Replacing a failing septic system can be prohibitively expensive, especially in today’s economy.  If you’re looking for a lower-cost alternative, we’ve got some information about a product that you’ll want to know about.

When an old septic system begins to have problems, it can spell big trouble for the homeowner.  Signs of a failing septic unit may be as subtle as soggy, wet spots of grass in the yard.  At the extreme, it may result in backed up sewage in your home.  If you have determined that your septic system is failing and you’re looking for an alternative to installing a new one, there is a little-known product available that can save big dollars, and that is a composting toilet.

While it’s true that composting toilets have been around for decades, what most people don’t realize is how far they’ve come in recent years in terms of design and technology.  The most important development in modern composting toilets is the fact that they are completely odorless.  Through the use of special fans and venting systems, compost toilets are held under a type of partial vacuum, meaning that air from inside the unit never escapes into the bathroom, but rather is vented up and out through the vent pipe.  This important evolution has finally brought composting toilets into the realm of viable options for residential homeowners, and it also makes them a good alternative to the traditional septic system.

So what’s involved in installing a composting toilet?  The answer depends on the type of system you select.  One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a self-contained unit or a central system.  Self-contained units are by far the easiest to install because everything resides in the bathroom.  Simply set the toilet in place, assemble the vent stack (which will likely need to be vented up and out the roof of your home), and you’re finished.

Central systems – also referred to as whole-house systems – are designed for use in multiple bathrooms.  For example, if you have a home with two or three bathrooms, you can put a separate toilet fixture in each bathroom and then connect the toilets with plumbing pipe down to a central composting unit where the waste is broken down.  The primary advantage is that the toilet fixtures located in the bathroom look very much like traditional toilets, and in fact, it is even possible to buy low flush fixtures that flush with water just like a regular toilet.  Furthermore, if you live in a home with several bathrooms, a central system may save you money over purchasing self-contained units for each bathroom area.  However, central systems are more complex to install, because of the plumbing pipes that must be run from each bathroom to the basement.  This can prove to be particularly problematic if you have a finished basement.  If you live in a single-story home with an unfinished basement, the process is much easier.

Maintenance of a composting toilet system is easier than you might think.  Many homeowners are concerned that they’ll have to get “up close and personal” with their waste, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  With a central system, waste is flushed down the toilet and out of sight to the central composting unit where it’s broken down without the homeowner ever having to come into direct contact with it.  The contents of the composting unit must be aerated every few days, but this is usually a simple process wherein the homeowner turns a crank handle on the side of unit, and doesn’t even have to view the waste while doing so.  Bulking material, such as a peat moss mixture, may also need to be added every few days, but this is also a very simple process.

So if your septic system is beginning to show signs of trouble, it might be time to learn more about composting toilets.  Or if you need a professional, feel free to give us a call today!

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