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  • Too much leachate

    I find my compost is just too wet and pours out leachate on a daily basis. This is despite maintaining excellent working temperatures. I also note this does increase in the rain. Has anyone found the rain gets in through the top ventilation hole? Has anyone made any DIY solutions if that is the case. I am toying with attaching a chimney cowl to the lid as I do not want to close the vent in rain as I will adversely effect the function of the bin.

  • #2
    Like that idea v. Much. Have you come up with a solution for this yet?

    Comment


    • Annabel
      Annabel commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I found that when we were getting downpours (some weeks ago!), the temperature of the bin suddenly went down to 30, and the rain had clearly got in. So if there's a danger of rain now I put a small swing-bin lid over the vent, with the swing bit propped open, so that air can get in but not rain. I did find problems with the instructions for how far open to have the valve open - how do you measure a 2mm vent, shaped the way it is?!

  • #3
    The HOTBIN should not be expelling more than an espresso cup worth of leachate a week, any more than this suggests that there maybe an inbalance in the HOTBIN's internal moisture content and the amount of shredded paper and/ or torn cardboard being added to the HOTBIN. What types of waste are you adding to your HOTBIN, in roughly what quantities and how often? Are you adding some shredded paper and/or torn cardboard to the HOTBIN? If so, roughly often are you adding it and in what sort of quantities?

    Comment


    • #4
      Similarly to Annabel, I’ve noticed a dramatic drop in temperature and huge increase in leachate when it rains. I’ve emptied almost 2 litres of dark brown non-offensive leachate in 24hrs. Prior to the rain It was dark, thick and coming out weekly in small quantities.
      I follow the filling instructions closely with generous quantities of Shredded paper and card, cut the raw food waste into small pieces, shred garden waste and mix it by gloved hands to ensure a good blend.

      Its only a problem when it rains.

      I currently have a bucket over the vent and slits as it is due to rain again tonight. Not ideal.

      Has anyone had similar issues more recently and found a solution?

      Comment


      • JayneHoy
        JayneHoy commented
        Editing a comment
        Since writing this I’ve had a reply from Hotbin Helpdesk to say this is quite normal and as long as temperatures rise again to 40-60degrees I’m still hot composting.

        I think however, I’ve determined the source some of the leak. My right hand wall and the front panel are bowing, so despite tightening the cam bands there was a lip at the front of 1cm. Since placing a cross of wooden stakes under the top band, the leachate has once again reduced. I’m emptying about 20ml out twice daily 1-2weeks later and the external temp is 65degrees. Hopefully it is resolved.

        Next time it rains heavily I can test it without the bucket on top and see what happens. Hope this is helpful.

      • JayneHoy
        JayneHoy commented
        Editing a comment
        Since the last post, I had ongoing soggy compost that was composting unevenly. When I opened the door panel, the compost had eroded away from the front lower half by the door, confirming that this was where water was coming in. I moved the Hotbin under cover but still outside with the front facing away from prevailing wind/rain. Temperature has not been more than 40-50 degrees but I think this is due to reduced ventilation. 3 months down the line I emptied the bin because it was stone cold. Expecting more problems, imagine my surprise when the lower part up to the door height was completely great compost. Finally! No water ingress = no soggy smelly compost. I have done nothing differently, my mix is the same (about :3/4 paper: 1 bin raw kitchen waste: 1/5 garden shreddings and twigs). Now I just need to look at the ventilation and maybe I can get the temperatures soaring again.

    • #5
      Hopefully I'm not too late to jump onto this thread. I've only had my bin about 2 months. I got it up to temperature after about a month but since then it dropped to about 30 degrees which is roughly where it has stayed since. It is pouring with leachate. I've just removed about a litre and a half, and I last emptied it less than a week ago. I am going to put some grass cuttings in today to kick the temperature back up. My regular load for composting is a caddy of kitchen waste (mostly veg and fruit choppings with some bread, coffee grounds and tea bags mixed in); five large handfuls of the hotline bulking agent and a half caddy equivalent of shredded paper and/or shredded cardboard. I guess I just need to up the quantities of shreddings? Any other tips? One other question - does anyone else find collecting the leachate tricky? The cap is so low down I struggle to get a container under it and loads is spilled every time. Thanks for any ideas!

      Comment


      • Nick
        Nick commented
        Editing a comment
        I've used a shallow take-a-way container and dug a local shallow pit for the container to sit in under the blue cap .

      • JayneHoy
        JayneHoy commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Micnac
        I hope you've found a solution.
        If not, definitely add more paper. I added about 1 container of paper per bin of fruit and veg and this seemed to help reduced leachate. Just read someone elses comment about ventilation and improving this also helped me. My bin is now on bricks with a plywood sheet below to give an even base. Much easier to collect the leachate. Before this, like Nick I upcycled a disposable plastic tray.
        Regards
        Jayne

    • #6
      Agree Micmac the leachate position makes it difficult to collect, I am considering raising bin up onto blocks to make it easier, similar to a water butt. This might make mixing material in the top trickier though.
      I have way too much liquid, and think there may be something in the rain getting in via the top vent - I live in a very rainy part of Scotland. I go to great trouble to avoid excess moisture in material and wipe condensation off inside lid frequently. Had three empties now and despite following all guidance religiously, still pretty unimpressed with results.

      Comment


      • JayneHoy
        JayneHoy commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Argyleandy
        I resorted to putting the Hotbin under cover having had 3 similar empties to you, which was really demoralising. Emptied it today and finally compost as advertised. I am claiming under the warranty as the side on mine has bowed, the base plate inside is deformed and it is not weatherproof at the front- that's where the water was coming in- not the top.

        As you have lots of condensation inside, see if you can improve the ventilation. There are several posts about removing the charcoal bag under the thermometer/ letting the leachate drain constantly/ making vertical holes through the compost with thin canes. That way the steam you are generating can escape more easily.

    • #7
      Argyleandy. I'm in Argyll and I get tons of leachate coming out mine I could fill the whole thing with cardboard and paper and still when I open the tap have brown stuff pouring out. I'm thinking of making a kind of shelter to go over mine to see if that helps but I'm also unimpressed, not managing to get compost anywhere near as regularly as anyone else who uses one and when I do its always sludgy and a bit rank when I empty it.

      Comment


      • #8
        Completely agree, sounds identical to my experience. Just today emptied my bin in order to move, spread contents and mixed with dry materials and started of fresh with twigs in base etc. Had a couple of downpours this morning, opened leachate tap and water poured out. These bins are not watertight.

        Comment


        • #9
          Check whether it has rained. After heavy rain I can get pints of lechlate the next day. Have asked Hotbin about this many times but no response.

          Comment


          • JayneHoy
            JayneHoy commented
            Editing a comment
            Keep trying. It is really demoralising when it all goes wrong even when you are doing everything by the book. There are some good tips on the forum in other articles.
            I found the water ingress was through the top of the hatch door at the front not through the vent in the lid. Reduced this with an extra cam belt and then a wooden truss under the belt. Eventually though I went under cover pointing the front away from the rain. Perfect compost today 3months later.

        • #10
          There's a group on Facebook called 'keep calm and make compost' I asked on there a while ago and someone suggested a more scientific explination about the drop in air pressure and temperature (or something similar) that happens when it rains and that could cause inside of the bin to produce more water rather than water getting in from outside.
          That would almost be worse though because there would probably be no way to fix that where I live anyway.
          I also contacted hotbin and got no reply.

          Comment


          • JayneHoy
            JayneHoy commented
            Editing a comment
            So does this mean you should increase ventilation and leave the leachate cap off in rainy conditions?

            Try excluding one thing at a time. Temporary rain cover over vent leaving airflow/ reducing lipping of front hatch door/ increasing ventilation/ leaving leachate open - then combine those that help the most until you find your solution. I don't think it's always about adjusting the mix, rather keeping water ingress to a minimum and optimising ventilation of the right mix.

        • #11
          Hi All,

          I had something similar, i was empying the leachate 3 times a day and getting full loads everytime, the bin smelt a bit pongy so i decided to leave the blue cap off and put a takeaway tub under the nozzle to catch anything that dripped out. Nothing dripped out and the internal temp went from 40 ish up to around 60 ish so my conclusion was that the grate at the bottom had become blocked and wasn't letting enough air in. Next time i empty the bin out i'll be sure to give everything inside a good clean.

          I too noticed the internal temp dropped to around 50 after rain last night, no more leachate coming out during the day but it looked like some had come out during the night (no idea how much though because the takeaway tub would also have collected rain). I didn't do anything to do it today and the temps look like they're recovering. I suspect rainwater is getting in through the vent at the top so i'll fashion something to cover it from the rain.

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