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Replacing head with a composting toilet

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:48 pm
by EllenZimmer
I am new to this forum, so if there is already a thread kindly let me know. I did a quick search and only found a comment back in 2013 of someone that replaced their head with a composting toilet.

We have a 1987 Freedom 36 and plan to replace the head with an Air Head. I am looking for any advise regarding both the removal of the current marine toilet and any experiences with installing an Air Head or Nature Head composting toilet.

I have read several threads regarding getting the bolts removed from the toilet base, sounds difficult - any tricks that someone has discovered?

Thank you in advance for any help! If you have pictures to share of your composting toilet I would love to see them!

- Ellen

Re: Replacing head with a composting toilet

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:32 am
by drcscruggs
Recently there was a post on removal of the bolts for the head. It seems he cut and placed a removable port beside the head that made access easy. Sounds like a good idea to me. I haven't done it but certainly sounds good.

Re: Replacing head with a composting toilet

Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:44 pm
by EllenZimmer
Yes, I have read a lot about the bolts. We already have an access panel so I think we are good with that.

Next issue is how to remove the holding tank! It is behind the sink head molded area and beside the bench seat storage in the salon. Completely built into the wall from what I can tell. Seven hoses cross its path on the storage bench side.

Any thoughts on that. I'm going to create a separate thread about holding tank removal to see if anyone dealt with it on a Freedom 36.


Re: Replacing head with a composting toilet

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:37 pm
by Goose13
I converted to Air Head 12 months ago. I have a center board trunk vent that I vented it through. The fan runs 24/7 and pulls very few amps. So far the verdict is still out on weather is was a good investment or not I do not notice any odors, but significant other has made several complaints especially while we are under way on certain angles of sail. As far as ease and maintenance, I give it 5 stars.

Re: Replacing head with a composting toilet

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:39 am
by EllenZimmer
Thanks for the post. We are well into our removal and installation. We already notice an odor improvement just from removal of hoses and head. Today is removal of the fiberglass holding tank. Due to the small hole and the seacock for overboard sewage we cannot just pull the tank but we will have to cut it out piece by piece. Anyone with a f36 knows what I am talking about!

The hull base airhead fits perfect. We are building a support floor and found a pre made wood online and rubber feet that adjust. (Our head floor slopes down and is not flat). I will post some pics once this is all said and done.

Re: Replacing head with a composting toilet

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:43 am
by EllenZimmer

I thought I would update this thread with my experience now that we completed the installation of a composting head and used it for a month long sailing trip on lake Erie summer 2018.

The installation was far easier than originally expected - the holding tank needed to be cut into pieces to remove but we had heavily bleached it with our last pump out so there was no nastiness other than that we knew what had been in there LOL. The pipes were far nastier to remove and did give off most the odor in the long run.

The biggest problem we had was building the floor to hold the toilet as we had only the fiberglass lip below the old toilet to attach to and the floor is pitched. We found these great adjustable feet, a cedar "deck square" for the top, and then built an odd shaped frame - we did several patterns from cardboard first and then lots of back and forth getting it right so it fit and was level.

But to the really important part - WE LOVE IT! We did not have to do anything to the composting part during the entire month on the water. We found it helped to empty the urine daily so it did not get to full - but we could put it off if we did not dock or dinghie to shore. NO SMELL. When we returned we replaced the compost with new compost - it took about 15 minutes - did it at the pump out dock but it was easy as pie! Just dumped it into a trash bag, added new compost and done!

It turns out my husband really just gave into the idea of a composting toilet (to shut me up since I had been talking about a composting toilet for a year) - he did not think it would be all that great. He is now the biggest supported and cannot believe how awesome it is!! AND AGAIN NO SMELL!!!

If you would like further details - please email me (ours is an AIRHEAD brand - just FYI). zimmer