How Do Incinerator Toilets Work: Compleate Guide

If you don’t have access to a sewer or septic system in the ground, an incinerating toilet is the best option for you (except to dispose of gray water). Human waste is incinerated using electricity or natural or propane gas to produce sterile clean ash.

When properly installed, these systems are easy to use, safe, clean, and very simple to maintain. A basic electric toilet configuration is shown in Figure 1, and a typical gas toilet installation is shown in Figure 2. These waterless toilets resemble ordinary toilets in appearance.

Although gas and electric toilet incinerators have slight technical and operational differences, the main treatment methods are the same. Both machines burn human waste in a burn chamber that receives both solid and liquid waste. Human excrement is burned to ash at temperatures between 970 to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit in the burn chamber.


At first glance, an incinerating toilet may leave you wondering, “Why?” Nonetheless, these toilets are a viable solution for a number of situations. As an added benefit, since they are self-contained units, you won’t have to worry about rerouting your water or sewage systems to make room for them.

This results in significant savings for the plumbing sector in terms of both price and time required for installation. Due to their lack of water requirements, these loos can be utilized in places where heat may or may not always be accessible, such as cabins, trailers, and other structures. If you’re looking for a simple way to dispose of your waste, an incinerating toilet is just what you’re looking for.

How Does it Work?

How Does an incinerating toilets Work?

The incinerating toilet is an incredible piece of technology. As the name suggests, it’s made of robust steel and sits slightly higher than the average toilet seat. There is no tank because there is no water needed for flushing the toilet. You must first place a small paper insert, similar to a coffee filter, at the bottom of the toilet before performing your business using this item. Afterward, Mount Doom’s fires take over. Stepping on the little pedal discharges the paper and waste from the incinerating toilet bowl liners into a small chamber at the bottom. Press the start button to activate the cooling fan and the heating element.

After an hour, your waste has shrunk to the size of a tablespoon. Just remember to empty the germ-free ash into a garbage can once it has reached a depth of around an inch. If you don’t follow this simple maintenance process, your toilet’s heating element could fail, resulting in a much shorter lifespan. But if you’re cautious about clearing ash on a regular basis, your new toilet will last for many years if you take care of it!

Incinerating Toilets vs. Composting Toilets

How Do Incinerator Toilets Work comparison

Composting versus incinerating toilets might be confusing for folks who own cabins, trailers, and other more rural structures. Convenience and time are the most obvious answers to this question. A composting toilet requires a lot of attention, upkeep, and patience in order to function effectively. Human excrement decomposes more slowly in a composting toilet than in an incinerating toilet (up to six months).

While an incinerating toilet requires you to step on the pedal and press the start button, a composting toilet requires you to throw lime or peat moss over the waste and toss the muck around in order to speed up the composting process.

Finally, electric composting toilets utilize and waste more electricity than incinerating toilets because of their constant heating element. Having an incinerating toilet is only a drawback if you lose power. All of the electrical components of the cooling fan and heating element are powered by the same source. Having to deal with unpleasant scents if the power goes out right after someone uses the restroom is a nuisance. There is no comparison other than that. Incineration is always the winner.

To get an incinerating toilet placed in your home, talk to a supplier about which model is appropriate for your needs and which service providers you’ll need to get it done. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, easy-to-install toilet, incinerating toilets are the way to go.

Natural Gas and Propane Incinerating Toilets

Natural gas How Do Incinerator Toilets Work

Natural gas and propane-powered incinerating toilets do not require water, plumbing, or electricity. Natural gas or propane can be used to power these systems everywhere in the world. It’s possible to connect the devices to propane gas cylinders, such as those seen on gas grills, or to a gas supply. In a typical 8 to 10 hour workday, 8 to 10 workers can use these systems, or approximately 6 to 8 persons in a cottage or residence whose daily usage is around 16 hours, according to the only manufacturer found (Storeburn┬«).

In the gas-powered incinerating toilets, there is no toilet bowl at all. With the waste being discharged into a storage area/chamber, they have the look of a portable outhouse The holding chamber is right below the toilet seat. 

An aerosol masking foam can be used to conceal or blanket waste deposits after each use. Anti-foam MK-1 is added to the liquid portion of the trash when the system is full or about to begin an incineration cycle. In order to run the device, the MK-1 is necessary. Once the toilet seat is raised, a cover plug is inserted into the chamber’s opening (this plug acts as the firewall). 

The timer is set to the recommended level based on the weight of the load. A gas cock handle is turned to the pilot position and lit by pressing a button. Once the pilot light is lighted, the gas cock handle can be turned to the “ON” position to switch on the main burner.

The incineration cycle begins after that. Depending on the load capacity, the system can burn for 1.5 to 4 hours. At the end of the day or at night, the manufacturer recommends burning off the loads, as long as the toilet is not in use. However, while this may be suitable for construction sites or weekend camping, long-term habitation may be difficult.

The installation of a gas incineration toilet is more difficult than the installation of an electric toilet. Gas fittings should have their integrity examined on a yearly basis at the very least. A gas system’s venting must be done with considerable care. During an incineration cycle, an air space must be maintained beneath the bottom of the unit to guarantee proper drafting/airflow. 

There should be no rugs or carpets laid under the unit. The unit cannot be placed in an airtight chamber, hence a “make-up air” provision must be made. Intake air vents may be necessary if the toilet is to be installed in a closed area.

The gas systems are like port-a-potties but without the liquid chemical content. It’s possible that both of the customers we spoke with for this review are only able to utilize the device for a short period of time each year (one during the summer on weekends, the other was used for ice fishing 1-3 days per week during the winter). In both cases, propane was used as a fuel source. Initially, the systems were regarded as easy to operate and maintain. For some, the contraption seems like a combination between an “outhouse” and an “electric fireplace,” which isn’t too far off.

“Psychological” was used to describe a fault in the system’s design that was particularly interesting. If you’ve never used a waterless toilet before, you may find it a little unnerving. Waterless toilets were a problem for some people, who complained about the true sounds of urination, an open pit or chamber beneath their seats, and the requirement for a covering foam (since they didn’t like looking into their holding chamber).

Venting arrangement is equally as important for odor control as it is for electric toilets. It was also recommended to include a second spark igniter in case the first one failed. Installing the spark igniter was a breeze, and it resembled the one on your gas grill.

It costs roughly $2,200 for a Storburn┬« unit without venting (around $150-200). Additional costs include the use of antifoam and aerosol masking foams. We were unable to determine the unit’s running expenditures based on the few interviews we conducted.

Where And When Should Incinerating Toilets be Installed?

Where And When Should Incinerating Toilets be Installed?

If installed correctly, both gas and electric toilets are permitted in Massachusetts (gas-fitting, plumbing, electric, and building). However, it’s not apparent if their usage meets the plumbing code’s need for a water closet in this situation. Composting toilets were banned for many years because of a water-closet requirement, as many of you may recall.

There should only be an incinerator toilet option when all other solutions have been thoroughly investigated and exhausted by local health boards throughout Barnstable County and the rest of the state. There are no guidelines on how to utilize these units because they aren’t explicitly referenced in Title 5.

If there is a mechanism to dispose of gray water and the dwelling units are seasonal or only used periodically, they have often been allowed in restorative situations. Under 310CMR 15.289, gray water can be disposed of at an existing facility in the same manner (3). (a).

In places where extending water service is impractical or where there is minimal traffic, incinerating toilets are the best option. Gas-fired incinerator toilet liners don’t even need electricity. There are numerous examples, such as campsites, cottages, dune shacks, and fishing shacks. A hurricane wreaked havoc along Falmouth’s Shore Rd., destroying a row of beach cabanas.

How Waterless Toilets Work?

How Waterless Toilets Work?

There are also toilets that don’t use water and instead burn human waste. These toilets do not break down waste in a natural way; instead, they burn it. Sterile ash is produced at an incinerator, where the trash is burned.

The toilet has an electric exhaust pipe that goes to the ceiling and is positioned in your bathroom. It can be run by batteries or plugged into a standard wall outlet. You use the restroom as usual, including the toilet paper. For reasons that will become clear later, you must close the lid before flushing. After pressing the “urine” or “solid waste” buttons on the control panel, you’re done.

The toilet flushes as a result. A spinning auger (essentially a huge screw) forces the rubbish into the incinerator as a dry method of flushing. Propane, diesel, or natural gas tank provides the incinerator with fuel. You place your waste into the incinerator, where it is injected with fuel and burned at temperatures up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 C). Urine cooks in about 10 minutes, while solid waste cooks in about thirty minutes. 

Self-contained or remote, these toilets, like composting toilets, can have an incinerator either inside or outside the toilet, depending on the design. When using a self-contained incinerator, you sit directly on the incinerator, which may be unnerving at first, but the machine will shut down if you open the lid.

With these systems, there is no direct contact between you and your garbage whatsoever. Waste is turned into something else almost immediately. When it comes to trash, you don’t have to be concerned about its condition or make educated guesses as to how long it will take to transform. Emptying the toilet is required when the indicator light flashes. In a four-person family, Ecojohn predicts that the ashes will need to be evacuated every three to six months, depending on usage. The sterile ashes can likewise be thrown away.

Around $4,000 is the price tag for an Ecojohn system. Propane is an additional expense. According to the manufacturer, Ecojohn toilets use eight to ten cents of fuel per flush.

Remember that without a catalytic converter, your incinerator is emitting fossil-fuel emissions.

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