Frequently Asked Questions

How much odor comes from a composting toilet?

None. Air is being continuously drawn in to the unit and up the vent stack, creating a partial vacuum in the unit. In addition, the composting drum fosters a good aerobic compost which produces no odors.

How often do you empty it?

Never completely. You typically empty some of the compost out of the drum once per year. In cases of continuous use, you may extract some compost more often.

Do I add any chemicals?

No. The only thing that is added is peat moss mixed with wood shavings, (50% wood shavings, 50% peat moss). Chemicals are, in fact, dangerous to the composting process and should never be added at all.

What happens in the winter?

Nothing. The compost remains in the drum and freezes, so no composting is taking place. The elements will NOT damage the system during the winter months. In fact, waste can be added in limited quantities during the winter for use as a holding tank, if you are only planning to use the unit about once a month.

Can it be used all winter?

Yes. If the area where the composting unit is heated to a minimum 55 os farinheight throughout the winter, then composting will occur.

How much hydro do they use?

About 125 Watts. The electric units require hydro to power a fan (25 Watts continuous) and a heating element that is thermostatically controlled. The average draw is about 125 Watts, or the equivalent of a lightbulb.

What if no electricity is available?

No problem. Each Sun-Mar toilet is available in a non-electric version.

I have a generator that runs part of the time. Can I use an electric unit?

No. A non-electric unit is recommended or a unit that has both electric and non-electric capabilities (AC/DC unit).

How do you clean it?

You only have to clean the bowl (in a central system) or the bowl liner (self-contained unit) as you would a regular bowl, except without the use of chemicals. Recommended cleaners are Sun-Mar Compost Quick or hot water that is mixed with baking soda or vinegar.

Do animals harm the system?

No. The compost is not something that is attractive to animals. Some people do build an enclosure to ensure curious animals or children don't tamper with the units.

What is the warranty?

The warranty is 25 years on the fiberglass shell and 3 years on all other parts.

What parts wear out?

Like brakes or tires on a car, certain parts eventually need to be replaced. On Sun-Mar toilets, the fan and the thermostat usually fail after a number of years. In both cases the parts are inexpensive and are easily accessible for the customer to repair.

On a central system, how far away from the toilet bowl can the composting unit be located?

Up to 20 feet is usually safe. We have encountered cases that have had longer distances, but in every case we recommend that you carefully follow installation instructions. It is very important that you carefully measure the slope of the pipe in any case.

How many toilets can I hook up to a central system?

You may connect up to 3 toilets to any one system. The amount of toilets is not as important as the number of people using the system.

Can you throw the paper in the toilet?

Yes. The paper is a source of carbon for the compost.

Should males still urinate outside or in the outhouse?

No. In fact, the liquid is beneficial to the composting process.