#1 How to start a new 25e or 65e?
- Mix the 5L bag of Peat Moss with the two 12L Mini Hemp bales provided with your toilet, this creates a very absorbent bulking agent.
- Empty this bulking agent into the main chamber of the toilet through the toilet seat, this will fall down into the collection tray as well
- Connect the mains plug into a grounded wall socket, switch the system on and turn the dial to the first position so that only the green light is on (just the fan, not the heater)
- Lift the seat lid and lean it against the top of the unit to activate the seat sensor (via a magnet on the lid) this stops the mixing arm if it is in motion; once released (putting the seat down) it will automatically make one full rotation. Complete this action of lifting the lid and putting it down to ensure the seat sensor is working and the mixing arms are rotating in full
- Make sure that when the fan is running you don’t have the bowl cover in place, this acts like a plug and seals the composting chamber only when the system is not in use
- Now you may switch the dial to the second position to turn the heater on and your system is ready for use. This setting will be subject to change as you continue to use the system
#2 What all the lights mean?
- Green light: fan is operating
- One amber light: 50% top heater
- Two amber lights: 50% top heater and 100% bottom heater
- Three amber lights: 100% top heater and 100% bottom heater
#3 What’s important in the first week?
- Monitor the main composting chamber every day
- The bulking agent should be porous and have a moderately moist texture; the ideal moisture content for compost is 60% which looks like fresh potting mix or coarse coffee grounds.
- The mixing arm should automatically activate after every use because of the seat sensor
- The mixing arm will activate occasionally when not in use, this is due to the mixing mechanism also being on a timer separate to being activated by the seat sensor
- The collection tray will be full of the dry bulking agent that you used in setting the system up for use. Empty this back into the main composting chamber (it's the equivalent of "turning" a compost pile by making more room at the base for the compost to fall)
- Once you have some solid waste in your composting chamber you can start to introduce your microbes. This is a crucial step as it is a closed system so there is no guarantee these microbes will occur naturally to compost your waste; without them you’re just collecting waste
#4 What to do after every visit
After a solid deposit add some bulking agent into the composting chamber. Ideally, you want equal parts solid waste and bulking agent but a general guide is a handful or a cup full
After urination, give the bowl a few squirts of an enzyme cleaner (this helps keep the bowl clean and any waste will naturally flow down into the composting chamber), it's important not to use any antibacterial cleaning agents as this will harm your microbes.
Check the fluid level indicator (RHS), this should not be over half way up the tube (you can mark the indicator tube for a quick reference if you need to).
If your indicator level is up to half full, turn up the heater setting to aid in evaporating the excess liquid. Use the second or third setting to engage the bottom heater
If it is empty you can turn it down (or leave it on the first heater setting, just the top heater)
The required setting can naturally fluctuate over time due to usage and climate (please note: the system does not operate at optimum levels below 18 degrees room temperature)
#5 How often to empty the tray
This depends on use, but the system is designed to be emptied every 6 to 12 weeks when used to its maximum capacity. As a general rule, once you are collecting completed compost from your collection drawer you can empty it once the compost pile reaches the top mixing arm.
#6 How to empty the tray
- Be careful not to open the collection tray if your overflow indicator tube (LHS) is showing that there is liquid pooled in the base of your unit, outside of your collection drawer
- When the tray slides out the indicator hose (RHS) needs to be unplugged to remove it fully, so make sure you have reduced the leachate level as low as possible
- The compost process takes at least three to four months so you may not see compost in the first few months. If your collection tray contains only bulking agent, then add it back into the composting chamber through the toilet seat.
- If you are at the stage of seeing completed compost you can use this in your garden, we recommend burying it like a fertiliser in a non edible garden. Fully composted waste will be pathogen free, but burying it will reduce the likelihood of contact with animals or people (better safe than sorry)
#7 Why there are two indicator tubes
- One of the indicator tubes (RHS) is connected to the collection drawer
- The other indicator tube (LHS) is the overflow outside of the collection drawer
#8 When to reintroduce the microbes
- As you use the system, the microbes that you introduce will spread through your composting chamber which is aided by the mixing mechanism. If they are able to thrive in the composting chamber environment you may never need to reintroduce them. An optimal composting environment for these microbes is moist and warm. You will therefore want to consider reintroducing microbes if your system has:
- Completely dried out. In dry conditions microbes will start to hibernate and eventually die
- Gone septic. If your system is full of liquid the microbes will drown
- Becomes too cold. Microbes will start to hibernate in cold temperatures
- It can also be "refreshing" for your compost pile to have some new microbes added into the top layers. This can be helpful if you have been using the system for a long time or if you have left the system unattended and turned off.
- Thankfully, there's two really easy ways to add microbes into the composting chamber
- Add Nature Quick Microbes
- Add fully composted material (it will still contain a population of microbes)
#9 When to turn the system off
- This system is kind of like owning a fridge in the sense that you want it running in the background to operate properly, but it’s also like a TV in the sense that you want to turn it off at the wall socket if you’re going away for a long weekend.
- When you're going to leave your system unattended for a long period of time, you can switch it off and place the bowl cover into the seat. This seals the chamber and will prevent any smells from entering your bathroom
- Please note: there is no need to use the bowl cover during regular use as this will disrupt airflow through your composting chamber
- Then you can comfortably turn the system off at the wall socket without worrying about emptying the contents to prevent the smell invading your home while you're away
#10 If the mixing arms aren’t turning
The mixing arm moves very slowly and the seat sensor will stop it from moving when you lift the toilet seat lid; this means that you won’t actually see it moving unless you look for it. Try the following steps to check if the mixing arm is moving:
- Lift the toilet seat up to activate the seat sensor (this is the magnet in the lid making a connection)
- Make sure you can see into the composting chamber; you’ll need to depress the toilet seat for the 25e or lift it for the 65e to move the chamber screen
- Now release move the toilet seat lid away from the unit to release the seat sensor
You should see the mixing arm start its rotation. If you don’t you’ll want to start troubleshooting:
- Check that your lid has a magnet
- Make sure the shear pin hasn’t broken
- Can you hear the mixer motor?
#11 When the toilet smells like urine
A urine or damp odour is an indication that the system is too wet and not functioning properly. Try the following steps to help reduce the moisture content:
- Check the indicator tubes to see how much liquid is in your collection tray and overflow
- Add an absorbent bulking agent (like Mini Hemp or Peat Moss) to help soak up extra moisture in your composting chamber, this will help reduce the amount of liquid draining into the collection drawer
- Turn the heater up and monitor for a change in smells and liquid in the indicator tube. This step can take a lot of time depending on the amount of liquid and your climate.
- Ensure that there is no obstruction to airflow and the ventilation piping is operating properly
- Don’t put the bowl cover in the seat to seal the chamber
- Check the ventilation pipe for build up or blockages
- Make sure the ventilation pipe is insulated to prevent condensation
- There should be no horizontal ventilation piping as this will cause moisture to pool and stagnate
#12 When the toilet smells like it’s burning
Nope, this is a continuous composting toilet and not an incinerating toilet; the heaters are designed to evaporate liquid not cook your waste. So, if you detect a strange burnt odour try the following suggestions:
- Turn the heater down a setting
- Check the moisture content of the pile; if it appears to be dry add about 500ml of water and let the mixing mechanism complete one full rotation
- If your compost chamber is too dry it can create resistance for the mixing arm which can result in the shear pin breaking (but don’t worry the toilets all come with a spare)
#13 What to do if the toilet is leaking
Proceed with caution! This won’t be pleasant but you’ll want to check where the liquid is leaking from, but the first thing you will want to do is crank the heater up to help evaporate as much moisture as you can.
- If it is leaking from the drawer, the most likely cause of a leak is that your collection drawer has overflowed. This can be because of an excessive level of liquid or the indicator hose hasn’t been connected properly
- Make sure that the ventilation pipe is well insulated to prevent condensation