An honest Envirolet Composting Toilet review.
~ What you need to know before you buy one.
~ In a nutshell: overpriced and fails to deliver.
Our family lost thousands of dollars on this scam.
Before you buy an Envirolet composting toilet, please read about our family’s disaster.
Hi. We’re Peter and Briana. We live in Colorado with our two kids, two dogs, two cats, alpacas, chickens, and several thousand bees! We’ve spent the last few years building a happy family life on our small farm. What follows is the 100% true account of our experience with Envirolet composting toilets. We’re sharing our story to help others avoid losing their hard-earned money like we did.
A year ago, we ordered two of these Envirolet composting toilets for our barn. This must be the world’s most expensive toilet! It was a huge decision for us. We could have bought a great used car or a year’s worth of groceries for this price. But we didn’t have any sewage or septic hookup and we needed toilets. Based on the company’s claims, we felt it would be worth the expense.
Unfortunately, we ran into problems immediately. When we received the toilets and read the installation instructions, we discovered that we’d need a climate controlled enclosure for the tanks. We had assumed they could just sit outside, hidden by some bushes. But the documentation that came with the toilets said they wouldn’t function in cold temperatures – and we live in Colorado.
So we had a dedicated, heated shed built for the tanks (picture below) and a separate electrified utility room for the pumps. Along with the expense of running specialty electrical and plumbing to these toilets, this setup added over $10,000 of additional expense. It seemed crazy, but since we already had the Envirolet composting toilets, we felt we had no choice. When we told our friends we were spending over $20,000 on a toilet system, they couldn’t believe it. More than one said something like, “Wow, these must be the best toilets in the world!”
Sadly, they’re most certainly not the best toilets in the world. In fact, they don’t work at all. It was the biggest financial mistake of our lives.
What you’re actually getting.
These are third-party toilets that are marked up tremendously. It was only after we received this system that we realized that the majority of it – the toilet and pump – is a Dometic VacuFlush RV/boat toilet. You can buy one for $1500.00. Meaning, Envirolet is charging roughly $7500 for their part of the system, which is just two plastic bins with a fan, rake and heater inside, plus some pipes. Even if the system worked, it would still be a rip-off.
The waste falls right through.
The bizarre thing about the composting tanks is that the waste from the Envirolet composting toilet is supposed to land on a sheet of tissue paper that is suspended in the tank above the heater, where it should theoretically dry out and turn into finished compost. As you might guess, when a load of water, urine, and feces lands on a sheet of tissue paper, it just blasts right through it. However, according to the instructions, this should not be allowed to happen.
Below is a picture of the torn paper. (We kindly removed most of the human waste before taking the picture – you’re welcome.)
We called customer service – you can expect to wait several days for a call back – and they told us we needed to scoop out the poop and toilet paper by hand and then carefully lay in a new piece of tissue paper in each bin and try again.
This was a pretty disgusting job, and we put it off for a while. But in the meantime, we had no toilets, so we finally got around to it. We did it exactly as instructed by Envirolet’s customer service, carefully laying in the tissue paper and gently covering it with peat moss.
Expecting that this had fixed the problem, we had an event at which a handful of friends and their kids used the toilets. When we checked the tanks afterwards, we saw that the waste had blasted right through again. It was a gross mess to deal with.
They overload your circuits.
During the electrical setup, we asked Envirolet how much power these toilets draw. We got this email in response:
Each Envirolet composting toilet has two tanks, each one needing power. We assumed that when the representative said “appox. 9.2 AMPS” he meant per toilet (that is, for both tanks together). But just in case he meant for each tank, we had an electrician install a separate 20 AMP circuit for each tank. That is, we set aside 80 amps of power for these tanks. Aside: if you’re thinking about using these toilets in a building with limited power, think again. Along with the power for the heater and fan for each of the tanks, we needed power to heat the tank enclosure (the waste won’t compost if it gets too cold), power for the toilets themselves, and power for the pumps.
Much to our dismay, the tanks cause the circuit breakers to trip over and over. After resetting the breaker, it trips again within a half hour. It’s not just one bad tank either – every one of them does this.
Maybe something is different about wiring in Canada, but here in the United States, where this was wired to code by a licensed electrician, you’re stuck with toilets that don’t work.
The noisy pumps run constantly and overheat.
After many calls and emails to customer service – most never returned – we finally just needed to have working toilets. We stopped running the heaters on the tanks so they wouldn’t keep tripping the circuit breakers (though they also wouldn’t dry out the poop and urine). And we decided that we’d just let the tanks accumulate waste and eventually see if we could get a septic company come to pump them out.
What this meant, of course, is that the only parts of the system that were actually functional were the $1500 Dometic RV toilet. The Envirolet composting tanks were basically just stinky non-functioning waste storage tanks.
Unfortunately, even this didn’t work. Every time we went into the barn there was a loud noise – the pumps pumping nonstop. They were hot to the touch and we’d have to turn them off manually to keep them from burning out or starting a fire. When this was happening, the toilets wouldn’t fill with water or flush. If a guest used one while this was happening, it inevitably meant an embarrassed person telling us they left something in the toilet – and we’d have to clean it up!
Sadly, it looks like lots of people have had this problem.
Check out these reviews from Amazon:
Need more proof? Here’s another. You can look these up yourself on Amazon.
The Envirolet composting toilet company likes to blame these problems on a faulty installation. But everything about our system was set up exactly according to the specifications in the manual by a licensed electrician and a licensed plumber. It’s a perfect installation with very short distances between all the components.
The Sad Conclusion
This was an extremely painful experience for our family. We lost over $20,000 on the toilets and installation. To add insult to injury, we’re now we’re looking at the high cost of getting rid of them, which means ripping up the floor and exterior wall and finding some waste management company to haul away four tanks contaminated with human feces.
We have tried getting a refund from the company. They completely ignored us, sending only a form letter that said they hadn’t responded due to COVID. That was 6 months ago. We tried disputing the charge with our credit card company, but too much time had passed and the credit card company wasn’t able to recover our money. We have talked to lawyers, but since we’re in the U.S. and Envirolet is in Canada, they have explained that it would be expensive and difficult to sue them. We’ve already lost too much money, time, and energy – and like many of you, our income has really plummeted since the pandemic.
All we can do at this point is to spread the word and educate people about this unethical company so no one else makes the same mistake we did. Save your money and avoid Envirolet / Sancor. If you had an experience like ours, please use the contact form below to consider joining our class for a class action lawsuit against this company.
Take care & stay safe,
Peter and Briana