Separett Toilet FAQs
What is the 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 3-4 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 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 amount 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 solid waste container 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.
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. 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 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.
Which type of toilet paper should I use?
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 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, since there is no composting process inside the toilet.
Can the toilet tolerate freezing temperatures?
Yes. However, at very low temperatures indoors, you need to be extra careful, as the plastic becomes more brittle.
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. 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 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.
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 n the solid waste container beyond six weeks.
Are there unpleasant odors indoors?
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 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. A tack or vertical vent going through the roof-line 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 apposing breeze.
Vent Pipe - how do I extend for longer vent paths?
The Separett Villas and Weekenders both ship 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.
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.
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 .
Does the spreading of urine cause unpleasant odors?
This depends on the extent to which it is diluted with water. If a Separett Ejektortank is used, 1 liter of urine is mixed with 8 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.
Are flies a problem with these 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 in to 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.
Should the fan operate continually?
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. Otherwise, bad odors will spread indoors and flies can easily enter and lay eggs.
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, 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 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.
The CFM rating of the fans are as follows: (conversion from metric)
On speed 1, 35m3 / each hour = 1236 CF per Hour / 20.6 CFM (cubic feet per minute)
On speed 2, 45m3 / each hour = 1589 CF per Hour / 26.4 CFM
Villa 9210 and Weekender 7000
25m3 each hour = 882.8 CF per Hour / 14.7 CFM
How much electricity do the fans use?
Villa 9200 AC
Voltage/Wattage 110-120V low speed 14.6W hi speed 18.9W
Power consumption low speed .35 kwh/24hr hi speed .45kwh/24hr
Villa 9210 DC and Weekender 7000
Power consumption single speed .06kwh/24hr
The Villa 9200 uses a two speed fan and is designed for larger buildings where the ventilation path may be longer and cubic footage of the builder larger. We warn against use of the Villa 9200 on inverted power and recommend use of the Villa 9210 if you are inverting from solar or DC power to AC power.
The Villa 9210 is designed for use on DC battery or solar power but can also be used on AC and inverted power with the included adapter. This adapter is similar to the plug you would use for a battery operated radio when using it on standard AC power. You simply unplug the cable from the fan casing and plug in the adapter. As the 9210 fan draws less CFM than does the 9200. It is the preferred unit for small spaces and tiny houses as it will vent less conditioned air from the room. It has a single speed fan.
Is an additional fan needed if you have a shower in the room?
This varies by each situation. If a shower is fully enclosed - it may require it's own fan. But most often all ventilation from the bathroom can 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 advice 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 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 e.g. the Separett Ejektortank which stores the urine for use as a garden fertilizer. Recommended for year round non-freezing locations only.
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 Villa toilet?
The urine drain on the Viilla model is set to the left rear side and exits approx 7 inches off of floor height. The casing for the toilet is designed that the urine tube could be changes 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 definitely requires a change in the urine tube, please contact us directly prior to attempting the change.
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 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.
Are there requirements on water pressure when using the Separett Ejektortank?
Yes. You need access to water with a minimum pressure of 36 psi . The higher the water pressure, the more elevation differences the Ejektortank can handle.
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). 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.
What happens with the solids inside the 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 faecal 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.
Miscellaneous - 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 you 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 Carpenter’s level A drill and tape. In case you have wall or floor tiles.