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Incinerating toilets: this document describes the brands, properties, installation, and maintenance of incinerating toilets - a waterless system for onsite waste disposal where a septic system cannot be installed. Incinerating toilets use electricity or gas to produce heat which literally incinerates the waste. Here we list suppliers of incinerating toilets and compare models, features, and prices.
We add advice on choosing among incinerating toilets and on how to use incinerating toilets. The photo above shows an Eco John Sr - "A highly efficient, waterless toilet that incinerates the waste with propane." [The photograph above is of one of our favorite incinerating toilets, an Incinolet, from that company's product literature.]
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Guide to Incinerating Toilets: where to buy, how to install, how to use, how to maintain incinerating toilets
What are Incinerating Toilets?
Incinerator Toilet Septic Systems: incinerator toilets use electricity or gas to burn the waste placed into these systems. Like chemical toilets and holding tanks they have limited capacity, are used where water is not available or must be conserved, and they do not address the handling of remaining graywater from sinks and showers.
Incinerating toilet models include waterless-versions of incinerating toilets which produce a small amount of ash, and low-water toilet systems that are combined with an incinerator that can reduce gray water as well as sewage.
Typically no plumbing, no water, no digging, no drains, are required, though an energy source is necessary, such as electricity, natural gas, or LP gas. A vent is also required for incinerating toilets, either out through a side wall or up through the building roof.
Incinerating toilets can be used in un-heated buildings, though if LP gas is used as the energy source, it should be protected from very cold conditions. My favorite product name among toilets of this type was the "Destroylet" incinerating toilet which was electric/propane fueled and which is no longer on the market in its original form. Each flush resulted in a more than 10-minute burn cycle which produced a pretty smelly exhaust.
I'd consider installing an incinerating toilet but I'd be sure to review all of its specifications first, including energy use, overall size and installation costs, storage capacity, incinerating frequency, and the length of the incinerating cycle.
I expect that properly installed, odors, noise, and explosions are not an issue. Some models require that the incinerating cycle be run after each use. As this can take some time the toilet may be unavailable during that interval. I'm not sure this is the whole story but some sources (NSF) argue that because the process consumes all of the nutrients in the waste, the ash cannot be used for fertilizer. As long as the ash can be disposed of conveniently in a suitable location, it is sanitary and may not be an issue. Some manufacturers (Incinolet) recommend disposing of the ash in the household garbage.
According to the US EPA "Anti-foam agents, catalysts or other additives are typically required for use" though at least for some products such as the Incinolet the manufacturer notes that no addities are needed.
These units accept human waste into a chamber where the wastes are burned. They have a very limited capacity and require a source of electricity or gas. The ash remains must be periodically removed. They must be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The previous quote is from: New York State Appendix 75-A.10 Other systems. In sum, other than stating that the product must be installed according to the manufacturer's recommendations, many codes and jurisdictions are silent on this topic.
The Eco John Incinerating Toilet
The Incinolet Electric Incinerating Toilet
* Incinolet™ Electric incinerating toilet products, operate at 120V on a 15A circuit
or at 204V for some models. This toilet line "... uses electric heat
to reduce human waste (urine, solids, paper) to a small amount of clean ash, which is dumped periodically into the garbage.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Although incinolet model specifiations are not readily accessible on the company's websit, we have seen a Marine version of this incinerating toilet, the Incinolet Model WB / TR-III listed as a Type III MSD Certified toilet for use on inspected & uninspected vessels.
Incinolet Toilet Safety - some exciting photographs courtesy of WombatNation
The Incinolet product specification [http://ssl3.adhost.com/incinolet/] includes this safety information:
Thanks to reader Paul McClelland for technical editing 02/20/2010
Really? Robert Stewart at WombatNation [ http://www.wombatnation.com ] has provided a lengthy, detailed and critical description of installation, testing, and use of the Incinolet at www.wombatnation.com/essays/incinolet.html from which we include these stunning excerpts (used with permission):
Mr. Stewart explains the Incinolet's operation and has generously shared his remarkable photographs of the Incinolet in action or perhaps, dis-action:
As my wife ignored me safely from the living room, I managed to capture this rare photo [ at left of the incinerating toilet at work, flames in view].
Watch out: ... well I'm just not sure what to write here. Somehow, just warning to follow the manufacturer's instructions doesn't seem to do justice to Mr. Stewart's research. - Editor.
Thanks again to Rob Stewart, a software architect and eclectic invesitative blogger whose notes appear at his website: wombatnation.com for sharing text and phtographs of the incinerating toilet undergoing this exciting field test.
The Destroilet Incinerating Toilet from LaMere Industries
* marks units that looked good to me on first review of their specifications, or which have received positive reviews from other sources I respect such as Real Goods.
The Scanlet Incinerating Toilet - propane fueled from Storburn
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