Separett Composting Toilet Frequently Asked Questions
Separett Villa Capacity:
Does the Separett 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. Furthermore, an extension for the urine bowl is included in the Separett Villa. The Weekender model does not include the extender for the urine basin as does the Villa. Women using the Weekender may need to take more care while urinating.
Does the Separett toilet function well for small children?
Yes. A urine separating Child seat that is included with each Separett Villa. This seat does not properly fit our other models. Our experience shows that children quickly learn how to sit correctly.
Can I use Separett toilet function in cold rooms?
Yes. Separett toilets are not room temperature dependent, since there is no composting process inside the toilet..
Can the Separett toilet tolerate freezing temperatures?
Yes. However, at very low temperatures indoors, you need to be extra careful, as the plastic becomes more brittle.
Separett Solids Container
How often should the Separett Villa be emptied?
If four people are using the toilet on a daily basis, then a container will last about 3-4 weeks, depending on how much toilet paper is being used. Since the final composting is done outside of the Separett toilets, they do not actually have a total capacity limit as other composting units do. If you have an event or times or a lot of use - you simple empty the liner of the holding chamber more frequently. The Separett Villa comes with two containers and a stock of ten compostable liners. Additional containers and liner bags can be purchased if required.
How is it possible that the Separett container with solids so rarely has to be emptied?
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 number of users increases one only change containers more often. The Separett Villa comes with two containers. Additional containers can be purchased if required giving the toilet virtually unlimited capacity.
Should I add anything to the Separett solid waste container?
In the container inside the toilet, the contents should be left to dry and lose volume. Never add bark or anything since it may contain larva which can develop problems with flies. We recommend putting a Separett Absorb in the bag inside the container, since it keeps the contents dry and thereby odorless.
What do I do when the Separett 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. Place the container in a suitable location outdoors. A few shovels of soil are added, and the lid replaced, but with a slight opening that allows the solids to vent. Leave like this for six months.
Why use Separett 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. Each toilet ships with a roll of ten bags. Additional bags are available on our website. You might also check local resources for compostable bags, which are becoming more available in the general marketplace.
Are bags included with the Separett Villa?
Yes, the Separett Villa comes with 1 roll of bags (10 count). But if you need more, we have the GMO Free compostable Waste Bags by Bio Bag available and the Separett Compostable Waste Bags also work.
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. We recommend that once in use - you not leave the bags in the solid waste container beyond six weeks.
Which type of toilet paper should I use with Separett?
You can use normal toilet paper. We do recommend not using highly quilted multi-ply paper as it takes longer to decompose.
Shall I throw toilet paper in the Separett container?
Yes, toilet paper helps keeping the contents of the container dry and divided which facilitates the handling after the storage period.
What happens with the solids inside the Separett container during the 6 month storage period?
Note, however, that this method does not produce ready-to-use soil. What happens is that the bacteria in the soil "consume" the fecal pathogens, thereby rendering the content harmless. It is then ready to be composted or buried in order to decompose fully. Toilet paper can still be seen after six months but will rapidly disappear when the content is composted or buried.
How do I compost the solids?
After the 6 months storage period, you can compost the content in a normal composting bin, a garden compost heap, or a pile of leaves. If you use a compost bin made for latrine (waterproof bottom and lid) it is not necessary to store the solids in the container. Instead it can be put straight into the compost bin without being stored in the container first.
Separett Odors and other concerns
Are there unpleasant odors indoors with Separett toilet?
No. By separating the urine from the solid waste and venting with the fan which helps to dry the solid waste and vent any odor - 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?
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 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. A tack or vertical vent going through the roofline is always the preferred installation for venting. Air over the top of the vertical vent will aid in the venting, where a horizontal vent may be needing to overcome an opposing breeze.
Are there unpleasant odors from the leaching bed/soak-away?
No. It does not smell since the urine is let out in the ground and diluted with rain. If a holding tank is used for the diverted urine, it is important to have a vent on the holding tank. This is normal for a gray water tank. I the tank is not vented, any developing odor has not where to escape except back through the toilet. The fan will help to vent this - but may not overcome the odor of a large holding tank. If using a gray water tank - it is advisable to at a p-trap not the run of the urine drain between the toilet and the tank, just as other sinks or showers would have between the devise and the holding tank. This will assure that any odors from the tank will not back up to the toilet.
Does the spreading of urine cause unpleasant odors?
This depends on the extent to which it is diluted with water. You can speed the process by adding more water or spreading the mixture at night or when it rains.
Are flies a problem with Separett toilets?
Problems with flies are uncommon with Separett toilets. However, flies may enter the toilet if you leave it for a week or so with the fan switched off and the container with solids still in place. The fan should always be operational. If flies do get into the toilet, change or empty the container, clean it thoroughly, and use fly spray on the toilet and container several times during the following week to remove any remaining larvae. Never add mulch, bark or any other organic matter to the solid waste holding area because it can contain larva which can develop problems with flies.
Separett Fan and Venting
Should the fan operate continually in Separett?
Yes. This keeps the housing dry and extends the lifetime of the fan. If the fan must be switched off, place the lid on the container and remove it. Otherwise, bad odors will spread indoors, and flies can easily enter and lay eggs.
Which is the best method for routing the Separett venting pipe, through the roof or straight through the wall?
It is always easier to go straight through the wall, however venting through the roof is always the preferred method. If venting horizontally - remember not to route the venting pipe to the house entrance or other places where people gather.
How much electricity do the Separett fans use?
Villa 9215 AC/DC
Voltage/Wattage: 12 DC/2.5 W /210 mA
Power consumption: 0.06kWh/24 hrs
This varies by each situation. If a shower is fully enclosed - it may require its own fan. But most often all ventilation from the bathroom can go through the toilet fan that runs continually.
How much airflow does the Separett 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.
The CFM rating for the Separett Villa 9215 is approximately 20.
How do I extend Separett for longer vent paths?
The Separett Villa ships with a 16-inch section of thin wall 3-inch vent pipe. This is generally adequate for a direct through wall installation. For longer venting, we supply for the Villa and have a valuable for the Weekender a conversion fitting to go from the thin wall 3-inch tubing to standard 3-inch schedule 40 pipe available here in the US
Does the Separett venting pipe need insulating?
The Separett Villa toilet has a condensation collector and does not need to be insulated.
Can the Separett 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.
Separette Urine Questions
Where do I lead the urine in Separett Toilet?
You have several options for the urine outlet:
1) Connect the hose to the gray water system or holding tank
2) Make a simple leaching bed/soak-away or
3) Use a tank which stores the urine for use as a garden fertilizer. ( You should inquire with your local Code or Building departments about the rules applicable to your area.)
Can I change the side of the Urine Outlet on the Separett Villa toilet?
The urine drain on the Viilla model is set to the left rear side and exits approx. 7 inches off the floor. The casing for the toilet is designed so that the urine tube could be changed from a left to right exit. We do not recommend that homeowners attempt to convert the urine tube as the releasing the tube from the housing is difficult and leads to frequent breakage of the tube. If your installation requires a change in the urine tube, please contact us directly prior to attempting the change.
Can I extend the Separett 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 wastewater pipes with a diameter of 32-40 mm (1 1/4"-1 1/2") 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?
Fill a ditch measuring about 50x50x50 cm (17"x17"x17"), approximately 0.5 m3 (18 cubic feet) with large stones. Before covering the leaching bed with soil, put a plastic film over the stones to prevent clogging. The urine outlet can be led through or under the plastic film. Please ask the Environmental Protection, Public Health or Building departments about the rules applicable to your area.
Am I allowed to connect the urine waste hose to the gray water system?
In most municipalities, urine is considered gray water and can be drained into a gray water tank.
How steep a drop must the urine waste pipe have?
It is important that the urine waste pipe drops along its entire length. 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 periodically with a small cup of water. 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.
Installing Separett Toilet
Do I need to obtain permission from the authorities before installing the toilet?
The approvals for building, plumbing and composting may vary between cities, provinces, states and countries. Details concerning the need of permissions can be given by your local environment and health office.
Can I install the toilet myself?
Yes. There are not usually any problems for the average DIY-interested person.
Which 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, a level, a drill.