My Electric Toilet

An electric toilet?  What a bizarre concept.  In general we think of toilets as contraptions having to do somehow with water, which, after being used, gets flushed down a pipe and that’s it.  When we go camping we sometimes use “pit toilets” which are the ickiest, in my opinion; or sometimes, no toilet at all, which hopefully involves a smallish shovel to create what’s called a “cat hole” in trail lingo.  I like those the best, actually.  Then there are chemical toilets.  I have one outside.  It’s the one that went over the cliff in the big wind storm and had to be retrieved upside down and steam cleaned before it could be restored to (hopefully) a more secure spot on the cliff that I live on.

It is because of this cliff that I don’t have a “normal” toilet.  Since the building I am living in is literally built into the side of a rock face, there is no place for a septic tank, or leach field, or any of your other means of safely getting rid of human waste.  Don’t even think about sewers:  I live about 7 miles from the nearest one.

Having a chemical toilet outside isn’t bad in good weather, but when it’s dark and rainy or sleeting or windy, and one is worried about going over the cliff backwards in a port-a-potty, one longs for some sort of indoor facility.

My father, whose studio this used to be, at one time had a composting toilet; but he discovered that there has to be a certain amount of “material” to compost correctly, and he was unable to supply it, so he put the unused toilet in the shed, where it still sits, and put his drafting table in the former bathroom instead.

I really wanted a propane toilet, since I have a 500 gallon propane tank sitting in the yard.  My father used to fire his huge walk-in pottery kilns with propane, and used a lot of it, hence the huge tank.  But propane toilets turn out to cost around $5000, which is way far out of my pay grade.

Enter the electric toilet.  My mother found it on the internet.  It only cost $1250, which is really a lot of money for a crapper, but hey.  So we sprung for it.  This is what it looks like:

View from the top

View from the top

This is what it looks like from the top, with the lid closed.  You can see the button that says “push.”  That is how you “flush” it.  It starts the incineration cycle.

All ready to use!

All ready to use!

And here we see the Incinolet all ready for action!  The white thing inside the “bowl” is a special paper liner that catches the “deposits” and when a foot pedal is depressed, bundles all tidily into the burn chamber.  Theoretically.

2013-01-13 20.05.11And this is what the Incinolet looks like without the paper liner.  Now, it is a VERY bad idea to try to use the Incinolet without the liner.  If it is “liquid,” then it just pours out onto the floor; and if it is “solid,” well….you can imagine that for yourselves.

I won’t go into the details of what human waste smells like when it’s burning.

Most electrical appliances that we industrialized humans are used to come with big stickers on them that say something like, “WARNING!!!!  NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS!!!!”  The Incinolet, on the other hand, is one big user serviceable part.  It comes with an extensive manual complete with blow-up (or is that exploded?  I never get that right.) diagrams down to every screw, and three pages of trouble-shooting instructions, all of which involve taking some portion of the device apart.  I have had the whole thing apart now, so I consider us to be on intimate terms, in more ways than one.

All in all, it is a decent thing to have an indoor commode, and I am grateful for it; but if the truth be known, I’d rather be using a cat-hole in fine weather, with a good view and no chance of being disturbed.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. For goodness’ sakes!! I never knew such a thing existed!! You not only make me chuckle, literally laugh out loud, get upset over past & current crap (no pun intended) that has happened and continues to happen in your life, but you also educate me!! Thank you for all of it!! You are a wonderful blessing in my life!! 🙂
    — Kathy

  2. Okay. I will put this down as one of the more unusual (but informative nonetheless) posts I have read. Interesting!
    When I was a little fella, my grandparents had an outhouse with a bucket of sawdust beside it. One scoop per poop 😉

    • Ah yes, the traditional outhouse. I used to find them scary places. My aunt-in-law once got bitten by a Black Widow spider in the, you know, in one of those old outhouses. Now if I have to use one, I bring a flashlight.

  3. O.K. last time it was ‘pissing’. This time it’s technical toilet talk…..I must admit to being a bit nervous about your next post!

  4. My grandparents had (no lie) a two-seater outhouse. I remember being afraid of it when I was a child. One of my cousins went in with me and we sat side by side talking and doing our business. I still rank it as one of the weirdest moments of my life.
    I love this post. If you can keep an audience reading about a toilet, you should be publishing 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it. There’s a great joke about a double-hole outhouse that I might post later when I get a chance. Glad you had the unique and surreal experience of using one. As for publishing: I’m working on it.

  5. This is so educational and in more ways than one! Interesting post even if it is poop humor.

  6. delila0298

     /  November 11, 2013

    Hi. On a scale of 1-10 how bad is the smell of burning? And it is the smell in the toilet, bathroom, home, outside of the home?

    • Well, I’m an aromatherapist and custom perfume blender, so I have a very sensitive nose. I live alone, so I don’t have anyone else to use as a control. To me I’d say it was an 8. It smells inside the house and outside, and I don’t know about the bathroom ’cause I don’t go in there for any other reason–there’s nothing in there but the toilet, since there’s no running water in there. The reason I’ve got this smell problem, I think, is that the building (it isn’t really a house) backs up to a cliff and there’s really no place for the vented fumes to go. I think if there was more air space around the vent pipe I wouldn’t have as much back-flow. I manage by burning a strong incense like copal or frankincense and myrrh when the toilet is burning. Can’t do any Essential Oils work till the air clears out of everything, though. It’s not ideal, but better than trekking out to the outhouse in the dark/rain/cold.

  7. EcoJohn incinerating toilets get very good reviews and if operating as instructed, you should have no smell inside the home at all. You can find more info here if you like…

    • Thank you! Turns out the reason I had smoke getting into the building is that the cliff directly behind the building is deflecting the smoke, so what I need is a taller exhaust pipe. I’m not living there now though, so it’s not a problem 🙂

  8. Christy

     /  July 8, 2017

    Are you still happy with your toilet. I am thinking of buying one for a tiny cottage

    • As I think I mentioned in the post, I never use the toilet unless my outhouse is frozen. I hate it. But that’s just because I can’t stand the smell of burning sh*t, and don’t like paying huge electric bills for the privilege of doing so. For a small cabin, I personally would go with a cassette toilet.

  9. Richard

     /  June 10, 2018

    Perfect poop pyro puns.

  1. My Outhouse Is Frozen « Bipolar For Life

What's your take?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: