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Old 22-10-2018, 12:02   #1
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Composting Head Impact on Resale

Hello All,

Just purchasing a 1977 Viking 43 DCYM and the first upgrade I am looking at is to replace one of the two heads with a composting (Airhead is what I'm targeting at this time). I am expecting to have this boat for a long time, and have no intention on a quick sale.... however I am an engineer at heart so I look at every detail, costs and ROI of each decision. So, please no responses of "why ask about resale on a boat you just bought?". I'm an engineer at heart...its what I do!

Anyone have thoughts on the impact of a Composting Head on resale? Couldn't find any previous threads on the resale side of the topic. I'm doubting it has any real effect on value, however wondering if it increases or reduces audience of people who would be interested in purchasing later. Just wondering if installing one becomes a problem down the road when one may need to sell or upgrade to a larger/newer boat?

Could be anything from just upgrading 1 head and leaving the holding tank system intact, to going completely compost and removing the holding tank/hoses/pipes all together. While I see this as a positive to remove the holding system, not sure how that looks to the wider audience.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

Thanks!
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Old 22-10-2018, 12:28   #2
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

R1Guy,

We did the same thing with a similar approach to decision making. [Another engineer here...]

In the end we installed a composting toilet in one of our two heads, keeping the set-up for the removed toilet intact [and have the toilet in storage...] so we [or a new owner] could go back to a Lavac flush toilet in the future if desired.

Regarding possible resale impact; that really depends on the buyer doesn't it? What if a buyer preferred a composting toilet? Win-Win. If not, keep systems intact so it is not a big project to switch it back... In the end, this is such a small portion of the value of a boat the size of yours I don't see how it could have a significant impact on resale price in the future. And if a future buyer won't purchase just because one of two heads is a composter, you have an out [or it isn't the right buyer...]

I would recommend you consider keeping the holding tank [assuming it is in good shape and legal...] and perhaps remove the old hoses [and cap openings] to reduce odor sources— to be replaced with new if/when the time comes.

If your set-up allows, you may also consider running a hose from the liquid discharg fitting of your impending composter to the old holding tank to eliminate dealing with the liquids jug where feasable. [Install a CPVC valve at toilet to prevent liquids running amuk while sailing... This is our plan...]

If you are interested, here is our page about our decision making process and experiences with our Nature's Head toilet.

Best wishes deciding what is best for you. After nearly 3 years, we are very pleased with our choices...

Cheers! Bill
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Old 22-10-2018, 12:40   #3
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

Tally up the costs for converting it back. Set it aside in case you need to later to sell the boat. can always offer as an incentive to sell.
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Old 22-10-2018, 17:05   #4
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

Thanks for the responses. I am only going to upgrade 1 of 2 for now and leave the system in place. Great points around that being the lowest risk option. I guess I can reconsider pulling out the entire system in a couple years if one of my projects really needs the space. For now, 1 out of 2 works!


wrwakefield - thanks for the post about your choice of Nature's Head. I am leaning towards Airhead right now. Seems that older models had smaller liquid tanks but that is now changed. They now also have a regular seat cover vs the rounded. Still have to measure to see if that will fit.
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Old 22-10-2018, 19:46   #5
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

We recently sold a boat with a composting head (single head boat). We had kept the holding tank and thru-hulls but ripped out all the hoses. Converting back to a conventional head would have been very easy.

No way to know how many potential buyers didn't look at the boat due to the composting head, but 3 of the people who did seriously look mentioned specifically it was the composting head that attracted them to our particular boat.

I think it can be a plus or a minus depending on the buyer. Keeping the infrastructure in place to easily convert back seems like a sensible hedge.

That said, I am ripping out everything (thru-hulls, holding tank, deck pump out, etc.) on my new boat. Don't want it, but I plan to keep this boat for a long time.
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Old 22-10-2018, 20:21   #6
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

Quote:
Originally Posted by R1Guy View Post
Thanks for the responses...


wrwakefield - thanks for the post about your choice of Nature's Head. I am leaning towards Airhead right now. Seems that older models had smaller liquid tanks but that is now changed. They now also have a regular seat cover vs the rounded. Still have to measure to see if that will fit.
R1Guy,

I'm glad you found something worthwhile in our musings...

I think any of the liquid seperating composting heads are a solid choice. It comes down to personal preference based upon nuance of design.

When we were shopping composting heads, we were fortunate enough to do so at the Seattle boat show where we could set them side-by-side and really go through them [and try them on for size as it were...]

As I mentioned, you cannot go wrong as they are all well made.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 23-10-2018, 07:36   #7
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

The fact is that at this point in time, composting heads are still a sort of a niche item. The great majority of boats use ordinary marine heads. That may change some day, but for now it is what it is.


That means that the majority of buyers are going to be looking for, and expecting, a normal marine head. Some will insist on it. Others may prefer the composting toilet, and might even consider it something worth paying more for. But they are going to be in the minority. In the end, having a composting toilet is going to narrow the number of buyers who will want your boat.


That means it may take longer to find the right buyer for your boat. Which, of course, means more carrying expenses until you sell. If you are in a position where you have to sell quickly, the only way to do that will be to lower the asking price, so that even those who don't really want a composting toilet will consider your boat.


This is simple supply-and-demand economics, and there is no way around it. It doesn't matter how wonderful you might think composting toilets are, there is no denying the fact that, for now at least, they are a niche item.


Of course, that is not necessarily an argument against getting a composting toilet. If you enjoy it for 5-6 years it may be well worth a small hit when you sell the boat. That is a decision that only you can make for yourself.


My philosophy has always been to get what I want, and worry about resale value only as a very secondary consideration. I want something that I'm going to enjoy and get use out of, and if that means it costs me a little bit more (either up front, or at resale time) then so be it.


Good luck, whatever you do.
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Old 23-10-2018, 08:17   #8
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

it's the first thing i thought about when looking at a boat: how do i get rid of the composting head and how much will it cost?
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Old 23-10-2018, 08:45   #9
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

I would think that your plan of one composting head and one traditional one is ideal. A future purchaser should be less deterred by that. I think you also might find that guests would prefer to use the traditional head. Only time will tell, on that one. If the composting head is a rip roaring success for you and all your guests, then maybe it's worth changing the other, but that might well be superfluous.
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Old 23-10-2018, 09:41   #10
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

My first thought was to ask the Admiral. Her response: no way.

So if I really, really liked the boat I'd have to convert it back.
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Old 23-10-2018, 09:46   #11
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

Quote:
Originally Posted by R1Guy View Post
Hello All,

Just purchasing a 1977 Viking 43 DCYM and the first upgrade I am looking at is to replace one of the two heads with a composting (Airhead is what I'm targeting at this time). I am expecting to have this boat for a long time, and have no intention on a quick sale.... however I am an engineer at heart so I look at every detail, costs and ROI of each decision. So, please no responses of "why ask about resale on a boat you just bought?". I'm an engineer at heart...its what I do!

Anyone have thoughts on the impact of a Composting Head on resale? Couldn't find any previous threads on the resale side of the topic. I'm doubting it has any real effect on value, however wondering if it increases or reduces audience of people who would be interested in purchasing later. Just wondering if installing one becomes a problem down the road when one may need to sell or upgrade to a larger/newer boat?

Could be anything from just upgrading 1 head and leaving the holding tank system intact, to going completely compost and removing the holding tank/hoses/pipes all together. While I see this as a positive to remove the holding system, not sure how that looks to the wider audience.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

Thanks!
When we installed our composter, we (carefully) removed the old holding tank, and put in place a new plastic holding tank which (unsoiled) we use for dry storage. Put a big clean-out port on top which allows fairly large items to be kept dry under pretty much any circumstances. I figure that when we sell the boat, a new owner could go back to a conventional marine head without too much trouble.
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:30   #12
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

I immediately skip to the next boat when I see a composting head. I'm not interested in one and I'm not interested in re-plumbing the sanitation system and reversing the PO's dreams.

There's usually enough things that need to be done to a used boat.
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Old 23-10-2018, 10:55   #13
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

For me, it would be a definite plus to see a composting head already installed. So I guess it would depend on the market, the location, and the customer.

Composting heads are more common than some here seem to think. Even based on a survey conducted here on CF last year it shows nearly 25% of respondents use a CH.

Head Poll - what type do you have?
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Old 23-10-2018, 11:41   #14
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

We, too, had a boat with two heads and replaced one with an Airhead. On a 5 month cruise our traditional head plugged up with scale to the point that a traditional rebuild kit couldn’t repair it. We were unable to secure everything we needed to fix it where we were at the time. Our Airhead saved our cruise.

I did plumb the Airhead’s urine bucket into our holding tank. That meant that we could go at least 30 days (two people) without any overboard discharge of any kind. Note that you cannot glue the nipple to attach the hose running to the holding tank to the urine bucket with glue. It needs to be welded. Geoff at Airhead’s Portland, Maine location will do the job for you.

In my opinion in a two head boat having one Airhead is the perfect set up. We sold our boat in 2016 to the first person who looked at it so the Airhead didn’t appear to be a deterrent.

We like the Airhead so much (it’s a whole better then trying to find an open and working pump out station and less risky than an illegal discharge) that when we developed a leak in our holding tank on our Downeast cruising boat we installed one as our only head.
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Old 23-10-2018, 11:50   #15
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Re: Composting Head Impact on Resale

+1 for what WRwakefield said. I removed the toilet, removed the holding tank, and kept all hoses in place (but firmly plugged). I have been super happy with my decision, and I can re-install the Lavac head if needed to sell. By the way, removing the holding tank created another large storage area as an added bonus.
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