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  • I need a Hotbin champion

    Hello fellow Hotbinners. Is there a successful/experienced Hotbinner in the York area who could give me some help? I set up my Hotbin in May, got it running fine, went on holiday after 3 weeks and cannot get it to work as it should since then. I've emptied out the bottom twice, remixed, added (after which I had a few days success before it cooled again), taken advice from the helpful Hotbin advisors... but I'm still hovering below 40c. I am at a loss to work out what I'm doing wrong, though clearly I am. Would someone local be willing to visit me, look at what I've got, and make suggestions? I'm desperate to get it running properly before the cold weather sets in. Many thanks.

  • #2
    Have you used the hot water bottle as instructed. I have found it really helps. Also adding pelleted chicken manure helps. Caleb

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    • #3
      Thanks Caleb. Have done the hot water bottle, several times but will give it another go. Sorry, sourcing pelleted chicken poo is a bridge too far, given all the other bits I've had to acquire to make it work: bulking agent, making shredded paper small enough to mix in, happy hours spent ripping up corrugated cardboard into small enough pieces... lucky I'm retired and feel I have the time, tho' I may be reaching the end of that particular mood!

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      • Annemiek van Moorst
        Editing a comment
        Hope you are able to restart. I am struggling myself with an bin that went anaerobic. Spent also hours ripping up paper. Do you keep on putting fresh kitchen waste on it? Maybe add some more wood chips or bulking agent could help? Or maybe you have to empty everything and start completely anew. Putting a lot aside in some container or in your garden and gradually building up again using fresh kitchen waste in between. If you have a compost heap you could add some for inocculation.

      • Dawnie4101
        Dawnie4101 commented
        Editing a comment
        Chicken poo pellets can be bought at Wilkinson's but they may be seasonal.... look in the fertiliser section.

    • #4
      I find chicken manure helps to get the bin started again. Poor them in close the lid and leave it a couple of days

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      • #5
        My filter bag under the panel in the lid blocked the air flow as it had got old. It is easy to check if this is your problem. Remove the filter bag. Leave overnight. See if the temperature improves. If it does, you can ask the hotbin people about a replacement.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Carmie View Post
          My filter bag under the panel in the lid blocked the air flow as it had got old. It is easy to check if this is your problem. Remove the filter bag. Leave overnight. See if the temperature improves. If it does, you can ask the hotbin people about a replacement.
          I have completely dispensed with the filter bag. Never got the bin to temp for long enough and when I did I had wet soggy mess. Main tip is to regularly feed it every week or so with good load to keep 'topping up' the temperature. Bag is unable to contain the volume of moisture that comes out (even after being oven-dried) so the bin contents get soggy and the steam just condenses back into the compost.

          Once I removed the bag I had no difficulty getting and keeping temperature. No smells, either (but it's far enough from house that I wouldn't care anyway). Did have a few tooth marks on the 'valve' - a curious field-mouse, probably. Now I put a 4 inch terracotta flower pot inverted over the valve - it has one small hole in the bae that let's steam out, and without the bag it does come out! Wedged a brick against the flowerpot to ensure no rodent could move it. All working well now and that bag is unlikely to ever go back in.

          Comment


          • EnlightenedElm
            EnlightenedElm commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Christopher Whitmey,

            Thank you for your reply.

            Please be assured that we very much appreciate your own experiences and feedback, however this is not something which we, the HOTBIN manufacturer and technical support team recommend users do for the reasons outlined throughout these earlier threads.

            HOTBIN users are are of course welcome to do as they wish, however, if they do experience any problems with the operation of their HOTBIN or if their unit sustains any animal damage (which is it significantly more likely to having removed the bio-filter), the HOTBIN Team can do very little to assist. Please be assured that every component part of the HOTBIN unit has been included in the HOTBIN's design for a specific reason and is not designed to be removed by the customer during use unless expressly advised to do so by the HOTBIN Team.

            We hope that you can understand our stance point and why we make these recommendations to our customers. We do however wish you success with your HOTBIN unit.

        • #7
          Hi George571,

          HOTBIN Composting strongly advises that the bio-filters are not removed from the HOTBIN units for any reason. They are an integrated part within the lid and are not designed to be removed by the customer unless expressly recommended to do so following discussion with a member of the HOTBIN Team.

          The bio-filters play a vital role in the hot composting process, neutralising odours that are produced before they leave the unit. Their integration helps to minimise the unit's attraction to animals in the garden by removing any detectable odours, making the HOTBIN less likely to sustain animal damage.Unfortunately once removed, the manufacturing guarantee on the unit's becomes void.

          The bio-filter will always be very wet as water vapour will continuously pass through it, so it does not need to be removed to dry out at any point. Furthermore, the bio-filters do not require any maintenance or cleaning. For the vast majority of customers, they will not need to be replaced either.

          If you were experiencing difficulties with your HOTBIN getting up to temperature, it may have been that you received a HOTBIN with a bio-filter containing a little bit of sediment (please be assured that this is quite rare) which was hindering the unit from reaching the higher temperatures. Consequently, we would be happy to replace this for you. Should this be of interest, please contact us directly and we can arrange for a replacement to be dispatched to you.

          Comment


          • #8
            EnlightenedElm
            (First response to your replies today. Please read in order.)

            I am certain I read somewhere, some time ago, in Hotbin's material (though it may have been on this forum, so may not have been you guys, but I do not recall any warning like the one you are givign now) that the bag could be removed to be dried out in a low oven. I do not have any bin odour issues (I do not compost meat/dairy, other food, only raw veg matter), and as you have read, I have solved any minor animal issue. Water did NOT continuously pass through, it simply dripped back into the bin or never got as far as the bag because it was too sodden to take more moisture.

            I did remove it and dry it, and replace it, and that improved the next batch somewhat but soon enough it was sodden again. So it came out for good and ever since I have had great success.

            Please help me understand specifically how the removal of odours is "vital ... in the composting process".

            One thing I will ask... When the instructions say to open the 'valve' (I forget what you call it and do not have the manual to hand) by a defined number of millimetres (let's say 2mm for the purposes of this chat - again I do not have the manual to hand), what does that actually mean? it is ambiguous. The valve thingy is maybe the best part of an inch thick. so do I rotate it so that the top is 2mm above the level of the lid or so that the bottom is 2mm above the level of the lid? The difference in aperture thus available for water vapour to vent is very significant, depending on which it is.

            I'll be in touch directly in due course, to see about a replacement bag, and may install one if you can convince me it may be different to the possibly faulty one I was shipped. But for now I have a very effective working system and see no reason to disrupt it. Maybe we need to talk about this further when I get in touch.

            Thanks,
            George

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by george57l View Post
              I am certain I read somewhere, some time ago, in Hotbin's material (though it may have been on this forum, so may not have been you guys, but I do not recall any warning like the one you are givign now) that the bag could be removed to be dried out in a low oven. I do not have any bin odour issues (I do not compost meat/dairy, other food, only raw veg matter), and as you have read, I have solved any minor animal issue. Water did NOT continuously pass through, it simply dripped back into the bin or never got as far as the bag because it was too sodden to take more moisture.
              George,
              You might have seen my post 01-13-2016. Kitchen scraps, including chicken bones, go into ours and no problems with smells or other nasties.

              I went to remove my filter-bag and found the slots below the filter-bag were all blocked with a crystalline deposit. In fact the filter-bag was 'glued' to the base of the biofilter unit.
              Hotbin user since April 2012

              Comment


              • #10
                Christopher
                I did see that, thanks, but much more recently. I've had a hotbin for 3 or 4 years now and I'm sure I read it longer ago than your post.
                It was a specific comment about drying it out in a low oven, IIRC.
                Cheers,
                George
                PS Still not sure how avoiding odours is an integral part of the composting process. Whereas removing excess moisture, certainly is, in a Hotbin. You could have a sauna in mine if you were small enough (though you'd come out a bit grubbier). ;-)

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