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Old 08-08-2014, 16:33   #46
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

A $500k yacht probably has a $5k head too.
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Old 08-08-2014, 16:42   #47
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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A $500k yacht probably has a $5k head too.
Yeah, I can't imagine too many of those with a manual head. And I figure that is right on the edge of the owner doing their own work, as well.
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Old 08-08-2014, 17:14   #48
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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How do you stop the poo leaving skid marks down the side when taking a dump at sea when heeling?

Sent from my GT-N7105T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
+1 for wanting to know this

also, how do composting heads handle less-than-solid type poo?
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Old 08-08-2014, 17:17   #49
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

Cover it with saw dust and it dries out like everything else.
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Old 08-08-2014, 18:38   #50
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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My guess is the 500k yacht is probably flushing with fresh water which will help the odor problem.
My dirt-cheap toy sailboat flushes with fresh water too. Cost me all of the price for a tee in the sink outlet.

I no longer have head odor once I replaced the pool cleaner hose for actual head hose. Yes, one of the POs had used basic pool vacuum hose for head hose. Yes, it smelled. The Y valve was also installed incorrectly - the base of the Y went to the tank, one of the selections went to the head, the other went to the through hull. Was handy for filling the tank with saltwater.

I went with no Y valve. Head->tank direct. All the harbors here toss dye tabs in anyway, no real use for direct overboard discharge (since with my non-bluewater boat the longest cruise I'll do is the 30 miles to Catalina)
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Old 08-08-2014, 21:03   #51
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

There is nothing wrong with a good standard marine head with a well maintained holding tank. It can work just fine. A composting (or rather, a desiccating) head also works just fine. The key is in proper operation and maintenance. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, just like all systems on a small boat. For us, the advantages of a desiccating system far outweigh the negatives. Not everyone would agree.
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Old 08-08-2014, 23:16   #52
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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Just remember they don't actually compost as fast as deposits are added. You are still moving poo. Better than a regular portable, but not compost. I've heard some folks have problems with flies and went back to holding tanks.

Live-aboards that tore it out after 5 months.
More pottie talk | Zero to Cruising!
With all due respect to the folks that love their composting heads....to take of of these cruising is...well...a shitty mistake as the folks on Zero to Cruising Found out!
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Old 09-08-2014, 00:17   #53
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

Get an electric macerating toilet, then flush and forget. Let the ocean biomass do the work. I get the fact that people who sail on freshwater lakes used for drinking water have a unique disposal issue. But if your boat is on the ocean... why complicate things?
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Old 09-08-2014, 00:20   #54
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Smile Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

One interesting tving with this tread is tjat many who doese'nt seem to havs tested the so called composting toilettes have very strong opinions against them!
We had a well functioning water one with holding tank. Hardly no smell, nerver clogged. Bit, from mest year se have to go 12 nm out to empty or use a pump out station. We could IF course have installed a bigger tank but we still had the problem with emptying and we don't like transporting a lot of water diluted poo, sooner or later it will give problems.
The composting, or "drying" toilett works perfect, no smell, easy to empty (no smell then, the only smell comes when handling the urin tank, a minor task.

For us it's the change was the right choise, se woun't go back. We can stay in one place and don't have to love for emtying a pootank
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:09   #55
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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With all due respect to the folks that love their composting heads....to take of of these cruising is...well...a shitty mistake as the folks on Zero to Cruising Found out!

Maybe for people who don't follow directions or give it a chance. We wouldn't change back to a standard head. Doesn't mean it's for everybody though.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:28   #56
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

We read everything we could find about the 'composting' heads before deciding to replace two Baby Blakes, a 30 gallon holding tank, and all the associated vents and hoses. The stainless tank was coming apart at the welds, after 28 years in the boat. In fact, the little vent outlet on the top of the tank broke off while I was working on it.

One of the things we noticed while researching it is that the people who don't like the composting toilets seem to be the people who have never tried one. If you filter through all the people who have opinions, and no experience, you'll see a trend. Basically, almost all of those who make the switch to a composting/dessicating head seem to really like them.

I think some of this strong opinion by people who have never used one is more based upon an individuals personality when it comes to dealing with these matters.

People with issues about dealing with the realities of biological life don't make the same decisions as those who are not so squeamish. Some folks don't want to know about it, deal with it, look at it, and would prefer to just see nothing but clean flowing water in their mind. Blame your mother. Some people feel the same way about changing diapers.

I will say that after the experience of personally getting a cracked holding tank with about fifteen gallons of someone else's aged stuff in it off my boat, I NEVER want to share my living space with one of those again. The fresher smelling hull spaces and the extra room and buoyancy are a bonus. Not having to worry about valves is a bonus. Not having to deal with any mechanical maintenance issues is a bonus. And we plan to glass in several no longer needed through-hulls.

It's also interesting to see that one of the major concerns of those who have no experience with these heads is disposing of the waste. They have no issues dumping their own waste, liquids, paper, and holding tank chemicals in the ocean if they don't have to look at it or deal with it, but suddenly they're concerned about disposing of something they don't want to get near. Another small white, trash bag in a dumpster is no worse than the two hundred diapers probably already in there. Pouring urine in the ocean suddenly seems like a crime to them, since i's not their urine.

I think most of the objections and strong opinions from those with no personal experience are more attributed to their own personal attitudes about these things than realities of the usefulness of these heads. Storing and transporting 20 to 50 gallons of liquid human waste with hoses and connections and through-hulls and levers and valves and hose clamps and vent hoses seems like a BETTER idea? Tossing a small bag of waste in the dumpster once a month seems like a stupid idea?

Think about it.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:55   #57
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pirate Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

It's odd how critical some are of systems they haven't tried.

As a desiccator, I'll admit the flyfest has me concerned. But it was only the one time in over a year of trouble-free use. I can live with that and likely avoid it in the future.

On the litter box theme, again the stink is with the urine. Consider the box after scooping out the clumped fluids and solids: the medium is clean enough to leave awhile longer ... even if you left the solids, the stink is gone.

Kinda wonder if we all just drank water in place of all the liquids we do drink, if the urine stink would be as objectionable. Eight 8 oz glasses we're told = 64 ... a half gallon of water every day = greater dilution of the solids in the liquid would likely cut down on the odor.

I'd bet that the Masai would buy our cleanish liquid wastes to drink and be glad to get it.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:02   #58
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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Maybe for people who don't follow directions or give it a chance. We wouldn't change back to a standard head. Doesn't mean it's for everybody though.
So there I was anchored Mexico listening to the morning VHF net and a Cruiser came on asking if anyone knew where they could buy activated carbon for their Composting head. There wasn't a place in town and they lived for the rest of the summer with what they called a nasty smell in the boat. I didn't have to experience that myself to love my dead simple poop and flush old school head. But on the other hand the Pardeys liked the Bucket and chuck-it method, so there's a craper approach for everyone out there! With 4 people living aboard....I can't imagine a composter even having a chance in keepiing up.

Like almost every discussion, there is a big difference on what works for Living Aboard, Sailing, and then Cruising.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:12   #59
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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So there I was anchored Mexico listening to the morning VHF net and a Cruiser came on asking if anyone knew where they could buy activated carbon for their Composting head. There wasn't a place in town and they lived for the rest of the summer with what they called a nasty smell in the boat. I didn't have to experience that myself to love my dead simple poop and flush old school head. But on the other hand the Pardeys liked the Bucket and chuck-it method, so there's a craper approach for everyone out there! With 4 people living aboard....I can't imagine a composter even having a chance in keepiing up.
Never heard of activated carbon for a composting head. You are correct, 4 people living aboard is probably to much for one composter. If you like the simplicity of your head you would love the simplicity of the composter. But still no firsthand experience?
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:30   #60
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Re: Your Experiences with Composting Heads?

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But still no firsthand experience?
I've had enough friends with them to have gathered all the info I need to know to make my own decision. Isn't that how things work since we can't buy and use every piece of gear personally? I also don't have first hand experience with the bucket and Chuck-it approach. I don't need first hand experience to know that a roll up floor dinghy wouldn't work for our lifestyle, I can see and watch folks at the dinghy dock to form a pretty darm good opinion. Cruising without refrigeration would not work, or only having a 3.5GPH water maker would not work for me. I don't have to cruise without a water maker to know that I would personally never want to do it. I think that 7yrs of full time cruiser/living aboard makes me qualified to have and share an opinion on what I think will work an won't work for me. What's with this eveyone has to have the same opinon on thing or people get offended?

Look, people's gear choices and lifestyles are personal choices and people always seem to take offence when other think their choices/decisions are crazy or not the choices they would make (heck my entire family thinks we are crazy for going to Mexico and now still living aboard). If you love a composting head, fabulous. Share that experience and all of us with holding tanks and Lectrascans are happy for you. We love our lectrascan, but I don't treat people that don't have a Lectrascan as Boobs for expressing an opinon about them if they haven't had one, maybe they have done their homework and decided on another approach?
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