How to Install a Compost Toilet


Compost toilets are an environmentally safe method of creating a self-sufficient home. They use human waste to create organic compost material suitable for gardening and fertilizing. The compost toilet must be set up and installed properly to assure it functions correctly. Odors, flies and sludge in the toilet are signs of an improper installation.

Step 1

Place the compost toilet in a proper location. You'll need an area 45 by 12 inches that sits against an exterior wall. Composting toilets don't have to be near plumbing, but should be installed against an exterior wall because of the venting and compost removal.

Step 2

Measure up the wall from the floor to where the vent pipe will go, using a measuring tape; make location of the vent as close to being vertical with the matching hole for the toilet. Make the vent pipe as short as possible. Set the end of the pipe against the surface where the hole will go. Draw an outline of the pipe on the wall and remove the pipe. Drill four holes equidistant from each other around the outline of the hole; these are insert holes for the jigsaw. Insert the blade of the jigsaw into one hole. Cut the 4-inch hole in the wall with the jigsaw.

Step 3

Secure all connections with silicone caulking to hold the PVC pipe together. Refer to the manufacturer's installation instructions for the diffuser that attaches to the outside cap of the vent. This will keep drafts and external elements from getting into the vent pipe.

Step 4

Install the fan at the base of the vent pipe, using the screwdriver. Apply caulking to seal the fan fittings to the vent. Connect the power supply of the fan to an available energy source such as 12-volt battery, solar cell or electrical outlet. This helps keep downdrafts and odors from entering the house.

Step 5

Attach the drain pipe to the toilet. Attach the other end of the drain pipe to the outlet where liquid can gravitate to; this should be a septic tank, recycling bed or container.

Step 6

Fill the bucket with sawdust to the top. Put the bucket of sawdust alongside the compost toilet. Use a handful of sawdust in the solid waste container after each occurrence of solid waste in the toilet. This keeps the odors out and helps the composting process. Liquids are automatically separated.

Step 7

Set up one of the drums to empty the solid waste container into. Allow the drum to fill completely. Set the drum aside for one year to allow the material to decompose. Set the second drum up to receive solid waste for that year.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • PVC vent pipe
  • PVC fittings
  • Caulk
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Diffuser
  • Pipe cap
  • Screwdriver
  • Fan
  • Power supply
  • 12-volt battery
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Sawdust
  • 2 50-gallon drums


  • United States Environmental Protection Agency: Water Efficiency Technology Fact Sheet
  • Mother Earth News: Mother's Compost Commode
  • "The Humanure Handbook;" Joseph Jenkins; 2005
Keywords: compost toilet, installing composting toilets, composting toilet instillation

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.