Many people have come to the conclusion that using water for waste is completely unnecessary and even harmful to the environment. For the past decade now, new toilet technologies have produced more efficient methods of dealing with human waste. Some of the most notable of these are the electric toilet and incinerator toilet designs. Many people, whether from a lack of a septic or dreams of being more green, are considering these sustainable toilet alternatives.
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For starters, the incinerator toilet is similar to the regular toilet, but it forgoes the need for water, plumbing or a septic system entirely. Rather, it uses electricity, natural gas, propane or other fuel sources to incinerate the waste into a sterile ash. There are a few operational differences between a standard and incinerator toilet, but the overall function is not altogether unfamiliar. They are safe, clean and very simple to use.
The incinerating toilet is perfect for off-the-grid homesteads where the thought of trying to acquire extended water service is discouraging. They are also legitimate alternatives for places where repairing, replacing or installing a new septic system just isn’t viable. This could happen when there are space limitations, environmental concerns or even financial restrictions. Installing an incinerating toilet is likely to cost at least three times less than repairing or putting in a new septic system.
Which Design Is Right For Your Home?
Both the electric and gas models have their own advantages. The electric model is by far the most popular, since it is more convenient to install, use and maintain. The gas toilet is very efficient although it is certainly the better choice for infrequent usage, such as a vacation home, cabin, hunting or fishing shack.
The electric toilet can be placed anywhere there’s a 120 volt outlet. A 3-inch diameter exhaust pipe will need to be connected from the rear of the vessel to the outside of the building. Preferably, this should be more like a chimney so that the fumes and odor are distributed up and away from the immediate area.
This one looks the most similar to a traditional toilet. It has a bowl that “flushes” the waste into the larger holding and incineration vessel. It requires a cone-shaped paper sheet to line the bowl for clean disposal. It can hold around 2 to 4 batches before it requires incineration. Then, after it heats the waste at around 1400 degrees for about one hour, the remaining ash equals to about a tablespoon.
Natural Gas and Propane
This incinerating toilet has the benefit of not needing electricity to work. It can be installed either temporarily on a cylinder propane tank or permanently on a gas hookup. It should always have plenty of air flow in the room that it is located.
A gas toilet resembles an outhouse or a port-o-potty more than a standard toilet. Instead of a “bowl and flush” system, it has a pit where the waste is held and eventually incinerated. After each use, an aerosol foam is sprinkled over the waste, and an anti-foaming chemical has to be added before it incinerates for up to 4 hours.
Depending on your location, there might be obstacles in the form of local building codes. Many municipalities are unfortunately not savvy to these alternative technologies, and they may need extra precedence. Nonetheless, with more demand and popularity, green technology will soon become the norm.