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Basement Bathroom Installation Tips

Composting toilets are a clean, odorless alternative to traditional flush toilets. Their primary advantage is that they don’t require any hookup to a septic tank or sewer line, which means you can install one virtually anywhere. The main difference with a composting toilet is that waste isn’t flushed away to be dealt with elsewhere, such as in a wastewater treatment plant. Instead, waste goes into an aerobic composting drum inside the toilet where it is broken down and, over a period of time, is converted into compost.

Because about 90% of human waste is just water, the majority of what goes inside the toilet is evaporated off with the aid of a heating element and fan. The remaining material stays in the composting drum, where it is broken down. About once or twice a year, some of the compost will be emptied to a finishing tray in the bottom of the toilet. With most units, this is a very simple process that happens internally; the homeowner never has to come into contact with compost until it is completely finished. Once fully finished, the compost will look and smell like ordinary garden soil. It will be clean, dry, and non-offensive.

Self-contained composting toilets are also waterless, so you won’t need to worry about running any plumbing lines for water in your basement bathroom. The only real requirement for installation is connecting a vent stack (usually PVC pipe) that runs upward and out your home’s roofline. This vent stack, combined with the fan assembly, is what ensures that your composting toilet will operate without odor.

A composting toilet will fill part of the need for a bathroom in the basement; however, it doesn’t provide a solution for a sink or a shower, if that is required. Assuming that you have access to water, the only real barrier to installing a sink or shower would be the lack of a sewer or septic tank connection in your basement. If this is the case, a graywater recycling system might be an option. If you have the ability to run the wastewater via a pipe to a central graywater recycling tank, then the water can be reused for outdoor plant irrigation, which is a great way to lower your home’s overall water consumption. If you don’t have any access to running water in the area of your basement where you want to install the bathroom, then a simple bottle of hand sanitizer is another low cost option!

As you can see, installing a basement bathroom when you don’t have a stub-in to a sewer or septic tank is not impossible; it just requires some outside-the-box thinking. As with any home project of this magnitude, be sure to check with your local building department to see what, if any, building codes apply in your area, and to be sure that composting toilets and graywater recycling systems are both approved in the local building codes. Whether you’re adding a basement bathroom to make your home more marketable for resale, or if you just need a bathroom for your family’s use, composting toilets and graywater recycling systems are self sustainable, eco friendly products that will last for many years.