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Old 13-08-2019, 10:31   #16
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

We have had a Nature's Head for eight years. We hd problems with fungus gnats. That is what those very small skittish flies are called. They normally feed on the roots of plants, but they can occur even with coir.

Diatomaceous earth helps, but did not always solve the problem. Eventually we got a no-pest strip, cut it into thirds, and hung it in the composting chamber, well above the compost line. Presto, within hours, no fungus gnats. One small piece lasts four or five months. We have also read that a single moth ball hung in the composting chamber works, but the skipper (my wife) read that the moth ball volatile gasses are even more hazardous than the no-pest strip.

And yes, EVERYONE sits down to pee. We used coir for several months, but have gone back to peat moss.

We are quite happy with our composting head.

Mike Ryan 1st Mate
aboard s/v Here There be Dragons
lying Palm Coast Marina, Palm Cost FL
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Old 13-08-2019, 11:48   #17
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Location: New Bern, NC
Boat: Shannon 43 Ketch
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

Yeah for to switch to a composting head. We had the Natures ahead and had problems of leakage of urine into the dry chamber. We switched it out after 2 years and bought the Airhead. I believe it's a better product. We've had no bugs since. As it's also our shower head, I piped the air intake hose to take air from behind a dry bulkhead area.

We stopped using peat a long time ago and use coir only now. Dries much faster. Buy on Amazon 6 bricks at a time. Basically 6 months worth for my wife and I as liveaboards. 1 brick in a 2 gallon zip lock, 1.5-2 cups warm water, set it in the cockpit Dodger, 3hrs later, fluff up the bag. Done.

7 yrs now and we love it.

Yes, every time someone enters the head we ask to give the crank a couple of turns to help the drying process.
Pee bottle is cleaned and rinsed as needed... start with 2 cups of white vinegar and then spritz after peeing too.
Absolutely yes to sitting down on this type of head, especially underway.
Lucky for us, we use our Raritan head for pee only in the aft head that we flush with fresh water...fill tumbler at sink, pour, and pump into holding tank. Underway, we pump it out. It's just urine.

We've had a total of 8 people aboard for a couple nights and never had an issue.

Like the comment of bigger exhaust fan. It's about airflow.
Smooth sailing and fresh warm breezes,
Tony & Lisa
sv Marite
'87 Shannon 43' Ketch
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:01   #18
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Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 39
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

After 8 months using Airhead, there have been no issues with bugs. Even with 4 people onboard for a month the new toilet was well received, easier to use and very little smell. I do not miss the pump-outs or failed joker valves! We are still dialing in the coir recipe. First batch was too much coir and the tank was full too soon. Second time it was the right amount but too wet. Next batch will be chopped up at home with a hatchet and stored in a bag ready to add water before dumping in the tank. Should be less messy on the boat and more convenient.

Yes, everyone onboard sits to pee. No issues with that.
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Old 13-08-2019, 14:06   #19
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

Originally Posted by AZ-Oldguy View Post
I have been wanting to switch from peat. How hard is it to shred or decompress the block of coir? Could I saw the brick into small, easy to store, cubes and let the moisture in the head expand the coir?
You need to prepare the coir ahead of time for most efficient use.
Put a brick in a big enough container to hold it at itís expanded size (about 4-6 times the size of the brick). Add maybe a glass full of water. Let it soak it up, then start breaking it up. Then store it in a way that it can dry. I store mine in a pillowcase to help wick away the moisture.

I have found that compressed sawdust pellets are cheaper and easier to find at animal feed stores. I do the same preparation with them.

I keep a collection of liquid laundry detergent bottles aboard for pee bottles. You can pop out the spouts, or cut them out. They have really great sealing caps, great handles, and the wide mouth is a plus. Each male crew gets his own.
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Old 13-08-2019, 15:59   #20
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Location: Jervis Bay NSW Australia
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

We haven't experienced that problem yet either.
Just in case DE is hard to find, I have heard a sprinkle of napthalene flakes ( the stuff they make moth balls from) works well too but this idea is untested by us as yet.
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Old 13-08-2019, 16:26   #21
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

What do you do about "skid" marks down the side of the bowl?
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Old 13-08-2019, 16:46   #22
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
What do you do about "skid" marks down the side of the bowl?
Typically there isn't a "side of the bowl.". There isn't a bowl at all.

On my custom dry toilet, picture a 5 gallon bucket. Now picture a tall kitchen garbage bag in that bucket with all that extra bag folded down like a shirt collar around the bucket. Essentially you can't even see the bucket because the bag is around the whole thing.

That's what's under the toilet seat. Just air. No bowl. Drops from you right into the poo pile without touching any part of the toilet.

The pee has a diverter (funnel) you pee in forward of the poo bucket/bag. So it goes elsewhere.

Now, maybe you can get poo down the edge of the bucket as you go. Maybe after bad Thai food. Or taco Bell. But it doesn't matter because you grab the poo bag by the oversize collar and knot it. Then you lift it out, leaving the 5 gallon bucket perfectly clean. Nothing touches it except the plastic bag.
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Old 13-08-2019, 17:45   #23
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Re: Composting toilet and diatomaceous earth

Originally Posted by kmcshane View Post
I've had my AirHead for 6 years, and had a single episode with those little "fruit fly looking" fleas. Probably my fault, as one of the side screens was dislodged.
To be double sure I was done with them, I did an end of the season cleaning really well. Next season, dryer mix as suggested, sprinkled in a coating of diatomaceous earth, turned it into the mix. I don't know that there is a formula per se. Might contact AirHead?
No problems since.
Here's a snippet of a explanation:
The important thing to us is that if an insect with an exoskeleton gets diatomaceous earth on them, they die. At the same time, we can rub it all over our skin, rub it in our hair, eat it .... whatever ... and we are unharmed.
And I guess youíre immune to asbestos as well?
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