The Composting Toilet

In order to forgo a black on board tank, we decided to go with a composting toilet.  This was a careful decision because there are many more brands and models out there with terrible reviews than there are with positive ones.

After extensive research, the brands that came out on top with consistently good reviews were the Nature’s Head and the Air Head – both are very similar designs.  I went with the Air head because the liquid tank is slightly easier to access.

I was very skeptical about composting toilets at first, but after using it now for 6 weeks, I don’t have any regrets.  Below, I will outline the installation process and also review how it all functions.

In the first photo, you can see the grey 12v fan hose that vents any odors to the exterior.  We ran it underneath the shower basin so that it can be accessible but not visible.  I put a vent cover on the exterior to keep out any insects or debris.  The fan runs constantly from a 12v power supply and draws almost nothing from the main batteries.  There is also an option for wiring a small solar panel that will specifically power the fan.  The last photo shows the hose connected to the actual toilet.

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The toilet comes in three sections: 1. The liquid tank 2. The solid tank 3. The top portion which consists of an airtight housing, seat and lid.

The toilet is successful in not creating odors by separating the liquid and the solids.  I have read accounts online of people who mistakenly mixed the two and had major problems which could only be solved by disassembling the toilet and cleaning everything out before reinstalling – a job I’m sure most would rather avoid.

There is a black handle on the side which opens a door to the solid tank, when the door is closed the toilet is safe for liquid use – see the last two photos in this sequence.

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Both the liquid and solid tanks screw directly into the floor and are attached by easily removable latches in order to remove one tank at a time when emptying is required.  The liquid tank comes equipped with a carrying handle and the solids tank has a lid to secure the contents while disposing of them.  Emptying the tanks takes only a few minutes and is much easier and less disgusting than I had anticipated.

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The solid tank must have a fair amount of damp coconut fibre or peat moss in order to break down the contents.  The second photo shows where the agitator handle attaches.  After each use, you just give the handle a couple of rotations and it mixes everything and begins the composting process.

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I was pleasantly surprised with all aspects of this product, right from the installation to dealing with the people at Air Head and most importantly, the way it actually works.  I have noticed that as the composting process occurs, the contents of the solids tank actually seems to decrease in size meaning that you can get quite a few uses before emptying.  I would estimate that I empty the liquid tank every three or four days and the solid tank every six weeks.  The toilet is easy to keep clean and not once have I noticed any odors at all.  There is no flushing, therefore it requires no water and the only electricity needed is the 12v connection for the fan.  The toilet is available in two sizes, a marine size which is slightly smaller to accommodate small spaces, or a regular household size.  Pictured above is the household size.

As you can see from the photos, it looks like a regular toilet minus the water tank, however it does take some getting used to.  This is strictly a mental issue from having previously used only a traditional toilet.  Once you get past the initial hesitation and realize that it functions very well, there are no issues with use.

Our toilet was missing the crank handle when it shipped and when I contacted Air Head, they immediately sent us a replacement within 2 days free of charge. I would highly recommend this toilet and company.  It is one of the products I have been most impressed with during the project.

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6 thoughts on “The Composting Toilet

  1. Glad you see you’re using a composting toilet. There are a lot of myths out there, but they are gaining traction among urbanites.

  2. Hi! This is all quite helpful. I am also quite curious as to where to best dump either tank when on your own land full time with only electric available. Thank you!

    1. We didn’t have a black tank and our grey water tank was just dish water etc. With biodegradable soaps and no sewage you should be able to dump pretty much anywhere on your own land.

    2. Just saw this was in regards to the toilet – different municipalities will have different ways to address that so you’ll have to find out where and to what depth you need to dig to deposit the solid tank contents. As for the liquid tank, trees love the nitrogen.

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