Wow, This post is still here. I think I started on this site in Aug. 2010 with inquiries about composting black water.
How I have changed.
And just a Thanks to those who advised me against draining a single toilet directly into a shallow hole. In retrospect, not a good safe idea.
Now, I have built my portable, 34' long, Tiny house, with a compost toilet and I'm working on getting off-grid with a solar system.
So here's my thing with the composting toilet. I've been using it for 10 months now. It has a urine diverter with flushing mechanism that adds fresh water.
When I started, I wasn't sure what I would do with the solids.
I've been freezing my vegetable waste for years now, because it kills small bugs, keeps bugs away, and doesn't smell. Once frozen, I add the pail to the worm bin. They just love it.
So I came up with doing the same with fecal solids. And it works great so far, though I haven't been composting it yet. And freezing works great because the freezing kills most of the parasites that make fecal matter offensive and dangerous. It also kills the smell. I use a large cookie tin lined with a plastic shopping bag. I add absorbants like used paper towels and tissue and shredded paper. I simply place the tin in the toilet before use, use, and cover debri (solids ONLY), with tissues and scrap paper pieces, close the bag, put the lid on and put the tin in the freezer.
So I'm wondering, if anyone else is doing this?
What your experiences is?
Now that the debri is frozen and the parasites are mostly killed, couldn't this be added direct to composting?
Can one use standard bleached tp or does one need to use a special unbleached tissue?
You can see a video of the toilet on my youtube channel under the plumbing video.
i applaude your efforts. Did you have any problems with lingering colds/flu/etc.?
Thats good, I guess. There are so many variables. I used a bit over 1600 kwhs. but I live in central WI and Jan-Feb is typically the coldest months of the year, and I have all electric heat.
When I first tried my experiments with heating pads and spot heating, I found that having it too cool wasn't good for my health. The quick change of temperature wasn't good. I ended up getting a very bad case of Bronchitis that lasted several months.
I've decided its good to conserve, but I have to have my main room at 70 degrees. So I'm heating the main part of the home, about 400 s.f., to 70 degrees, and not providing any heat to the rest. Still my electric -heat/hotwater/water/general electric- bill was $146 last month. That is like the least I have ever spent for that combination.
lower light baffles installed with wires to hold in place.
bending the metal for the outside. I used metal left over from a metal roofing project. You can also use preshaped 6", 7", or 8", sheet metal ducting. That would be the easiest. You can also buy end caps instead of using cookie tins. Make sure that when everything is put together, NOTHING touches the bulbs.
The socket needs to be level and centered so that when bulb is installed it won't touch the sides, any baffles, or be bumped or punctured by any of the screws. Any of these will cause bulb failure.
If you are looking to get off grid, truly off grid and be ECO-friendly (not using gas or burning anything), this will certainly lead you there.
500 watts, per heater, is not impossible for a photovoltaic solar system.
light plate installed in finished cyclinder. This is the part that gets the hottest. Air needs to cross it to carry the heat out. This gets installed on a slant. Use common sheet metal that you would find used for heat ducts.
light socket light baffle with folded edges (use a needle nose). Again, this needs not touch the outside walls as air needs to flow upwards. The plate needs to be suspended above the socket so air can flow upward, over socket and over bulb while preventing light from exiting the bottom. It is suspended with some type of wires to keep it from moving around and being a safty issue.
I thought about the doors needing assists but I know that assists can be had as a standard hardware item. Or if one wants something simple, a hook on a cord to hold the door up once open. Thats a minor concern, but a valid one, for sure.
The Thermo electric dorm refrigs that can be had for about $69 new at common retailers. They look like a standard small dorm frig, but when you look inside there is no ice box and the back has grills. Also, the sides have holes for venting heat.
As for the stickers. They don't even rates small appliances. For example these small dorm frigs or small point of use type water heaters like 6 gallon vs.40 gallon, for example. I think they want people to think that those items aren't in the running. I recently picked up a tank type water heater brochure. Anything under 20 gallon wasn't rated. Why not? because if you see how much more efficient they are, people would consider them. We have to remember that the oil and energy companies have been doing what ever they can to corrupt.
The icey ball sounds neat. Its just, I'm always a bit hesitant about something that has a tendency to
me, I'm sure its just me, I don't know if I could live with the trauma of my refrigerator exploding. or just the threat of it. The stove, my car, the major abandoned mall near by... I could live with that, but not my frig.
Maybe the ball could be double hulled, then I would be willing to try it.
another thought: instead of using a standard, freon based, dorm frig, use a thermoelectric frig. Again they are cheap, even new. This can be converted to run on 12 volt thereby by-passing the need for an inverter when connected to solar. Also, it would be easy to vent outside using 2" pvc with a flow through design against an outside wall. The inlet, say at floor level, and the outlet at ceiling level.
I haven't taken apart a thermoelectric frig yet, however, if the electroplates can be removed and reinstalled on the freezer, you can eliminate the box. If not simply removed, take a jig saw with metal blade and cut out the back of the frig, cut the same size hole in the back of the freezer and install.
Also, I think a chest Frig would be better made from an old vertical frig because they aren't as deep. An old frig, laid on its back and elevated off floor to countertop height would be easier to reach in and retrieve items. They are more prevalent than old freezers and newer ones, better insulated. Also a two door frig would give you a way to separate things. Maybe the small door could be used for beverages, easier to get.
Cheap guy, Well, its been a bit more than 24 hours, but I have been thinking how to perfect this.
As a matter of fact, I do happen to have a small 1.4 cu. ft. dorm frig that I'm not using. See it on the floor in the pic under the two frigs I use, each close to 4 cu. ft. each.
I don't have a chest freezer, but I know someone who sells appliances and has all the used ones sitting behind their store.
I've been thinking, do I want to do this. How will it fit into my Tiny house? I will have room for my two frigs, and compact 3.5 cu. ft. freezer, but would a frig chest be a good idea?
Thoughts: Why I think my idea would work. When you open the chest, you don't lose any cold air, so a chest frig doesn't need as big a compressor as a vertical frig. And with the extra insulation added...
is nothing more than the "Sears Best" of yesteryear. Or, remember, in the 60s and 70s when movie stars like Debbie Reynolds, Jane Wyman, and the like, would pose and make claims to the wholesomeness and technological advantages of their new Avacodo washer and dryer.
You ever notice how the "energy star" models are the most expensive models? ah heh.
Gee, I wonder if some UNspecial interests were working behind the scenes in Washington for that. hmm. Corruption in our government? Nahhh.
The best way to check for real efficiency is to get a Watt meter, plug your appliances in and monitor.
I'm also using one under my home for the 20' of heat tape, and pipe insulated, water pipe connecting the home to the pipe coming up from the ground. When I moved in the heat tape was there WITHOUT any controller, meaning it was on all the time. It was dangerous, expensive to run, and actually heated the water. It was strange because When I turned on the cold water, it was actually coming out warm-hot. So I figured out what was going on and installed one of these. No more problem.
They cost about $12. They would also work for pond and birdbath heaters, though they need to be kept dry.
for keeping pets warm in their dog homes, heat lamp bulbs are an option. The problem is that a bare bulb can be a fire hazard and the light emitted is harmful to the eyes.
Try just one of the can styled lights, as I posted earlier. It greatly reduces the light emiitted to less than that of a night light. make sure there is chicken wire, or similar, suspended out away from the metal at least an inch so heat can circulate.
If you are trying to merely keep it from freezing. Try a Thermocube. These controller devices turn on the item when it gets to 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees. I'm using 2 of these myself. I live in Wisconsin, so freezing weather. The well pump is above ground in an unheated building. I surrounded the pump with 1" foam board, am using a bare 250 watt heat lamp, and one of these controllers. I also have an electronic thermometer in there so I can keep track of the temp. It works great. The bulb comes on mainly at night, usually for about 15-20 minutes at a time, once an hour or so. ..
some type of, like chicken wire suspended an inch out so that kids or pets couldn't touch the upper parts.
Its made with simple sheet metal. I used cookie tins on the ends. One could also use 6" pre-made heating ducts. I used a 1x4 wood frame on the bottom to raise the parts off the floor and allow air to enter the bottoms. The 3" aluminum ducting on top is there to catch the light. I'm thinking I could have also used a larger cookie tin, upside down and suspended an inch or so, on top.
The only thing I bought were a few sockets (.50 at Habitat restore) and the bulbs (3.50). I took the thermostat and cord from an old heater. It uses 500 watts.
I've had days when it was 18 below, recently. It works great. It doesn't make any noise, its a managable size (about 24" tall), there is no disturbance of the air with a sudden burst of heat, and it doesn't burn the air. The humidity has been pretty consistant at 40 percent, without a humidifier.
When you tie this together with time of use metering ($.06 most of the time except 3 hours per week day at $.26) and simple lamp timers and it is incredible how affordable it is. For the month of December my electric bill was $116. That includes everything, heat, hot water, cooking, water pumping, and general electric use. I have no other heat source in use.
Again the design makes the most of the heat while trapping the light inside, or most of it. The base is cool to the touch. so cool that one can use plastic sockets for the bulbs. The upper part is hot to the touch. In fact, if one were to build I would suggest putting ...
so I'm heating 300 sq. ft of the home to 70-75 degrees. another to about 50 degrees, and the rest no heat provided.
My secret. a home made design, just about anyone could do. Cost me just about nothing to build. I estimate that I'm getting 30% to 50% more heat from this than a standard heater, set at the same wattage.
Consider that the heater in the pic is 500 watts. I have 3 of these. 2 in the 70 degree space and one in the 50 degree space. One of the heaters in the 70 degree space has a thermostat and tends to cycle.
Now, when I started, Novemberish, It took a 1500 watt standard forced air heater, 120 volt, running all the time to heat the space. ...
I've tried some experiments at the start of the heating season, too. I live in central Wisconsin, right now, in a 3 year old, well insulated single wide mobile home with a concrete block skirting (well sealed but not insulated).
I've known about heat lamps for a while, but never considered what they could do. I'm sold. They are a miracle.
This home has propane heat. I'm not even using it anymore and don't plan to ever go back to gas, of any kind. I started out in August with 40% in the tank. Its now February and there is still 32%. I haven't used any gas for at least a month.
I tried the heat lamp under the desk and spot heating, and it works. The prob. with the lamp, of course is the intense light. They do an excellent job of heating efficiently.
I'm building my own compost toilet with an RV type valve that will allow the solids to fall through the floor into an enclosed container and provide separation from the inside. With the addition of a built-in fan that runs when in use, taking air from both the pot, and the container below.
In the winter, the warmer air being extracted from the earth would be approx 55 degrees, which could supplement ones heat source. My thoughts were that some type fins on the pipes in the house, or metal rods going through the pipe and sticking out, or other manner of extracting the heat (think refrigerator type coils here) would be able to add heat to the living area via natural convection.
And that connecting pipe should have some type fins to distribute the heat. This would, in my opinion, supplement other heat sources to bring the room to approx. 72 degrees in winter.
As for the draft refrigerator idea, I looked at an old house once, here in Wisconsin, and it had a wood box built into the outside wall that projected onto the front porch. They were using this as a cold box in winter. It wasn't insulated though, so not very efficient.
Frankly, given the exact and consistent demands of a refrigerator, and for efficient models (meaning a evaporator coil that uses natural convection to cool it on the back, and are well insulated) they don't use that much energy, I would rather spend my efforts finding a way to generate that electricity rather than a permanent installation that you may not be able to control as well.
This "draft cabinet" your referring to is a good idea, but, yeah, it would need to be insulated, just like any refrigerator. I think it would be most convenient to simply take an old refrigerator, that is well insulated and already has provisions for adjustable shelves and lighting, cut a hole in the top and bottom and connect Insulated ducting to it.
Now this would be fine for winter months. But extracting heat or cold from the ground is difficult in this system because the ground is a consistent 55 degrees (approx.). And refrigerators need a temperature range of 30 to 39 degrees. Freezers even lower. So in this passive system, it really would not work unless you live in a cold climate, and for only some months of the year.
This system would work well for natural air conditioning, however, because a typical air conditioned temperature in summer would be about 75 degrees. In the winter, I think, the system would work as a heat source if one were to connect the pipe directly to the vent in the roof.
I have been having alergic reaction to deodorant. I had a break out last year, and after several months of flare-ups it finally went away. I went without deodorant during the winter and that was manageable. I started using one again in April and I'm having break outs again.
What can someone use as an alternative? (Ouch) I haven't use the deodorant I have now for a week and a half and I still have a rash. It seems to be getting worse. It is said that there is aluminum in that stuff.
Another one, for those who don't have a crawl space or want to insulate their crawlspace. dig a trench out away from the house at least 20' and bury 4" pipe that comes up to the surface with a vented cover. After the pipe enters the house crawlspace or from under the slab, then have it come into that box.
I've heard this principle would work just as well for the Entire house, as natural air conditioning if you had larger pipes AND like 3 or 4 of them. In that case you would want to have a vent direct at the highest point on the roof to take advantage of the chiminey effect.
here's another thing. When large sewage districts, or even septic tank cleaners dispose of the waste, by sucking it up into a big truck, they frequently spray it onto a farmers field. right? Now, I know that the SOLID waste from a septic tank has not been treated with any chemicals. But it has sat in there for a while. Is it considered "dangerous"?
I appreciate all legitimate comments and concerns. This is why I am here. I want to make sure that I am not causing any problems. I know that there are those who know more about the biology than I.
I've already come up with new plan. But I can't help think... not long ago, humans were using outhouses, and years ago (ok, centuries) we would squat just like any other animal (we are still animals, can you believe that). What happens to the debri when a squirrel or a lion or your dog defecates outside? Are we really that different? Why so complicated?
I think, from what I've read in another forum here, if the debri is allowed to dry out and be exposed to oxygen, it will be rendered harmless, is that correct?
"there is a reason why outhouses are banned in a lot of places."
Well, it wouldn't be unheard of for a business interests to muscle its way in by trying to push legislation that is to their interest. Cost to consumers being irrelevent to them. I can think of several businesses that have done considerable damage to our landscape under the image of "improvements". Most include cement and fossil fuel burning earth moving equipment.
Yes there are some areas that do not do well without careful management of sewage. ... and not all consumers have the common sense to deal with certain details.
"... you are adding a LOT of liquid to the pit "
Well, a gallon and half isn't really A LOT. Remember, this is ONLY the toilet, no other plumbing fixtures. Really, the only difference between this and a outhouse is the 1 1/2 gallons of water per flush. But this is only 2' deep, not 6'. And the hole is only 8" wide.
I think the best place for this would be a garden area. Think of how well things would grow with natural fertilizer.
My thoughts are of concern for indoor air quality as well.
I have yet to check out the layout of these appliances.
My theory would be something like, just because they aren't built with a vent, doesn't mean that you can't modify and add both a vent, and a fresh air intake.
I did something similar to this with a cheap 30 gallon gas water heater. I didn't want it using my heated indoor air for combustion and also having the standard open chimney that can suck heat out of ones home 24/7.
So, luckily this water heater had a sealed burner area and open venting on the bottom. I eliminated the draft vent on the top and simply connected the 3" vent pipe direct. On the bottom I took simple sheet metal and covered both the vents, sealed with caulk. On one I installed a 4" (one size larger) crimped collar. To this I merely ran standard 4" ducting (insulated) to a fresh air intake from outside. That worked great.
Most of time, I had the water heater on pilot and was amazed how much heat just the PILOT gives off. I was comfortable taking a shower with that water.