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How much odor comes from a composting toilet?

None. Air is being continuously drawn in to the unit and up the vent stack, creating a partial vacuum in the unit. In addition, the composting drum fosters a good aerobic compost which produces no odors.

How often do you empty it?

Never completely. You typically empty some of the compost out of the drum once per year for cottage use, once every few months for residential use. In cases of continuous use, you may extract some compost more often. This always sits in the drawer to cure before being removed - you are never handling any fresh waste when the unit is properly operated.

Do I add any chemicals?

No. The only thing that is added is peat moss mixed with wood shavings, (60% wood shavings, 40% peat moss, or Sun-Mar's Compost Sure peat mix with hemp). Chemicals are, in fact, dangerous to the composting process and should never be added at all.

What happens in the winter?

Nothing. The compost remains in the drum and freezes, so no composting is taking place. The elements will NOT damage the system during the winter months. In fact, waste can be added in limited quantities during the winter for use as a holding tank, if you are only planning to use the unit about once a month.

Can it be used all winter?

Yes. If the area where the composting unit is heated to a minimum 55 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter, then composting will occur.

How much hydro do they use?

About 150 Watts. The electric units require hydro to power a fan (30 Watts continuous) and a heating element that is thermostatically controlled. The average draw is about 150 Watts, or the equivalent of a lightbulb. Larger models may have larger power requirements.

What if no electricity is available?

No problem. Each Sun-Mar toilet is available in a non-electric version.

I have a generator that runs part of the time. Can I use an electric unit?

No. A non-electric unit is recommended or a unit that has both electric and non-electric capabilities (AC/DC unit).

How do you clean it?

You only have to clean the bowl (in a central system) or the bowl liner (self-contained unit) as you would a regular bowl, except without the use of chemicals. Recommended cleaners are Sun-Mar Compost Quick or hot water that is mixed with baking soda or vinegar.


Does the Fiberglass used in your composting toilets smell?

Does the fiberglass used to make the body of your car smell? No. Off gassing from the fiberglass production process does produce an odor, but it is gone by the time that the toilet is built and boxed.


What kind of plastics do you use in your production?

We use high quality, recyclable, cold-resistant plastics. Sun-Mar engineers use the best materials for each part of the design. We find that this produces a better product than using one material throughout.


Where are your toilets built?

At our plant in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Please feel free to come and see us anytime during business hours.


Why do you have so many systems?

To meet every need possible. If you find unit selection complex, use our automatic model selector or follow our simple question process.


How Do You Get the Most Capacity out of a Composting Toilet System?

Different sizes of drums. Common sense tells us that more people means more waste, and for more waste we need a bigger composting vessel. Sun- Mar is the only company that offers a larger solution for a larger problem.


Why Don’t you sell your Toilets directly?

We do! If you do not have a dealer in your area, feel free to order through us or one of our mail-order/internet dealers. Either way you will receive access to excellent free after-sales support directly from us.


Why is a local Dealer Better?

We find that users want to see, feel, and touch the product before buying it. This way, you can get to know the Sun-Mar products more thoroughly before you purchase. We combine the well-trained service of our dealers with our excellent product knowledge to back them up if you have any questions that they can’t answer – this results in you being as well-informed as possible, as we believe in educating rather than selling so that you make the best decision for your situation.

Why are you saying that you have the only Residential and Cottage use systems certified and listed under NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) Standard 41?

The facts are right here on NSF’s website. We have the only Residential and Cottage use composting toilet systems certified and listed under NSF Standard 41. If you have any questions please contact NSF directly.


Do you charge collect shipping charges?

When you buy through a dealer, you may even pay no shipping charges. Most of our dealers will be happy to give you freight costs up front. When you are buying from us, we usually get you a freight quote before shipment that you approve before the unit ships. These amounts vary depending on where you live, but usually don’t go too far north of 100.00.


Do you have a toll free number that I can talk to a person at?

1-888-341-0782. Available during office hours. Please call us if you have any questions at all that we can help you with.


Why does no-one else use a drum inside a composting toilet?

They can’t. Many of our drum design features are patented.

Do animals harm the system?

No. The compost is not something that is attractive to animals. Some people do build an enclosure to ensure curious animals or children don't tamper with the units.

What is the warranty?

All units carry a full 5 year replacement warranty on the fiberglass tank and a comprehensive 3 year replacement warranty on all other parts.

What parts wear out?

Like brakes or tires on a car, certain parts eventually need to be replaced. On Sun-Mar toilets, the fan and the thermostat usually fail after a number of years. In both cases the parts are inexpensive and are easily accessible for you to repair.


Is the Fan Noisy?

The fan on our AC models is just as noticeable as an oscillating room fan in terms of noise level. If you are concerned about fan noise being a problem, you can purchase a fan speed control with your unit that will allow you to turn down the fan speed, and therefore the noise, whenever you like.

You may have heard from users of older Sun-Mar units (pre-1998) that their fans were noisy. They were noisier than the current model, as the fan was from a different manufacturer and of an entirely different design. Just another example of how we are always improving your composting toilet experience.

On a central system, how far away from the toilet bowl can the composting unit be located?

Up to 15 feet is usually safe. We have encountered cases that have had longer distances, but in every case we recommend that you carefully follow installation instructions. It is very important that you carefully measure the slope of the pipe in any case.

How many toilets can I hook up to a central system?

You may connect up to 3 toilets to any one system. The amount of toilets is not as important as the number of people using the system.

Can you throw the paper in the toilet?

Yes. The paper is a source of carbon for the compost. You do not need to buy special toilet paper to use in our system, as a properly operating compost will break down regular toilet paper in a short period of time. Of course single ply will break down faster, but it is not necessary - and anybody who tells you it is is probably trying to sell you fancy expensive toilet paper!

Should males still urinate outside or in the outhouse?

No. In fact, the liquid is beneficial to the composting process.


How Do I Dispose of my Kitchen and Bathwater Waste <Greywater>?

This is an answer that changes with each installation. There are two things to consider. The first, and most important, is what you are legally allowed to do. If you contact your local Department of Health, or building inspector, they should be able to tell you exactly what is legal to do in your area.

Here are a couple of not-for-profit organizations that can provide more information on proper greywater treatment:

National Small Flows Clearinghouse (US)

Centre for Sustainable Watersheds (Canada)

Additional Information

Technical Article: On-Site Recycling of Domestic Sewage in Florida

A do-it-yourself guide for effluent treatment with evapo-transpiration