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Old 31-01-2010, 14:44   #91
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Great thread!
I can see many bennefits to a composting head. Just a few questions though. How's the smell outside? I am pretty sure that inside things are much better and probably outside also but decomposing human waste is what it is. Can anyone who actually uses a composting head let me know? Also, do you add peat, sawdust, coffee grounds after each use or just as a starter? I have been over the various websites and don't find this information.
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Old 31-01-2010, 14:59   #92
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I've got a Nature's Head awaiting installation. It requires the addition of peat or coconut husk etc. occasionally. Everyone tells me that when you move your bowels you will get some smell out the vent but as soon as you mix the complkst it should go away. No more smell then the tank vent in any event. I hope it's true. I suspect I'll have it in by next week. I'll let you know ... once I've given it a good test run ;-)
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Old 31-01-2010, 15:02   #93
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We just wrote on our blog (link below) today that we are going to bite the bullet and upgrade to a composting head for our Cat. The comments on today's post are from someone who has been using a home-made version for the last year and he is quite happy with it. He doesn't mention either of your questions but I have read in other places that a scoop of peat moss, or its substitute, is added after each (solid) use.

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Old 31-01-2010, 15:37   #94
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Great thread!
I can see many bennefits to a composting head. Just a few questions though. How's the smell outside? I am pretty sure that inside things are much better and probably outside also but decomposing human waste is what it is. Can anyone who actually uses a composting head let me know? Also, do you add peat, sawdust, coffee grounds after each use or just as a starter? I have been over the various websites and don't find this information.
Thanks
I've never detected any odor whatsoever outside. Generally you load the toilet with a brick-size packed of dry pressed fiber (peat or shredded coconut shell) which has been bulked up by dropping it in a bucket of water (exact amount on packet). It swells by absorbing all the water and you end up just dumping the DAMP peat into the toilet. I also added a small packet of "starter" enzymes to kick it off but after that nothing further is added until it's time to recharge. We don't use it all that much so we need to add a bit of water now and again to keep the peat damp. The muffin fan doesn't really blow that much air over the contents so it's not like there's a huge volume of stinky air coming from the throughull - you have to really use your imagination to feel a very slight breeze. We're quite pleased --- the wet head is dead!
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Old 31-01-2010, 15:49   #95
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Ahh, the dry look!
Anyone out there use one of these things daily or even more as in live aboard cruiser? I can see the huge advantages in being rid of the septic slosh and it's ussual capacity restraints, no doubt. But under heavy use, how's the stink outside? Wondering if it would be worth picking up the mast as chiminy??
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Old 01-02-2010, 17:12   #96
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Ahh, the dry look!
Anyone out there use one of these things daily or even more as in live aboard cruiser? I can see the huge advantages in being rid of the septic slosh and it's ussual capacity restraints, no doubt. But under heavy use, how's the stink outside? Wondering if it would be worth picking up the mast as chiminy??
Once the deposit is covered by the material of choice, sawdust, peat moss, coconut fiber, plain old dirt, there is no smell. Either in the head or outside.
I have been experimenting with a plastic bucket and a necessarily large mouthed bottle, and there is honestly less smell than there is using the fanciest flushing toilet. Without getting too graphic, on a regular toilet or head there are spaces between the seat and the bowl. With a bucket and a bottle, a seal of sorts is created that seems to isolate the odors.
With one of the new composting heads, it's probably even better because of the negative airflow created by the fan. I imagine that the odor outside will last only as long as it takes you to finish your crossword puzzle.

I will never go back to using a water flushing toilet. Whether on land or afloat.
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Old 01-02-2010, 17:53   #97
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Using an out house never bothered me. Actually doing that sort of thing in the house was something I had a hard time getting used to when I moved back to running water. (My water used to walk. With me carrying it in sheetrock buckets from the well. no easy task this time of year holding them above the snow) But on a boat the livingromm or cockpit is almost always downwind and dorades and hatches.......Perhaps a double ender anchored from the stern is the answer? Good to hear another report on the lack of smell. Anyone out there with one under heavy or regular use want to chime in?
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Old 03-02-2010, 14:57   #98
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I know ya'll been awaitin with great anticipation... My natures head is no longer a virgin. Last night was the the first for both and it worked like a champ. I have visited her now 2 times and I have nothing but good things to report. I moved it from the bed of my PU to the head of my boat, installed it, now life is good. No more red faced duck walks down the long pier. Stay tuned for more up to the minute news flashes..
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Old 03-02-2010, 18:34   #99
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Thanks for the report Mule!
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Old 03-02-2010, 19:31   #100
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I installed my Nature's Head today but haven't used it yet. A couple of comments. When I asked if it could be mounted on a theee inch platform and used I was told that many people use it mounted on the platform of their old one. At the time I thought it would be too tall and I was right (I'm a little over 6'). I'll have to grind off the platform and reglass the floor or something but it's OK for the time being. The other thing to watch for is that while the crank can be switched to the other side, the handle to open the hatch can't be without removing the seal from the toilet. Doesn't matter that much to me any event. My old head is decorating the dock (until morning) and I'm glad it's gone. The head does take up more space but it isn't too bad on that account either.
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Old 03-02-2010, 20:31   #101
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One question. What happens if the user has "the runs" or vomits. Does it ruin the batch? Very interesting thread.
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Old 03-02-2010, 21:03   #102
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I don't think the bacteria will care.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:23   #103
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Long term use?

We fitted a natures head last June. We are full time live-aboards in Cowes UK.
With just the two of us onboard the head lasts about 30 days.
There is a slight smell, like damp earth or soil, not in the least offensive.
The head is cleaner and nicer to use (we do not use the coffee filter option) Men can use the head to pee into when stoodup as long as the flap is closed. We find that the head needs the toilet paper it helps to absorb the excess moisture but can make turning the handle difficult if it is is long lengths (3 sheets seems to be ideal).
We empty the urine jar every night no matter what the weather (one overflow is enough), the urine smells bad, a tea spoon of sugar helps to mollify this smell. The urine is emptied in to the sea, it is not a pollutant, even the US CG agree with this and have OK'd the head for use in the USA.

Friends and visitors often need to be assured that this is a normal thing to do (the guys often want to pee into the peat (named Pete by us for ease of description, the urine jar is known as Mike, named for a friend who takes the piss all the time)) area even after a careful explanation of the workings. The lack of a flush also seems to confuse some folk.

We have had a little illness, the runs just required a little extra peat, if you are going to vomit use a bucket not the head.

Over all we are very happy with the Natures Head, we would like a second Pete bucket and a second Mike jar just for ease of use and being able to leave the solids to compost for a second 30 days, these are not available in the UK just yet.

Hope that this helps?

Regards

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Old 04-02-2010, 04:25   #104
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... The urine is emptied in to the sea, it is not a pollutant, even the US CG agree with this and have OK'd the head for use in the USA ...
Not quite so!

Read the exerpts from the CFRs:
http://www.natureshead.net/NH-Coast%...egulations.pdf
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Old 04-02-2010, 04:27   #105
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Thanks for the report. Great to hear from someone with a full time, live aboard experience! I imagine there will be plenty who take issue with peeing in the pool but that's a whole other topic. That the onboard septic slosh and pumpout parade seems to have an agreeable solution is music to my ears! (and nose!!)
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