Can You Put an Incinerator Toilet in an RV?

Last Updated on March 14, 2023 by Jess

A typical household can use hundreds of gallons of water in a month just to flush the toilet.

Unfortunately, RV owners cannot afford this luxury if they want to maintain their tank space or water supply. Many people who want to be self-sufficient in their RV rely on combustion toilets in these situations.

But can you install a combustion toilet in an RV? Let’s find out more about it.

What is a combustion toilet?

An incinerator toilet is a type of toilet that uses heat, rather than water, to dispose of human waste. It is similar to a regular toilet, but the waste is disposed of in an incineration chamber.

This chamber can reach temperatures of 970 to 1,400 degrees Celsius. This causes the waste to be burned to ash. The ash is an excellent organic fertilizer. However, we do not recommend using it on plants you intend to consume.

You can throw the ash in the trash if you don’t have a green thumb. Check the rules and regulations for waste disposal that apply to your area to avoid potential problems.

Can you install an incinerator toilet in a mobile home?

If you are staying in an RV and want to spend as much time as possible off-grid, you can install a combustion toilet in your RV. This type of toilet will not only save you water, but also space and weight.

While there are many reasons to choose this type of toilet, it is not always the best option. They do not require water, but electricity or propane gas is required to burn the waste.

Also, these toilets are much more expensive than a typical RV toilet. Do a little research before you rip the toilet out of your RV’s bathroom.

How do RV combustion toilets work?

RV incinerator toilets look and feel similar to regular RV toilets, but the way they handle waste is quite different. The waste is discharged into the toilet bowl just like any other toilet.

Incineration toilets differ in that the waste goes into an incineration chamber rather than a holding tank. The waste in this chamber is eventually heated by a heating element that can easily reach over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The waste turns to ash, and a ventilation system removes any odors emanating from the waste or the incineration process. The combustion chamber must cool for some time before you can use it again. This cooling process can take 30 to 60 minutes; plan your bathroom use accordingly.

Then wait until the chamber has cooled completely to remove the ashes. You can dispose of the waste in the trash in most places or use it as organic fertilizer for flowers and other non-edible plants.

Advantages of using an incinerator toilet in a mobile home.

Using a combustion toilet in your RV can be considered for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits these toilets offer users.

Easy to use and maintain

Since you are dealing with propane and vent lines, installation may not be for everyone.

Hire a qualified professional to make sure the job is done right. However, once you have your combustion toilet installed in your RV, it is easy to operate and maintain.

Like any normal toilet, you will need to clean the bowl regularly. How often you need to clean the ash pan depends on how many people use the toilet and how often.

You should also include cleaning the exhaust pipe and vent system in your annual maintenance. You should clear the pipes of dust and ash particles that could clog the system and reduce its efficiency.

Does not require water

One of the biggest advantages of these toilets is that they don’t require water. Dealing with water is one of the most difficult aspects of off-grid RV travel.

Instead of flushing your limited water down the drain, you can use it for showering, drinking, and other important tasks.

If you have trouble using your water for more than a few days at the campground, consider a combustion toilet. You’ll have less to worry about using water and more time to enjoy your RV in remote areas.

Remember: Before using a vault toilet for the first time, avoid these 5 common mistakes!

Take up less space

Unfortunately, most RVs lack living and storage space. You learn to appreciate every inch you can gain by expanding or modifying.

Combustion toilets take up little space and often take up less room than a standard RV toilet. Depending on the equipment, you can thus adjust the layout of your bathroom to maximize the usable space.

Less stress in managing the black tank

The last thing you want to worry about while you’re settling into an epic campsite is the level of your black tank.

Unfortunately, this can become a major problem for many campers with standard RV toilets. Depending on the situation, you may even have to break camp and haul your RV to the nearest landfill to empty it.

With an incinerator toilet, you no longer have to worry about sewer hoses, portable waste containers, or 50+ gallons of human waste.

The toilet reduces waste to a small pile of ash that you can easily and safely dispose of.

Minimal odors

If you’ve ever been to a campground where someone dumped their tanks, you know that the smells can be intense. Also, some campers find that the odors from the black tank somehow make their way into their camper.

Fortunately, incinerator toilets have special ventilation systems that almost completely eliminate the odors and vent the remaining odors outside. Since the ash is odorless, you don’t have to worry about it contaminating the area where you dispose of it.

A combustion toilet in a mobile home

Disadvantages of using a combustion toilet in a motorhome

Although incinerator toilets sound like a magical answer to the prayers of many RV owners, they are far from perfect. Discussed below are some disadvantages that may cause them not to work well for everyone.

They can be very costly

Combustion toilets are products that deliver premium results, which means they come with a premium price tag.

While you can get a standard RV toilet for a few hundred dollars, a combustion toilet can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to install in your vehicle.

Even if they make your RV life easier, the higher cost is hard to justify. Consider all options unless you have a huge pile of money burning a hole in your pocket.

May require professional installation

Not only are these devices more expensive, but the average RV enthusiast probably can’t install them themselves. Since you want to make sure it’s done right, you’ll probably have to pay a professional to install it.

Installation costs can vary depending on the equipment and the professional’s hourly rate. It’s a good idea to shop around and get some estimates before deciding if an RV incinerator toilet is right for your vehicle.

A man installing an incinerator toilet in his RV.

Must use paper filter with each use

Once you get past the cost of the toilet and installation, there are also ongoing costs. Each time you use the toilet, you must place a paper filter, similar to a coffee filter, in the toilet bowl. The waste is directed into these filters and then into the incineration chamber.

A pack of 200 filters usually sells for about $20. As we said, this is not a cost that will break the bank, but it is an ongoing cost that you need to consider when making your choice.

It may surprise you how often you and others in your household use the toilet.

Remember: Do you need RV toilet paper? Let’s see if RV toilet paper is a joke or a smart reality!

Is a combustion toilet right for your RV?

Combustion toilets are beneficial, especially for those who like to travel by motorhome. However, they are not the solution par excellence for everyone.

One of the biggest hurdles for many RVers is the high initial cost of these units.

They may be helpful, but you could also spend thousands of dollars to make off-grid camping more convenient.

Don’t be hasty in deciding whether or not this toilet is right for you. Take your time and consider all the costs involved for it. Otherwise, you might regret buying your fancy new toilet.

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