The Air Head Standard (aka Large or Household seat) Composting Toilet is a highly durable and robust, waterless toilet that is designed with comfort in mind and is suitable for installation in mobile situations, such as canalboats, campervans, caravans, yachts and motorhomes.
Like all urine-diverting toilets, it works by separating solids from liquids, directing each to a specific container for easier management and odour control. The Standard/Household version has a full-size toilet seat. If you need a more compact version, take a look at the Marine version.
What’s the difference between the Air Head Standard and Air Head Marine?
The Air Head Standard has a full-sized toilet pan, seat and lid. The brackets and hinges for the seat and lid protrude slightly to the rear. The Marine version has the brackets and hinges at the back of the toilet repositioned inwards so that the toilet fits almost flush against the back wall – in order to accommodate this, the seat is slightly smaller in width and depth.
How does the Air Head compost toilet work?
There’s a small, manually operated hatch that opens the solids container, which you can open once you have sat down. All you have to do is sit down and ‘go’. Urine automatically flows to the front of the toilet, where it drains into an easily and quickly removable container. Solids drop through and after your visit, you turn the handle on the side to mix your deposit with the existing contents and the coconut coir medium (which is added when you commission the toilet).
Optionally, you can place a paper liner in the bowl and allow it to ‘flush’ down but opening the solids hatch. Gentlemen can also stand to urinate with the Air Head as the solids hatch will direct urine back to the front and into the urine bottle.
Does it smell?
One of the main concerns of those using compost toilets is the potential smell. With the Air Head Composting Toilet, odour-free use is achieved through several key parts – firstly urine-separation (so the solids remain dry, relatively speaking), the use of coconut coir (or similar) as a medium into which the solids fall, the turning/mixing handle (which breaks up solids mixes them into the medium), and the active ventilation system – a 12-volt fan draws any remaining odours out and assists in the drying of the solid matter.
The fan is located in a housing at the point where the flexible vent pipe exits the room. The fan draws air through a screened opening on the toilet, across the top of the solids area and through the flexible vent hose and then outside. You have the choice of either a straight or angled fan housing – the diagram below will help you decide on the most suitable version, although you are welcome to call us for advice. Approximately 1.5 metres (5 feet) of flexible vent pipe comes with the Air Head and further lengths, if needed, are available online.
The 12v fan will need wiring into your 12v electrical system and draws approximately 2 watts or 0.17A.
Another major advantage of the Air Head is its female-friendly design. With many other urine separating toilets, it becomes something of a trial to ensure that liquids are processed through the pipe that leads to the liquid waste tank. Due to the design of the Air Head’s automatic separating system, this is no longer an issue. Even if urine does occasionally escape into the solid waste tank, the drying system negates any contamination relating to composting.
How often will it need emptying?
Depending on use, the standard, 7.5-litre urine container will fill up quite quickly, so we would suggest daily emptying where possible. Urine is normally sterile and can be emptied directly onto earth or around trees (avoid repeatedly emptying at the same spot). Do not empty urine into the canals or rivers in the UK, as the nitrogen content acts as a food for algae. Where the Air Head is used at sea, it is usually permissible to empty urine overboard.
The time taken to fill the solids tank will vary with use. The original design concept for the Air Head was that the toilet was for boats that had mainly weekend use, and in that context, the solids tank would last a season. With more regular/frequent use, the solids tank will need to be emptied more often, perhaps every 3 to 4 weeks.
To understand the different versions (standard & marine) and the fan housing options, look at our Air Head Dimensions page.