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Water Fact:
On average, as much as 40% of precipitation in Canada is evaporated or transpired (from Environment Canada)

Winter Use of Central Units

Sun-Mar units serve as reliable year-round toilets when prepared for continuous or periodic use during the cold winter months. All units are made of fiberglass and marine grade stainless steel; so even if the compost freezes in the drum, as long as the drum is not rotated with frozen compost in it, sub-zero temperatures will cause no damage.

Winterizing Your Sealand Toilet

While the composting system will not suffer any damage due to freezing, the water valve on the Sealand low flush toilet will. If you are not keeping the bathroom heated throughout the winter, do one of the following:

  • Best Choice of Action: Take off the water valve and bring it home with you, keeping it in a heated space during the cold winter months. To do this, remove the pedal cover, and then remove the valve. The toilet may be flushed with a pail of water during limited winter use.

  • Alternative Choice: Remove the brass nut on the end of the water valve. While you save the inconvenience of removing the pedal cover doing this, this action will eventually strip the threads on the valve and it will need replacement in a few years. We suggest removing the water valve entirely as recommended above.

Do not flush antifreeze down the toilet as recommended in the Sealand manual; this will harm your composting toilet system.

Limited Winter Use

For limited use (i.e. up to a couple of weekends a month) in cold temperatures, the unit can be used simply as a holding tank. For this, sufficient space must be available in the Bio-drum and the drum should not be rotated if it contains frozen compost.

Electric units should be plugged in when in use, so that the fan eliminates all odours even though no composting is taking place. If you have a Non-Electric model or an AC/DC that you are using primarily in DC mode, you should install a 12 volt fan to assist airflow during use in the winter months.

This advice is applicable to anyone planning on using the unit once a month or so in winter. If you plan on using the unit more frequently during the winter months, please follow the advice in the section below.

Continuous Or Extended Winter Use

For continuous or extended use (i.e. residential use or every weekend) in winter, the composting unit will have to be kept warm (at least 55°-60°F) so the composting activity does not stop.

Insulate all piping in unheated areas to avoid ice blockage including vent stacks (on all electric units), and waste inlet and drain piping where appropriate.

While the composting unit is not in use, energy costs can be reduced by installing a speed control on the fan so that very little cold air is being pulled in and the heater is operating less frequently. This speed control is available from our parts

If you are installing a unit in a climate with extreme temperatures (ie Alaska or Northern Canada), consider installing a 3" pipe around the insulated 2" pipe to add an extra measure of insulation. Many of our customers in these areas also use heat tape or self-regulated heat cable along the length of the vent to keep ice from blocking the vent in the winter months. Contact us for additional advice if planning to install a unit under these circumstances.

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