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Old 04-04-2013, 20:51   #151
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

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I would like to buy the used one for half price if its possable- - My boat is a charter boat so I have a lot of folks coming onboard who are not used to being onboard, nor are they used to marine heads, or composting heads

Just some random comments from my experience.

Bought a boat with a NH. The PO's wife showed me the ropes.

First you put the brick of moss/what ever in a small bucket with a cup or two of water and let it sit for a few hours. You will probably need a screwdriver to completely break it up and it is probably a good idea to do this a couple of times during the few hours you let it sit.

Get a garbage bag and with the NH you take off the top, put the garbage bag over the bottom and turn it upside down. I have a five gallon bucket I put the garbage bag with the compost in. Some folks clean the bottom container, others don't and the instructions say if you use anything but a toilet like paper substance to clean the bottom (read some type of cleaning solution) you may reduce the number of good organisms that help with composting.

In any case don't ever use something like a brush to clean the container. It is made of a slick surface plastic and a hard brush can put small scratches in the container that doo doo can get stuck in. You want the container as slick as possible.

I put a small plastic bag in the bucket where the new peat moss is soaking up water. I put maybe half of it in the bottom of the container and place the bag with the rest in an old gallon butter container with a lid. The idea here is you are suppose add a little more (or less) peat moss every day or two or so depending on how wet or dry your doo doo is. As has been mentioned some folks will perhaps drink too much or get sea sick or what ever and vomit in the NH at which point you should almost definitely add more peat.

Much has been made of not standing up when peeing in a composting head and I am in complete agreement with this. But keep in mind your aim when having a bowel movement or vomiting (especially for the first time) may not be as good as you think. The first few times I used the NH I used some blue tape to tape a coffee filter to the back as a precaution, something I would advise for first time users. Once my aim improved I discontinued this.

While I always sit down to pee once I am finished I have a spray bottle with a 5:1 mixture of water and MR. CLEAN I spray over the two holes. Urine can form crystals after a while and the MR. CLEAN is suppose to prevent this.

All toilet paper goes in a container lined with a plastic grocery bag, something I learned in Mexico where that is the common practice in several dive locations I frequent.

The NH uses a 30mm computer fan to pull air out of the lower container. A couple of months after I bought the boat mine went bad. I wound up trying a 40mm fan which was OK but soon the fuse in the hardwired line burned out. At that point I replaced the system with a 50mm fan that runs off a USB port in a cigarette lighter port next to the head. I got a deluxe one with a small green light on the USB port when the power is on. This makes it easy to confirm the fan is running and also functions as a night light if I have to use the head in the dark.

Looking back over this thread it seems like there is a big difference in how often folks empty the compost and urine. I am a single hander but all the folks so far are emptying their composting heads far more often than I empty mine. I did buy some cedar cat litter as a precaution for bugs and to see how it would smell. I have every intention of trying it out as soon as the spirit moves me, but so far it does not seem worth the effort.

All in all I am very happy with composting heads in general and NH in particular. I can not comment on other brands but would point out there seem to be lots of happy owners of the various brands.

Another thing to keep in mind is that what ever type of head you have, even the one in your home on land, it is not self cleaning. You still need to watch for waste build up problems and my experience has been to clean things up as soon as possible.

YMMV
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Old 29-05-2013, 20:43   #152
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I just read this entire thread and got to say its spot on. A lot of concerns and solutions.

I live aboard and use NH all the time. Its a wonderful unit even though I've had a few accidents with it, like overfilling the pee tank not once but twice. Now I put a blue die in the tank so I can see it better.
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:19   #153
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

Just an update on our Nature's Head. I did my first dump of the compost compartment. It came out looking like moist soil. No feces smell, just a peaty soil aroma.

Twp adults used the head pretty much continually for three to four weeks. Odour was never an issue. The only aroma was an earthy soil smell, and I only noticed that when the trap door was open (prior to a deposit). We left it on the boat for about a month (unused) before I finally got to dumping it. I suspect that month helped with the composting/processing, but I also expect I could have dumped a month ago with only a slightly more disagreeable outcome.

I will be installing a larger fan b/c Lake Superior tends to be cooler than recommended. If we were down south I probably wouldn't even bother doing that. Overall, we are very pleased with NH.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:55   #154
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

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I will be installing a larger fan b/c Lake Superior tends to be cooler than recommended. If we were down south I probably wouldn't even bother doing that. Overall, we are very pleased with NH.
Actually in the cold it wont stink as much, in fact we did not need a fan in the Puget Sound during winter cause it was cold. Now in contrast and in the heat the piss can become nasty without a fan.

Also you might want to look into the tank modification - its soooo nice.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:06   #155
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

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Actually in the cold it wont stink as much, in fact we did not need a fan in the Puget Sound during winter cause it was cold. Now in contrast and in the heat the piss can become nasty without a fan.

Also you might want to look into the tank modification - its soooo nice.
Thanks Abrain, I'll consider that. My sense is that the cooler temperatures make it harder to dry out the main pot. We had no smell problems from either tank, but you're probably correct that the pee bottle will become smelly in warmer climates.
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Old 30-09-2013, 17:39   #156
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

There is no doubt that we will install a composting head in the next 2 months. The only question is: Which one? Consider 2 adults cruising full time, anchoring about 4 - 5 nights a week, marinas 2 - 3 nights a week (avg) and occasional periods of extended remote anchoring (10 - 15 days). Cost is not a significant issue.

I can see little functional difference between the AH and the NH; please correct me if you think this is wrong. The CH needs to be emptied more often, but it sounds like it's easier to do. Again, correct me if I'm not getting the true picture.

My guess is that we (actually, "I") will pour liquids over the side in many situations, but not in well-populated waterways and marinas, where we will pour out on land or in the land-based potties. Solids will likely be put in a plastic bag and tossed into a dumpster or spread on land in remote areas.

ALL of the units seem to function as designed and advertised, and appear to be well-constructed. Any comments or revelations y'all want to share? BTW, a hearty "Thanks" to those who have contributed to the discussion.

-- John
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Old 30-09-2013, 18:24   #157
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I just installed a C-Head on my boat last week. It worked as advertised for three of us over the weekend. I went with the C-Head over AH and NH because the overall height was lower. I also wanted to do some modifications to fit it into an odd-shaped space (imagine that, on a boat) and the C-Head seemed easiest to modify. I measured twice and ordered once, and got exactly what I expected. It's still a bit big and clunky, but I'm very happy to no longer have a holding tank and associated plumbing. If I stay happy with the composting head I will probably take another shot at shaving off corners to buy another inch or two of leg room in the head. Why don't they make these things shaped to fit better on real boats?
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Old 30-09-2013, 19:38   #158
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

Hi John, I think you've got a good handle on things. I installed a NH, and love it. Works as advertised. It is basically the same thing as the AH, but we went with the NH mainly b/c the fit was a bit better. Either would be fine, I'm sure. The main difference with with the CH is the advertised volume. In rough measures, the AH and NH can hold 2x as much solids. That said, the CH has some advantages over types of containers and size.

They are all basically the same beast. If used correctly, and given your usage pattern, they will all do you well.
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Old 02-10-2013, 15:53   #159
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Can I assume that most people see a huge decrease in smell coming from the heads?

How quickly does the waste actually break down? It's not appealing to us to have to take our waste to a trash can at arms length holding our nose.
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Old 02-10-2013, 16:00   #160
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

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Can I assume that most people see a huge decrease in smell coming from the heads?

How quickly does the waste actually break down? It's not appealing to us to have to take our waste to a trash can at arms length holding our nose.
Honestly when all things are working perfect there is no smell other than a earth dirt smell. Now if things get to wet or you messed up the composting process its gonna stink. Also the pee jug is a nightmare for living-aboard but there are ways to make it easier.
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Old 02-10-2013, 16:07   #161
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Honestly when all things are working perfect there is no smell other than a earth dirt smell. Now if things get to wet or you messed up the composting process its gonna stink. Also the pee jug is a nightmare for living-aboard but there are ways to make it easier.
After all the diapers my wife changes, I'm sure pee jug would fall on me, so what ways have you made it easier?
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Old 02-10-2013, 17:10   #162
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

I am looking to buy a good used Natures Head
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Old 02-10-2013, 18:55   #163
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

When I bought my boat earlier this year, it had such an awful smell that I spent many hours researching the different types of composting heads. Then I cleaned up 99% of the stink and wondered why I would want to rip out a perfectly good head with its 12 gal holding tank. Now, after some late night rushes to the pumpout facilities, making my guy pee in a container, continued unpleasantness with the remaining smell, and reading all the great info and testimonials on this thread, I'm going to bring this job to the top of my To Do list again. Thanks for everyone's input. It also reminds me that I need to buy Mary Roach's book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. If you haven't heard about it, I highly recommend it and her other interesting books on subjects that most people are a bit squeamish to talk about
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Old 02-10-2013, 20:26   #164
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Re: Composting Toilet - Nature's Head

Well, I installed the airhead I bought off ebay into my gemini and then we cruised the boat from connecticut to duluth minnesota with 3 to 4 people onboard over a 32 day period. We emptied the solid container twice which was very easy,the urine container was only used when we were already sitting to use the solids container, we also choose to not put the toilet paper in the tank but rather, fold it and put it in a ziploc bag, its amazing how little you actually need. Most of us use laundry detergent containers to pee in and empty them overboard. The first time we emptied it it was smelling and was quite moist, the second empty no smell. I am very pleased with it and will never go back to a holding tank.

Steve.
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Old 02-12-2013, 19:45   #165
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When I bought my boat earlier this year, it had such an awful smell that I spent many hours researching the different types of composting heads. Then I cleaned up 99% of the stink and wondered why I would want to rip out a perfectly good head with its 12 gal holding tank. Now, after some late night rushes to the pumpout facilities, making my guy pee in a container, continued unpleasantness with the remaining smell, and reading all the great info and testimonials on this thread, I'm going to bring this job to the top of my To Do list again. Thanks for everyone's input. It also reminds me that I need to buy Mary Roach's book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. If you haven't heard about it, I highly recommend it and her other interesting books on subjects that most people are a bit squeamish to talk about
Time for me to chime in after a year of owning a nature's head. After a year...I'm still very happy. With two full time liveaboards I change the peatmoss once a month. (Odour outside can be a little noticeable on a windless night if you get lazy and stretch the change time too long.)I start to notice the time for a change by the difficulty it takes to turn the handle. 10 minutes and the change is done. I put very little water in the dry peat moss anymore. At first I used quite a bit of water, but it's unnecessary. A couple pee buckets are a must. You learn quick from your first overfill not to do it again.

I do two pump outs a year, and that's only because of having guests who use the guest head with a jabsco. One after summer is done and one when winter is done. It's absolutely fantastic!

No late night rushes. No having to wait until the weekend at the end of season for a pump out because a marina decides it's winding down.

Service from Nature's Head is fantastic and fast. I lost my handle in the lake (don't ask) and got a new one within a week. I accidentally broke a wire on the little fan and they sent me two back...within a week. That's customer service!

Oh...and again. Lovin the elongated seat!! LOL! ;-)

Side point. Still loving not hearing that bloody noise from a jabsco in the middle of the night when everyone is sound asleep.

My jabsco is in storage. It's gonna be there for a very long time.
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