Separett FAQ. If you don’t find the answer, call me toll free.


Separett FAQ

Separett Composting Toilet Frequently Asked Questions

This detailed post should answer most frequently asked questions regarding Separett composting toilets (Separett FAQ). Please add your own questions, and I will answer them.

Capacity

How often should the toilet be emptied?

If four people are using the toilet on a daily basis, then a container will last about 3-6 weeks, depending on how much toilet paper is being used. The Separett Villa comes with three containers. Additional containers can be purchased if required.

How is it possible that the container with solids so rarely has to be emptied?

Separett FAQ composting toilet inner bin

removable inner bucket lined with compostable bag

Urine accounts for about 85% of the waste volume and is routed separately away from the toilet. This increases the storage capacity for solids greatly. The container is easily replaceable and if the amount of users increases one only change containers more often. The Separett Villa comes with three containers. Additional containers can be purchased if required giving the toilet virtually unlimited capacity.

 

Odor

Are there unpleasant odors indoors?

No. If the fan runs continuously the there will be no unpleasant odors in the room. When installing the toilet, make sure that the venting pipe is properly sealed with silicone. The easily accessible fan filter should be cleaned
regularly as well as the insect net at the end of ventilation pipe.

Are there unpleasant odors outdoors?

No. Because the urine and feces are not mixed, there is never any latrine-type odor from a Separett toilet. A certain amount of odor may be present outdoors, however, when and shortly after the toilet is used. If the venting can be routed to the back of the house, it is usually suffice to just route it straight through the wall. If the venting pipe must be routed through the gables or to the front of the house, it should be extended upwards or routed through the roof.

Are there unpleasant odors from the leaching bed/soak-away?

Separett FAQ composting toilet drain pit

Typical drain pit

No. It does not smell since the urine is let out under ground where it percolates harmlessly away. The drain rocks in the leaching bed are usually covered with landscape cloth, topsoil and grass. There is no way this can smell if done correctly.

Are there unpleasant odors from the Separett Ejektortank?

No. The urine odor is drawn into the toilet through the hose and then blown through the toilet ventilation system. By the time it is expelled outdoors, it has been mixed with so much air that the odor is unnoticeable.

Must the urine waste pipe contain a Ubend, water seal (otherwise known as a p- trap)?

Usually not. The faint odor that may come from urine is drawn out through the venting pipe with the aid of the fan.

Is there any odor when I spray the diluted liquid on plants?

Separett FAQ dilute urine and use as fertilizer

mix urine 10:1 with water if using as fertilzer

Not usually. There may be a very faint, temporary odor. It depends on the extent to which it is diluted with water. If a Separett Ejektortank is used, 1 liter of urine is mixed with 10 liters of water. This may result in a faint odor, but it will soon disappear. You can speed the process by adding more water or spreading the mixture at night or when it rains. This makes exceptionally good fertilizer!

Are flies a problem with these toilets?

Problems with flies are uncommon with Separett toilets. There is a screen on the vent. Keep the fan switched on at all times just to be sure. See my detailed post on preventing flies here.

Ventilation

Should the fan operate continually?

Separett FAQ composting toilet 3 venting options

venting options (3 are shown – you only need 1)

Yes. This keeps the housing dry and extends the lifetime of the fan. If the fan has to be switched off, place the lid on the container and remove it.

Which is the best method for routing the venting pipe, through the roof or straight through the wall?

It is always easier to go straight through the wall. When routing the venting pipe through the roof, the work is more difficult, as is ensuring good seals. Remember not to route the venting pipe to the house entrance or other
places where people gather.

How much airflow does the fan create?

There is no simple answer to this question because the airflow is very dependent on the length of the venting pipe and the number of bends it contains.

Is an additional fan needed if you have a shower in the same room?

No! All ventilation from the bathroom shall go through the toilet fan that runs continually.

Does the venting pipe need insulating?

The Separett Villa toilet has a condensation collector and does not need to be insulated.

Can the ventilation be run through a chimney stack?

No. We advise against it since moisture from the bathroom can destroy the mortar joints. Also, the plastic ventilation pipe can melt if it is run through the chimney stack.

Urine outlet

Where do I lead the urine?

You have three options for the urine outlet:

1) connect the hose to the greywater system.
2) make a simple leaching bed/soakaway.
3) use a tank such as the Separett Ejektortank.

Separett composting toilet gray water connection

gray water connection

Separett composting toilet drain pit

drain pit

Separett composting toilet urine tank

urine tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please check local regulations.

Can I extend the urine outlet?

Yes. If you need to extend the included 2 meter (6,56 feet) hose; a pipe is preferable. With a hose it is difficult to ensure a drop for the entire length. Indoors, we recommend waste water pipes with a diameter of 32-40 mm (1 ¼” -1 ½”) and outdoors pipes with a diameter of 50-75 mm (2″ -3″).

Does the urine waste freeze in the winter?

Not under normal circumstances. Urine freezes at about -5ºC (23ºF). Ensure that the urine waste pipe has a drop along its entire length and use at least 50 mm (2″) pipe outdoors. It may also be a good idea to insulate the piping sections that run outdoors.

How can I make a simple leaching bed/soak-away? (Also called a French Drain)

Separett FAQ composting toilet urine drain pit

drain pit

Dig a small hole in the ground, measuring about 2′ X 2′ X 2′ deep. Fill it with rocks. Before covering the leaching bed with soil, put landscaping cloth over the stones to prevent clogging. The urine outlet can be led through or under the plastic film. Please a check with local authorities if in doubt.

Am I allowed to connect the urine waste hose to the greywater system?

Urine is sterile and does not pose a health risk. However, the regulations vary. Please ask local authorities.

How steep a drop must the urine waste pipe have?

It is important that the urine waste pipe drops along its entire length, so gravity can drain all liquids. A steeper downward drop lessens the risk for deposit build-up of urine salts or ice.

Is it possible to reduce the risk of urine salt deposit build-up in the urine outlet?

Yes. We recommend rinsing the urine basin with a small cup of water after each visit. You can also place the Separett Bio Drain Cleaner in the urine basin. This tablet contains enzymes that prevent urine salt deposits in the urine pipe. However, if you still get blocks in the urine outlet use a liquid drain un-blocker.

Is it possible to lengthen the hose on the Separett Ejektortank?

Yes, the included 10 meter (33-feet) emptying hose can be lengthened up to a maximum of 20 meters (66-feet) and only with a ¾” hose. Do not use a normal garden hose adapter as a connector, as it clamps too tightly around the hose. Before you can lengthen the hose, remove the spray nozzle by heating the hose and the handle with, for example, warm water or a hot air gun. Use a piece of pipe and two clamps to make the joint. As a suggestion cut about 5 cm (2″) of the Ejektortank nozzle and use it as the pipe for the joint.

Maintenance and care

Do I ever have to add anything?

In the container inside the toilet, the contents should be left to dry and lose volume. Some people use a Separett Absorb in the bag inside the container, since it keeps the contents dry and thereby odorless.

Separett FAQ composting toilet urine drain

urine flows down forward hole

Does the toilet function well for women?

Yes. The urine bowl has been tried and tested by both older and younger women to ensure that the urine is separated into the right place.

Does the toilet function well for small children?

Yes. A smaller urine separating child seat is included in the Separett Villa .

 

Separett FAQ composting toilet child's seat

child seat is included

Which type of toilet paper should I use?

You can use normal toilet paper.

Should I throw toilet paper in the container?

Yes, toilet paper helps keeping the contents of the container dry and divided which facilitates the handling after the storage period.

Does the toilet function in cold rooms?

Yes. Separett toilets are not room temperature dependent. Cool temperatures may slow down or stop the composting process, but it will resume when things warm up. Much of the composting actually takes place later, when you have removed the inner bin and set it aside as instructed.

Can I use bags in the container?

Yes. All our toilets are supplied with bags in order to simplify cleaning the container.

Can I use compostable waste bags?

Yes. We recommend using Separett Compostable waste bag since it designed to endure the conditions inside the toilet and during the storage period. It will slowly disintegrate in the ground or in a composter.

How long time does it take until the Separett Compostable waste bag disintegrates?

There is no simple answer to this question because the disintegration is depending of the biological activity in the ground or composter and to the exposure of sunlight. Since the bag is designed to endure the conditions inside the container, it will also disintegrate slowly in the ground or in a composter.

Can the toilet tolerate freezing temperatures?

Yes. Composting may be delayed.

What do I do when the container is full?

Put the lid over the container, tilt the container towards you and use the sliding surfaces to remove the container from the toilet. Once removed, open the lid, and put a shovel full of dirt or compost on top. Replace the lid. Leave a slight opening for air circulation. Place the container in a suitable location outdoors.  Let it sit for six months, then put it on non-edible plants.

Separett FAQ composting toilet emptying

put lid on inner bin and remove

What happens with the solids inside the container during the 6 month storage period?

The bacteria in the soil “consume” the fecal pathogens, thereby rendering the contents harmless. It is then ready to be placed in a composting bin for use on non-edible plants or buried.

If I use the Separett Ejektortank only in the summer, what should I do in the winter?

Before winter you should empty the Ejektortank, since urine freezes at -5ºC (23ºF) and can cause the container and its pipes to break. If you still use the toilet wintertime one can choose to collect the urine in suitable containers for use in springtime or you can pipe the urine to a leaching bed, soak-away or to the greywater system.

Miscellaneous

Do I need to obtain permission from the authorities before installing the toilet?

Most areas now approve of and support the use of composting toilets. However, regulations may vary. Please check carefully.

Can I install the toilet myself?

Yes. There are not usually any problems for the competent handy-person. Its a simple job that could also be done by a professional at low cost.

What tools do I need?

The tools you need depend on the installation choices you make for the urine outlet and the ventilation pipe. This is a list of the most probably tools that may come handy: Screwdriver, hacksaw – to cut the ventilation pipe knife – to cut the urine hose, hole saws for the urine outlet and the ventilation pipe, carpenter’s level, a power drill and tape. Your installation may involve specific challenges, and additional tools. Call us, or check with a local handyman or carpenter if in doubt.

Where can I buy one?

Call 1 888 361 0014 – toll free in North America.

Hopefully this Separett FAQ has answered your questions. If not please call me directly. I will answer the phone or get back to you asap.

 


Leave a Reply

34 thoughts on “Separett FAQ. If you don’t find the answer, call me toll free.

  • Laura

    Can the 6 month storage period in the container be avoided if the contents of the toilet is emptied directly into a compost bin and left to decompose for 6 months? Don’t really want a bunch of full buckets sitting around. Would rather utilize compost bins if possible.

  • Heather

    The urine backed up in the pipe. We’ve had the unit for 5-6 years. This only happens in really cold weather. It eventually drains overnight, but it is preventing us from using it. I put up build up remover in. Still waiting if that will eventually work. I think the blockage must be nearer to the end of the pipe because it does drain and stop. So, it must be sitting in the pipe. I did not install in, and the original person is not around. Help!

  • Kabe

    Hi! We’re putting the 12v Separett Villa into an outhouse in a woodland setting. So solar efficiency isn’t great and we’re concerned about how long the fan will last between our visits to the forest (could be 3 – 4 weeks). In this instance, are we better to empty the container when we leave or can we simply cover the container with the lid and turn the fan off? Many thanks (great article btw…)

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Every installation is a little different, in terms of ventilation, so it’s hard to say. There may be enough natural draw up that pipe to keep everything smelling fresh. I’d experiment. Turn the fan off for a day or two, and see if you start smelling odor. If not, all is good. If you do, Then experiment with the lid. I really doubt that you will return to and odor if you put the lid tightly on the bucket. You could also put a plastic bag over the top and hold it there with a large elastic band. If all this doesn’t work (unlikely) you’ll need to empty the bucket before you leave.

  • RYAN

    I installed this toilet, and I have to say that finding extra exhaust pipe that matched the supplied fitting and pipe was a nightmare. I had to fabricate a connection to use 3 inch schedule 40 pipe to join the pipes . Should I have to change this, are there any options for a commonly available pipe size and connection system?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      There are adapters in the box allowing you to easily transition between the metric pipe that comes with the Separett and standard 3″ schedule 40 PVC. You don’t have to fabricate anything. Sorry this was confusing. I agree that the instructions should be better.

  • Debbie

    What if a person has loose stools and there tends to be some diarrhea in the sold tray. I read 2where you said some moisture is ok. Another owner said she used a diaper in the bottom of hers was wondering if this may be a solo runny stool in the dry bin or will toilet paper being thrown in absorb loose stools.

  • Sharon Haralson

    We have just removed our first bucket from the Villa and after transferring the waste to another bucket to finished composting, the original black bucket smells really bad. We are using the bags and also a diaper in the bottom so what can we do about the smell?

  • ROY Morrison

    Do you have the bags that can be purchased or will just any composting bag work for the container? If you have them how much are they for what quantity?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Any compostable bag will work, as long as it’s big enough to fit the bucket. We have bags but they are a little pricey – $20 for 10 bags. You can get them online much cheaper. Double bag it.

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Fortunately that is usually an easy problem to solve. First try to eliminate the source of the gnats. If there are no gnats in the house there will be no gnats in the toilet. I realize this can be tough, especially in warmer climates. Screens on the windows help a lot, and try to eliminate gnat sources like bowls of fruit. Clean out the toilet with warm soapy water (don’t spray it, that might ruin the fan), carefully getting everywhere possible. Add a small quantity diatomaceous earth to the bucket. Gnats seem to hate diatomaceous earth. As a last resort in areas with lots of gnats you can put weather stripping on the bathroom door and keep it closed. Moth cakes inside the toilet will of course work but many people are understandably reluctant to use those. People have experimented with natural insecticides, but I have no solid information on the effectiveness of that.

  • mike liemandt

    Can you give a guesstimate of electrical requirements for the 12 volt fan. I operate all electronics on solar and generally only have storage for about 3-4 sunless days, then need to run a generator. For example how long would one of the small rechargeable 12v dry cell batteries used for portable fish finders lasts running 24/7?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      The fan uses about 3 watts on a continuous basis. How long a battery will last, or your solar panel requirements are dependent on many variables and beyond my expertise. Maybe call a solar place?

  • Karen Gamble

    We are contemplating a composting toilet for a guest house but concerned about cleaning. How do you clean this toilet? Can you use water/moisture? If so, how do you clean and keep moisture from compost container?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      You spray the bowl with a spray bottle containing water. Then you wipe clean with a paper towel. Drop the towel into the bowl. The opening is large, and the sides are almost vertical, so the clean up is less than you might think. There is no concern with a small amount of moisture getting in the compost container.

  • Chance

    With the Separett, is there a way to connect/divert the urine into an interior holding tank that can be removed and emptied – as with the Nature’s Head – rather than an exterior drain? We are wanting to use this in a warehouse setting where there is not an option for an outside drain due to concrete inside and out.

  • Jean Murray

    An exhaust fan running 24/7 pulling indoor air through the toilet seems like a huge heating loss. Have you tried using outside air as the source of the ventilation air through the toilet?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      When heat loss is a concern people will often install a make up air vent in the bathroom. A low tech solution would be a simple manual vent you could open a crack, and keep the bathroom door closed. There is no air intake on the toilet, and the seat is not airtight. You could install an intake vent, and most, but not all, of the air would then come from outside. However, you’d have to cut a hole in the toilet.