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Author Topic: Composting head  (Read 301 times)

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Patches

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Composting head
« on: February 11, 2020, 09:08:50 AM »

I know the conversion has been done by some C-34 owners.  The entire area where I sail--Puget Sound and San Juan Islands--is a no-discharge zone.  Pump-out stations are not ubiquitous, and I don't enjoy the process.  My OEM holding tank has limited capacity (a few days when I'm cruising) and the space it takes up could be better used for other things.  For every unit of waste liquid I manually flush, I've got to be adding at at least 5-6 units of salt water to sit in that tank and sail it around until I find a pump-out.

Who has made the conversion?  Are you happy with the decision?

Who has thought about it and decided against it, and why?

I'm close to pulling the trigger, but wanted to check with our learned members first.

Thanks as always,

Patches
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Jim Hardesty

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2020, 09:37:34 AM »

Here's some reading

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f115/composting-head-solids-disposal-at-marinas-229529.html

Hope it helps, FWIW think there is more there using the search feature
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 01:26:53 PM by Jim Hardesty »
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Jim Hardesty
2001 MKII hull #1570 M35BC  "Shamrock"
sailing Lake Erie
from Commodore Perry Yacht Club
Erie, PA

Ron Hill

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2020, 02:37:24 PM »

Patches : I looked into a composting head a few years back. 
The problem I found (back then) was there wasn't enough space in a C34 head compartment for a composting head.  Maybe now they might have smaller units??

A thought
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Ron, Apache #788

Steve McGill

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2020, 02:44:11 PM »

Patches,

Storage and disposal of liquids also needs to be considered.

It's always something.

Steve
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CLARITY 1988 #588 TRWK
Chesapeake, Herring Bay, MD

Patches

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 10:43:26 AM »

Thanks for the early responses.

By way of background, this is part of a general makeover for my galley/nav locker/head area.  I'm just finishing installing a new single bowl sink, new countertop, new faucet with pull-out sprayer and a "whole house" carbon filter for the freshwater system.  To do this, I removed the OEM water heater and temporarily bypassed the engine hoses to it.  When I put in the new water heater, I am probably going to go with an Isotemp "slimline" mounted in the bottom of the Nav locker.  If I go to a composting head, it is relatively easy to run the engine hoses along the pathway of the discontinued waste hose from the head back out under the cabin sole and up though the engine compartment.

While pump-outs usually require travel to a marina or fuel dock, liquid waste can be disposed at any number of marine parks with pit toilets.  The liquid waste is what tends to fill the tank.  So, it makes sense to me to at least try a composting toilet.

As Ron mentions, the head compartment on our C-34s is not optimized for a conversion to a composting head. I'm leaning toward a "C-Head" which comes in  (1) corner, (2) wedged, and (3) shorty configurations.  The latter two models utilize a 3 vs. 5 gallon bucket for solids.  I think any of them would work by building a platform out of Starboard and extending it over the shower floor to accept the extended footprint of the head.  Sandy--the owner of C-Head-- says the difference in the two bucket sizes is really more of a visual vs. capacity difference.  In other words, you tend to really use a little less than 3 gallons for solids but it is that much closer to the rim than a 5 gallon.

I know of a C-34 which sold locally within the last year that had a Nature's Head. That has the largest footprint of the 3 major brands.  There is also a C-34 in Mexico for sale on Yachtworld which shows a Nature's Head in place.

The overwhelming majority of those who have converted, whether in an RV or on a boat, seem happy with the change.  I wanted to see if anyone on our forum had firsthand experience.  The downside doesn't seem too bad, as it would put me out of pocket about $700 and a few hours of boat yoga if I don't like it and end up switching back.

Patches
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WBev

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2020, 10:39:52 AM »

A late post, but with my recent problems was wondering if you installed the composting head?
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Wobegon II
1992 C-34 MK 1.5
 #1211,  Wing/Tall Rig
Magothy River, MD

Noah

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2020, 11:00:32 AM »

I donít know what Patches did but would been interested in how that worked out. Especially, with his boat being a charter boat, I wonder what his passengers think about using it. Also, there may be some legal concerns in some jurisdictions with a compositing head, not being considered a proper holding tank(?) I donít know?
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1990 hull #1014, San Diego, CA,  Fin Keel,
Standard Rig

Patches

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Re: Composting head
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2020, 06:14:34 AM »

Status:

Unfortunately the Corona virus has affected plans.  The charter business closed between about mid-March and the end of May due to lockdown.  Since then, the priority has been generating business and I had a two week interruption for a haul out/maintenance in early June.

I did install a new water heater in the locker between the head and chart table.  It is a "Quick" model, 4 gallons, cylinder-shaped, which is only about 12" in diameter and fits through the door opening of the locker.  I put in a platform and mounted the new water heater to it.  The difference for access is so much better, and I really like the freed-up space under the sink where I was able to mount  a new carbon water filter and manifold for the water tanks.  I should also say that I think the 6 gallon model would also fit in that space, as the 12" diameter of the tank does not change, only the length.  I added a thermostatic mixing valve kit from Quick to control the temp once the heat exchanger is hooked up, and this adds about 5" to the depth of the water heater.  So the 6 gallon will certainly work without the optional mixing valve kit, and I think it will also work depth-wise if you decided to add it.

Right now, the new water heater operates only under shore power.  I'm waiting to connect new engine hoses to the water heater--for heat exchanger heating-- until I can remove the existing Jabsco head and waste line (which runs along the bottom of the locker to the holding tank).  Once I do this, there will be a convenient pathway for the new engine hoses from the engine, under the cabin sole, forward to that opening for the waste line, and then aft through that opening to the fittings on the new water heater.

Incidentally, I installed 3/8" barbed fittings on the new water heater. That will allow me to run 3/8" hose all the way from the engine to the water heater and back.  No stepping up to 5/8" hose just to accommodate the 5/8" inlet/outlets on the Seaward unit.

Because I'm trying to maximize revenue right now for the charter season, I've decided to wait to remove the Jabsco head and go to a composting head. I should add that I think I've convinced myself that the Airhead is the model of composting toilet that will fit best in our Catalina 34s.  I built the cardboard mock-up of the C-head (which I really like) and I found that it just wouldn't fit as well in the existing space given over to the Jabsco.  In other words, the footprint of the Airhead, especially with its rounded footprint in the back, would seem to  fit better.

I look forward to being able to post about the conversion to a composting head in the future--likely the fall when the charter season slows down.

Patches
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