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Old 13-01-2012, 07:42   #1
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Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

Hey guys I am looking to hear from live aboards that have had a composting head. Is it possible? Does it really not smell? Why not just route a solar vent to our existing holding tank for the same general effect?
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Old 13-01-2012, 11:26   #2
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

I have perused the previous threads on this forum but haven't really heard from people who are living on their boats and using them.
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Old 13-01-2012, 11:37   #3
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

We installed one a year or so ago and are getting ready to uninstall it. I really loved it when it worked, but we had some really bad incidents with it that would take a bit of writing to relay properly. We had great customer service from Nature's Head (including sending us a replacement unit at absolutely no cost) but in the end the problems got to be too much.
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Old 13-01-2012, 12:05   #4
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

I have been living with my Nature's Head for over a year in a 5th wheel while building the 35' schooner it will go into. I love it. No it does not smell. Yes you must be careful to empty the urine jug before it gets too full. Yes you must pay attention to putting in the proper amounts of peat moss [actually I use choir moss called Beats Peat]. I am not sure how you could possibly screw it up if you follow the simple directions. I surely do not want a holding tank in my boat. Marine heads do not often screw up but when they do the result is beyond horrid. With my composting head there are no valves to clean or repair, no piping to go wrong, no visits to a marina pump out station. Like all things maritime, there are compromises involved. You have to dump the compost, which smells very much like potting soil when you do it. But for some people, the idea of it is so overwhelming as to make it as bad as head repair. One way or another, you gotta deal with your ****. For me, this is the least objectionable. I dump my composted stuff into a heavy duty plastic bag and compost it further for several months. A telling fact is that there are no more gasses [i.e. the plastic bag remains flaccid]. Then I just put it in the local land fill. It is truly compost at that point, and if I had flower gardens or the like I would use it there. I might hesitate to use it for a vegetable garden ...
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Old 13-01-2012, 12:22   #5
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

I now have three different reports of people having serious bug infestations while cruising in tropical climes. What, if anything, do people have to say about that?
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Old 13-01-2012, 12:43   #6
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

I plan on dealing with the minor inconveniences of a composting head when I move aboard. I NEVER want to deal with any of these:

*warning: graphic head/holding tank horror stories*

All the **** that accumulates pt 1
All the **** that accumulates pt 2

**** Tank Shenanigans

Heads Up pt 1
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Old 13-01-2012, 12:56   #7
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
I now have three different reports of people having serious bug infestations while cruising in tropical climes. What, if anything, do people have to say about that?
I lived aboard for a year with a Nature's Head. No bugs. Their solution is to have a fine screen over the vent. There's no way for bugs to get in.

It is possible for them to smell but, in my experience, only if urine is getting in the feces tank.

For a liveaboard some form of secondary composting would be an advantage, for instance a small, well sealed garbage can but in any event you need to figure out a disposal plan. Mine was just to take a garbage bag to the dumpster but again the importance of keeping urine out of it can't be stressed. If you do so there is little smell and it is fairly light.
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Old 13-01-2012, 14:31   #8
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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It is possible for them to smell but, in my experience, only if urine is getting in the feces tank.

This has always been my question....How does one prevent this? When the boat is sailing it's not level, I've got enough of a problem using the pot much less worrying about the direction of travel my stuff is going to take. Even when not sailing it seems to me like the mess would be too much to take (no water to "buffer" #2). Keep in mind I've never used one, nor touched one....or even seen one for that matter. But have read the literature. The glossy brochure did not answer the less than politically correct questions I've got about these things.
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Old 13-01-2012, 14:39   #9
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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This has always been my question....How does one prevent this? When the boat is sailing it's not level, I've got enough of a problem using the pot much less worrying about the direction of travel my stuff is going to take. Even when not sailing it seems to me like the mess would be too much to take (no water to "buffer" #2). Keep in mind I've never used one, nor touched one....or even seen one for that matter. But have read the literature. The glossy brochure did not answer the less than politically correct questions I've got about these things.
You have to sit. It's not optional though manufactures will suggest otherwise. A well designed separator will work if you do. Women sometimes have to sit a bit further forward then normal. Keep the hole closed if you are just urinating. On a heel the urine doesn't always get in the holes even if you aim but sits to the side. On the other hand it doesn't go in the feces bucket either and there is no water to splash out.

There is less mess from the feces. It drops down a hole and you close the hole. Hot peppers the night before? It seems to be easier to clean then a regular toilet.

It is different there's no doubt about it. For me it's been different in a good way.
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Old 13-01-2012, 14:52   #10
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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Hot peppers the night before? It seems to be easier to clean then a regular toilet.
Yikes I hadn't even thought of that yet.
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Old 13-01-2012, 16:13   #11
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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There's no way for bugs to get in.
The bugs we got were extremely small. Arguably invisible to the human eye unless under a flashlight, originally we thought it was just dust or lint. But each speck of lint turned out to be ~500 little crawling bugs. These were all over the boat, and the compost was the source of them. There is no screen small enough to keep things like this out and from all I know they came in from a human's ass.

I was never able to identify what they are. Google "tiny white bug" and count the billions of possible results. They were immune to every form of pesticide I could find (and I bought all of them), including using bombs. They most closely resembled "springtails" or "book lice", but not quite.
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Old 13-01-2012, 16:30   #12
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
The bugs we got were extremely small. Arguably invisible to the human eye unless under a flashlight, originally we thought it was just dust or lint. But each speck of lint turned out to be ~500 little crawling bugs. These were all over the boat, and the compost was the source of them. There is no screen small enough to keep things like this out and from all I know they came in from a human's ass.

I was never able to identify what they are. Google "tiny white bug" and count the billions of possible results. They were immune to every form of pesticide I could find (and I bought all of them), including using bombs. They most closely resembled "springtails" or "book lice", but not quite.
Bizarre. What did you use as a desiccant? I'm wondering where they came from in the first place; how they got in the bucket? Did you have the fan running?
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Old 13-01-2012, 16:35   #13
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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We installed one a year or so ago and are getting ready to uninstall it. I really loved it when it worked, but we had some really bad incidents with it that would take a bit of writing to relay properly. We had great customer service from Nature's Head (including sending us a replacement unit at absolutely no cost) but in the end the problems got to be too much.
Hi RH, I recall your earlier enthusiasm for the swap to composting and, for those of us who have been dallying for a while, your experience would likely be valuable.

I wonder therefore if you could spare the time and energy to post the "bit of writing to relay properly" that experience.
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Old 13-01-2012, 16:42   #14
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

We have been using a composting head for the last 5 years. It takes awhile to get used to but once you get the hang of it their great. The peat especially the stuff bought from Lowes etc can have bug eggs in it. No screen will cure that as they're already in the tub:
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Old 13-01-2012, 16:58   #15
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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We have been using a composting head for the last 5 years. It takes awhile to get used to but once you get the hang of it their great. The peat especially the stuff bought from Lowes etc can have bug eggs in it. No screen will cure that as they're already in the tub:
You sound as if you have had bugs before and did not mind them. True or false buddy!
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