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Installation of a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet

Although though the concept of a composting head (toilet) is not a new one, this unit is the freshest of the new generation of this kind of product.

Nature’s Head designers and their wives, all sailors with many years of boating experience, having used earlier versions of composting toilets on their boats, saw a need for a better designed product. The concept has been refined and reworked to provide you with a more user friendly product which is aesthetically pleasing, more space-efficient, and a more affordable alternative to previously offered models. While designed to withstand the rigors of the boating environment, the Nature’s Head™ is well suited for many other applications.

Wherever you choose to install your new Nature’s Head, it is sure to provide you with years of worry-free sanitation solutions without the hassles, inconvenience, and odors of traditional sanitation systems.


The Nature's Head Installation Guide and User Manual may be downloaded here. This page contains the Installation Manual portion of this manual for those who do not wish to download the document.

What’s in the Box?
  • Your new Nature’s Head™ composting toilet
  • Basic installation kit:
    • 5 feet of 1½ inch inside diameter hose with ends inside vent flange
    • agitator handle
    • 2 mounting brackets and knobs
    • 4 mounting bolts (for wood floor installations)
    • 6 feet wiring for internal fan hook-up required for 12 volt system
    • fuse holder and fuse for direct battery attachment
    • Allen wrench for installation of spider handle
    • liquids tank cap
  • Instruction manual

Note: The exhaust fan for the head has been installed before shipment.

Items You May Need to Complete Your Installation

Your Nature’s Head™ comes with most of the items necessary for completion of your installation. The outside vent is not included because each application is different and many will require a different vent. Please see the venting section of our instructions for additional tips and suggestions. Feel free to contact us by email or phone with any questions you have concerning your installation.

Some installations may require increased hose lengths which are supplied on a per foot basis. PVC pipe which may be obtained at most home improvement stores may also be substituted for longer hose sections.

For floor construction other than wood a different type mounting bolts may be required. If the installation is in a basement or other concrete floor, many customers have found it convenient to mount the toilet to a section of plywood rather than trying to drill masonry. The plywood can be placed on the concrete floor and painted or varnished for appearance.

If regular household current is available (110 volts), the head can be powered by a 12 volt transformer or wall adapter. These are available from Nature’s Head.

Some type of composting material will be required. The most commonly used material is sphagnum peat moss which is available at most garden stores or home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. It is usually available in a shrink-wrapped 3 ft cubic bale for $8 to $10. This quantity of peat moss will sustain use of the head for a year or longer. The peat moss should be regular sphagnum peat, no additives. DO NOT use Miracle Grow peat moss.

Coconut fiber (also referred to as coir brick) is also an acceptable composting medium. However, it is more costly and less readily available. It may be obtained at hydroponic gardening outlets.

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet Dimensions

Click here to download this drawing in inches
Click here to download this drawing in centimeters

Location

Installing the Nature's Head, clearance needed

Clearance required for servicing your Nature’s Head When locating your new Nature’s Head, be certain to allow enough room for the toilet to function and be serviced. Be sure that the lid will open fully. You must also be certain that the bowl has enough room to tilt rearward to allow for its removal and for the removal of the liquid tank. If mounted against a wall or bulkhead allow a minimum of 2 inches between the back of the toilet and the wall.

It is necessary to allow adequate room for the hose connection and agitator handle. Both of these may be re-located to the opposite side of the unit if needed. In some space-restricted areas it may be necessary to offset the toilet to one side or even turn the toilet slightly to one side to allow for extra clearance.

With the standard handle attached the width of the unit is 20 ¾ inches. For more confined spaces, the optional spider handle decreases the width to 17 ¾ inches. Two inches to the left side of the head (as you face it) is required to slide the bowl off the slip hinge for servicing the base. In severely confined spaces removing the mounting knobs and sliding the toilet away from the mounting location may be a more desirable method of servicing the unit.

Mounting

Securing your Nature's HeadAfter choosing the location for your toilet, it is necessary to secure it to the floor of your boat, cabin, or RV using the two L-brackets. The brackets may be positioned to the inside or outside of the base of the unit as you desire. The normal mounting is to position the L-brackets under the base in the recesses in the toilet. Mounting screws are included for mounting to a wooden floor. If you choose to mount your unit with the L-brackets facing inward in the recesses provided in the base, counter-sunk screws or bolts are required.

To mount the L-brackets to the floor, position the base of the toilet in the previously selected location. Attach the L-brackets to the toilet with the knobs provided. If you choose to mount the L-brackets facing out (not under the toilet) simply mark the holes in the brackets with a pencil for drill locations. If you choose to mount them under the toilet, carefully trace around as much of the outline of the bracket as possible. Make note of the distance between the bracket and the lines you drew. Now remove the brackets from the toilet and move the toilet out of the way.

Carefully position the L-brackets inside of the lines that you drew and mark the holes for drilling. BEFORE DRILLING ANYHOLES IN YOURFLOOR OR WALLS BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT IS BEHIND THEM! The holes in the brackets are for #12 countersunk bolts or screws. If you are using the screws provided you will need to drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole in the drill marks you made on the floor. If you are uncertain if your brackets are positioned correctly, drill and mount just one bracket. Then reposition the toilet and mount to the one attached bracket. Check the positioning of your other bracket and marks. If all looks good proceed with drilling and mounting the other bracket. If your markings are off, adjust your lines and proceed with mounting the second bracket. If mounting the toilet to a floor that will get wet frequently a small amount of caulk should be placed in the holes before installing your screws. Attach your toilet and check to be sure everything works and fits as you intended. Do not over tighten the hold down knobs as you will damage the threads in the base!

Venting

The unit must be vented to the outside of your cabin whether it is a boat, RV, truck, or vacation property. This helps keep your bathroom smelling fresh, and allows for proper growth of beneficial bacteria which facilitates the composting process.

Installing the venting system will be the most difficult portion of the installation. The average do-it-yourselfer should be able to easily accomplish this if one is familiar with and has the proper tools. Depending on the type and placement of your vent you may be required to cut holes in the wall, ceiling, or the floor. If you are unsure if you are qualified to complete this portion, it may be wise to hire a contractor or handyman to do this for you.

Due to the variety of ventilation choices available, the external vent has not been provided. Mushroom vents, solar vents, and clamshell type vents are commonly used for venting to the exterior. The unit may be vented horizontally or vertically through the roof, wall, or the floor. Rubber hose adapters which connect directly to your toilet and the outside vent flange are provided. For installations in homes, cabins, and other permanent structures the venting can be placed horizontally through the wall with 1 ¼ inch PVC pipe. The outside vent can be as simple as a PVC pipe with a 90 degree elbow pointing down to prevent wind and water entering into the toilet. Attaching screen over the opening is recommended. This will prevent the entry of insects into the system. Any mesh fabric such as window screen or nylon netting will provide an adequate insect barrier. A mushroom vent may be used in place of the PVC elbow and has a built in screen.

Venting your Nature’s Head if a sharp 90 degree turn from the fan housing is needed, a 1¼ inch PVC street elbow may be used to achieve a proper configuration. Installations on boats and RV’s are easily managed with the stainless steel mushroom vent with the built in screen and adjustable top which is self-sealing.

The hose adapter provided with the toilet would be placed inside under the vent. On many boats the pump-out fitting can be removed and the mushroom vent mounted over the existing hole. The venting hose provided with the unit will attach directly to the adapter. Clamping is not necessary on the connection for the head, and normally not necessary on the exterior connecter. With an overhead connection, you may find it necessary to clamp this end depending on the amount of support provided for the vent hose. If the hose is supported properly, you will probably not need a clamp. The vent hose must be attached to the housing which has the fan inside it. The unit is designed to pull fresh air through the head and ventilate it outside. If you disassemble the fan housing, always check to be certain that the fan is blowing out of the vent before re-attaching the vent hose.

Power Connection

Nature's Head: receptacle on fan housing

A simple 12 volt computer muffin fan drawing less than 2 amp hours (12 volt power) in 24 hours is the only power required for this unit. The power plug, a single pin attachment with a wire length of 6 feet, is also included. The “single pin” power supply will plug into the receptacle on the FAN housing. It may be necessary to extend the length of the connecting wire.

As with all electrical connections, be sure your head is on a fused circuit. The fuse should be no less than 2 amps and no more than 5 amps (12 volts). A fuse holder and fuse are provided for use in a non-protected 12 volt system such as direct attachment to a battery.

The fan may also be powered by a 110 volt source with an appropriate power adapter that reduces the power to 12 volts. If the system is being powered by the 110 volt power adapter disregard the fuse, fuse holder and single pin cable as they are intended for use ONLY with a 12 volt power source. No fuse is required when using the wall transformer. These power adapters are available through Nature’s Head.

IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR WIRING SYSTEM OR REQUIREMENTS, PLEASE CONSULT AN ELECTRICIAN.

This unit may be converted to a powerless installation by using a solar vent on the roof or cabin top and attaching the vent hose underneath. Depending on the fan chosen and the type of roof in your application, some form of adapter may be necessary. Be sure and use the solar vent with battery back-up so your head will vent continuously. The internal fan in the toilet can be left in the unit if you choose this option.

Installation Tips

If installation of the ventilating hose is better suited to placement on one side of the unit than the other, the fan/filter housing is interchangeable with the filter-only housing. This is accomplished by swapping sides with the components and their respective housings. The toilet is shipped with the agitator handle unattached and must be installed before use. The standard handle is attached with a collar and hairpin clip, while the spider handle attaches with an allen set screw and locknut. In the event that the handle must be moved to the opposite site of the base, the agitator must be manually removed, reversed, and reinstalled.

Nature's Head: Spider and Standard Handles