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Incinerating Toilets

by Matt Goering

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An incinerating toilet is a boudoir that does exactly what you'd expect it to do. Electric heating elements in the base of the toilet heat up to a balmy 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, reducing any human waste that has been deposited into the chamber to an easily manageable ash within about an hour's time.

Why?
An incinerating toilet is one of those inventions that initially has you asking yourself, "Why?" Rest assured, for certain applications these toilets are very attractive alternatives. For starters, they work independent of any existing plumbing or septic systems, meaning you can install them anywhere without redirecting your water supply, or your waste drainage systems, to accommodate them. That means big savings when it comes to plumbing costs and installation. And, since these toilets use no water, they can also be installed in cabins, trailers, and other structures where heat isn't always present, since freezing isn't an issue. In fact, all an incinerating toilet needs to operate is an electrical hookup to supply the energy it takes to transform your waste into germ-free, easily disposable ash.

How Does it Work?
The incinerating toilet is a fascinating invention. It's a solid steel unit that sits just a little bit higher than the average toilet. The seat looks the same, though because there's no water needed for flushing, you won't find a tank anywhere in sight. As for use, you're required to place a small, paper insert, somewhat resembling a coffee filter, into the bottom of the toilet before you do your business. Then, it's all about the fires of Mt. Doom. Once you've finished using the toilet, you step on a small pedal that releases the paper and waste into a small compartment at the bottom of the toilet. Press the start button to activate the cooling fan and the electric heating element, and POOF! After an hour your waste has been reduced to an ash pile about the size of a tablespoon. All you need to do is remember to empty the germ-free ash into a trashcan once it accumulates to a depth of about ? inch. Ignoring this maintenance task can result in failure of your heating element, drastically shortening the lifespan of your toilet. If you're diligent about removing the ash on a regular basis, however, you're sure to enjoy your new toilet for years to come.

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Incinerating Toilets vs. Composting Toilets
A lot of owners of cabins, trailers, and other more rustic structures, are sure to be wondering what the difference is between a composting toilet and an incinerating one. The easy answer here is two fold: convenience and time. A composting toilet requires a lot of attention, upkeep, and patience to operate correctly. To begin with, a composting toilet takes up to 3 to 6 months to get rid of human waste, while an incinerating model takes less than an hour.

Second, an incinerating toilet only requires you to step on the pedal and push a button, while a composting toilet requires you to lay down layers of peat moss or lime over the waste, and to stir the mess beneath the toilet occasionally to speed up composting.

Finally, electric composting toilets draw and waste more electricity than incinerating models, thanks to their continually running heating element. About the only downside to an incinerating toilet is if you suffer a power outage. Both the cooling fan and the heating element rely on a constant source of electricity to do their job. If the electricity cuts out right after somebody does their business, you're in for some unpleasant odors until things get back up and running. Other than that, there really is no comparison. Incineration wins out every time.

If you're interesting in having an incinerating toilet installed in your home, talk to a supplier of these innovative toilets about which model is right for you, and which service professionals you'll require to get your new toilet installed. If you're looking for a low maintenance, easy to install toilet, you can't beat incinerating models for your human waste disposal needs.

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Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.