I can't understand how a composting toilet can work in an RV because of the short amount of time available for composting to take place. In my own case I empty once a week. How is this enough time to convert the waste to compost?

Well, some of the "stuff" will not be fully composted when it is dumped. So it's best to dump it where it can finish composting. For one person, you can use it for a month before dumping so the process is really underway at that point. I have been staying at campgrounds for the last week+ because I was in a National Park so I haven't used it in that time and everything inside seems to have composted now. But I'm actually surprised out how fast it seems to disappear. When I first got it, I would occasionally peep down inside with a flashlight to see how it was working and could only see some of the white from the toilet paper. As long as it's kept dry, the composting seems to happen very quickly.

rebeccasf 10-04-2015 02:00 PM

I really loved the Nature's Head, especially after seeing multiple videos on youtube about it. But I just couldn't justify the cost versus the model I bought. But it does seem like a well made product.

The fact that it doesn't smell really tripped me out at first. Even though many people had said that fact, I had a difficult time believing it. But now, I'm a true believer! :)

I use my toilet for #1 multiple times a day and I too just empty it into the campground toilet. If I'm at a place with full hookups, I just pour it down the tube for black water. It's so nice not to have to get dressed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry C Hanson (Post 551998)
Hello,

After full timing for 6 years and using a 'composting' toilet
I can say that it is much better than dealing with black water.
Nature's Head is the one I chose costing about $900.

The compost box needs to be serviced about every 3 - 4
weeks... one person using it. There is only the smell of peat moss
when emptying out the chamber into a finishing plastic box that
let it dry out in some more. I don't know that it actually composts
as I have never used it for fertilizer. However, when disposing of the
remainder in a dumpster I don't worry much about the leavings as
they are surely not as toxic a dirty diapers or chemical wastes
that typically end up in the landfill. The urine container can be
emptied into a toilet. To me this arrangement is much less effort
than dealing with hauling around a tank of black water to dispose
of. Each week there would be about 15 gallons of the nastly
stuff to deal with.

The toilet maintenance is easy although the exhaust fan has
to be replaced every year or two, an easy job. The fan draws
about 1W or about 2 AH/Day at 12V DC.

All for now...

Larry H


rebeccasf 10-04-2015 02:10 PM

Yes, it was a pleasure to meet you too!! :)

I considered the porta-potty, mainly because I didn't believe all the hype about composting toilets at first. But the sheer number of videos about them on youtube convinced me to give it a try. I think each person should choose the best method for them and their situation. There is no 'one' answer. Since I wanted to be able to go out on BLM land for a week or more, this seemed like the best solution for me.

Regarding your trailers PO, I wonder if I may be that person when I ripped out the toilet that was in there. I think maybe the next owner will be, "I wish she had just left the old toilet in there!" But I needed to make my tiny home a place for me, so I did what I had to do. :cool:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gina D. (Post 552006)
Rebecca,

First off, let me say that it was a pleasure to meet you up on the Ridge last week, and I am pleased to see your post/video explaining your system. Well done!

I too, use the porta potti method, lacking a black tank in the trailer, its a natural alternative for me. I plan to come up with a less cumbersome method for dumping..that 5 gallon tank is HEAVY! This, in combination of using the campground facilities, has kept me "going" for several years of fulltiming. This winter, I intend to modify the plumbing in my rig so that I can dump the potty into a sewer hook up without ever having to drag the tank out of the trailer. I will use the existing pathways left from the PO after he ripped out the reciculating toilet original to the trailer. (Oh, how I wish he had not dome that)

On separating the liquids from the solids...I use a female urinal to help reduce the frequency of dumping. This is controversial for the squeamish, but not at all weird once you do it. I keep a proper balance of liquid in the potti to reduce the solid waste, but it really helps.


rebeccasf 10-04-2015 02:14 PM

I think we've breached that particular level of propriety in this thread! :D

There are a few of those devices out there. My friend has one called the Go-Girl. It actually came in camo so no one would ever see you going!! LOL!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Miller (Post 552012)
Hopefully not stepping to close to the line of propriety....

Judy bought two of these the day that REI store #2 opened in Berkley, CA (about 1969?), back when we used to go hiking everywhere, and she still has one of them in her travel kit, (The other one got lost).
Sani-Fem Freshette Feminine Urinary Director - REI.com
and it is still in use.... talk about a quality product.


But that was before REI became more of a clothing store.... Hope the quality is still there.


rebeccasf 10-04-2015 02:16 PM

It was a pleasure to meet you too!! :D

Hope you're having a wonderful time!
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mary F (Post 552017)
Hi, Rebecca!! Greetings from the Fall Northern Oregon Gathering. It was great to meet you last week. I have no opinion on your set up, but just wanted to :wave wave.


Bob Miller 10-04-2015 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rebeccasf (Post 552029)
Hi Bob!

The make is C-Head and it was $630. I agree, that there are some really wonderful porta-potties available. I would certainly have considered one, but the main reason I chose this was so I could boondock for a week or more at a time. The 5 gallon tank was just too limiting for me.

Also, I don't think the stinky-slinky is too terrible if you have a grey water tank. At least you have the ability to flush the tube after emptying the black water. For me, I only had the black tank, so I would have to rely on flushing the tube with fresh water. That seemed a little wasteful to run a bunch of water through to keep it somewhat clean. If I had a bigger black water tank and a grey water, I probably would have just left them in place and made due.

I have already replaced my battery. The old battery was very small and had fallen on it's side because the previous owner did not put it in the battery box. I replaced it with a maintenance free version. That was a story in itself. My video just before this one details the fun I had trying to buy my battery! ;)

In my personal experience with other RV's, the bigger issue with holding tanks is finding a place to dump it. Unless one tends to frequent full service campgrounds they can be hard to find and can cost $$$ I was once charged $10 to empty a full 12 gallon black tank...

Our answer to capacity is that we have a second holding tank for our Dometic that we toss in the back of the TV if we will be boondocking for more that 5 days. That doubles us to ten gallons and a lot of other things run out before we could fill two tanks. We were out in May/June for 28 days/5000 miles and only had to dump 1 tank 4 times. We only had two nights with hook-ups of any kind.

Bummer with the battery, that's really weird that it could fall onto it's side.




Timber Wolf 10-04-2015 03:48 PM

Rebecca, thank you very much for posting your report. Although it is a somewhat undesirable topic it is one we all deal with whether we want to talk about it or not. It is good to hear from somebody who has been there and is doing it.;) Please keep us informed of how it works in longer term use.

A suggestion on your cleaning water, maybe use a spray bottle or dish soap bottle filled with a diluted mix of blue tank chemical. These would use less water, allow you to direct it about the bowl/funnel, and add a little no-stink to the gallon jug. This might extend times between dumps of the liquid container. Happy journeys!

rebeccasf 10-04-2015 04:59 PM

Someone had reminded me about the vinegar trick. I think I'll try that for sure. I don't really want to use any chemicals. :eek:

Thanks for watching and commenting! I've learned so much from this community so far, I'm glad I can contribute back in a small way!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timber Wolf (Post 552062)
Rebecca, thank you very much for posting your report. Although it is a somewhat undesirable topic it is one we all deal with whether we want to talk about it or not. It is good to hear from somebody who has been there and is doing it.;) Please keep us informed of how it works in longer term use.

A suggestion on your cleaning water, maybe use a spray bottle or dish soap bottle filled with a diluted mix of blue tank chemical. These would use less water, allow you to direct it about the bowl/funnel, and add a little no-stink to the gallon jug. This might extend times between dumps of the liquid container. Happy journeys!


Glenn Baglo 10-04-2015 06:14 PM

Vinegar is chemical, like everything else:

The complete structural formula of acetic acid is as follows.
The condensed structural formula for acetic acid (the main component in vinegar) is CH3COOH.

rebeccasf 10-04-2015 07:37 PM

Ha ha!! Yes, you're correct. :loltu
I guess I just meant to avoid things that I perceive to be too harmful or harsh. But as I think about it, I don't really know what's in the "blue stuff!"

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo (Post 552083)
Vinegar is chemical, like everything else:

The complete structural formula of acetic acid is as follows.
The condensed structural formula for acetic acid (the main component in vinegar) is CH3COOH.


Glenn Baglo 10-04-2015 08:24 PM

Probably vinegar and ground up blueberries for color.


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