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Am I Composting at the Right Temperature (Celsius or Fahrenheit)?

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  • #16
    Hi davidmwoods, I have to say I'm very envious of your success. I have used the hot water bottle a number of times with limited success. I was constantly having to reuse the bottle on a daily basis to maintain any sort of decent temperature. I purchased the Hotbin thinking it would be a low maintenance waste guzzling machine which would be simple to get going if you followed the correct setup and added material at the recommended ratios. How wrong I was. It seems those of us who are achieving the best results have found there own methods and not using the recommended ratios at all. It would appear you're doing everything right to achieve such temperatures. I've never added water to the Hotbin, there always appears to be enough moisture. Think I'm more concerned with airflow and the valve setting.

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    • #17
      My hotbin is in the shade - however I regularly get 70C and it stays hot for a very long time - I feed it often with kitchen waste, shredded paper, garden waste and grass clipping which are best.
      I try to make sure there is a good mix of green and browns and I fork it over every so often - this is useful as some times it goes dry it is so hot so I can see if I need to add water as well. I have a low wall next to the bin which allows me to stand over it and use a fork.
      At these high temperatures I am getting good compost every 10 weeks or so - dark sticky and full of worms at the bottom. Though I think it would benefit curing in a dalek for a few months.
      When I first started using it I was not getting these high temperatures - I guess it has been a bit of trial and error.
      However I have found seeds often survive at these temperatures or they bypass them. I have a large number of unexpected tomato and squash plants in the garden this year.

      PS I would buy a second one - but they are very expensive.

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      • #18
        Since emptying my hot bin - within two days I was up to 40 after a week i was at 70 and it has stayed at 70 degrees for a couple of weeks now. I'm finding that if I fully mix everything in a small bin or bucket that is left next to the bin before emptying it in to the hot bin ready mixed. It works much betterm. Also when you empty the hot bin mix a little bit of the new compost back in to the bin that s seems to do well.

        P.s I would also buy a second one if they don't cost so much and if I had the space. I think there brilliant. I love my hot bin
        Last edited by Andrew Ridsdale; 09-25-2015, 08:24 PM.

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        • #19
          Hello,

          I have been using a Hotbin for 8 months, and the temperature (inside) has never reached 40C. I opened the bottom door this summer, hoping to harvest some nice compost, but I was very disappointed to see still raw waste at the bottom of the bin. I took some photos and asked the HOTBIN for advice. They suggested I empty the bin and restart it. I did so, I would say, very methodically, particularly paying close attention to the air flow. Well, that was last July and the bin's temperature never went over 30C again. These days I put the kick starter every other day and do see the thermometer showing 30C, but without it, it goes down to 20 or even 10. So, Bullshyre, I am joining your club. I am sure I am not doing something right, but if a meticulous guy like myself cannot figure out the correct way, I have to wonder if this is worth my time.

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        • #20
          Update!!....Success!!....So here's what worked for me and completely by accident. I decided to give up with the HotBin after 2 years of struggling and failing to reach the recommended temperatures despite meticulously following all advice and guidance. The HotBin had been left for weeks with no attention and one evening I decided to remove the carbon filter for cleaning, whilst there I added some fresh waste and left the filter out to dry. I then returned the next day to replace the filter, to my surprise the HotBin was now raging at 60-65C. I contacted HotBin and explained the situation. HotBin sent me a new filter and internal thermometer and requested I send the old filter to them for testing. I left the HotBin for a few days and continued to be more than impressed at how hot the bin had become. I then fitted the new filter and watched as the temperature slowly decreased over a number of days down to 35c despite adding waste and following all the previous advice. I then decided to remove the carbon filter and within a matter of hours the HotBin was raging again. I have tried every valve setting possible with the carbon filter fitted but only achieve the best temperatures without. My advice is to try without the carbon filter. Once the HotBin is up to temperature any odour present is negligible. I hope this helps some of the more frustrated owners of the HotBin..... Give it a go!!
          Last edited by Bullshyre; 01-11-2016, 10:04 PM.

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          • #21
            Thanks Bullshyre, I'll try that. When I commented above (12-01-2015) about lid v internal thermometers I meant to add two pictures I'd taken. The white marker on the internal one is a plastic plant label with a hole in it that is slid up the probe. This is set at 50oC and with steam and wet makes for a quick read.
            Hotbin user since April 2012

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            • Bullshyre
              Bullshyre commented
              Editing a comment
              My internal temperature was only ever between 20-30C and only reached 40C with the hot water bottle in place. Since removing the filter my HotBin at times reaches 65-70C which can be too hot......Never thought I'd say that considering all the issues I've had to date😁.

            • Christopher Whitmey
              Christopher Whitmey commented
              Editing a comment
              Mmmm... I wonder why only 20-30C. I'll let you know how I get on without the filter.

              05-31-2016 Belated update ! Temperature now where it should be. Also much less leachate - virtually nil. No noticeable smell - other than compost.
              Last edited by Christopher Whitmey; 05-31-2016, 10:57 AM.

          • #22
            Results with no carbon filter fitted so far............

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            • #23
              This is very interesting. My hotbin is currently running at about 20C and I thought I might have a look at the filter, but I can't see any way of getting it out. Can you tell me (in easy steps for someone who is a DIY disaster area) how to get it out without breaking the hotbin lid?

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              • Bullshyre
                Bullshyre commented
                Editing a comment
                It really is very easy, the filter is designed to be removed. Have a look at this link: https://youtu.be/nxX1lMoKqxI.
                As you will already have your filter fitted just remember to remove the lid thermometer first. Everything after that is as per the video. Hope it helps.

                Update: Unfortunately the link to the video now fails. It would appear the video has been removed by the original owner.
                Last edited by Bullshyre; 05-31-2016, 02:11 PM. Reason: Video Link Failure

            • #24
              Thanks, that's great - I will give it a go.

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              • #25
                I've been getting nowhere since this Christmas present arrived. Seldom got to 30 C. Took out the filter day before yesterday and it immediately rocketed to 65 C. Terrified it will drag the dog in and eat her.

                So what can go wrong? It will start to smell back (only niffy when lid opened at the moment) and neighbours will complain? It will attract rats? We don't put food in - the chickens eat leftovers - just greenery form the kitchen plus a few bits of grass clippings.

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                • Christopher Whitmey
                  Christopher Whitmey commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The other benefit I've found by taking the filter out is far less leachate. I've not found any smells arise. Mine is in a 8x6 greenhouse and would notice! Also above Bullshyre said,
                  Once the HotBin is up to temperature any odour present is negligible.
                  As to rats mine is on a concrete paving slab base in the greenhouse. We put all kitchen waste in including bones. These don't disintergrate: just come out very clean!
                  Last edited by Christopher Whitmey; 05-31-2016, 11:01 AM.

              • #26
                Apparently I've been using the wrong gauge and every time my bin was nearly reaching 40c, I've taken steps to reduce it because I was reading the outer one which was over 90. And yet, it was smoking this morning at less than 40c. I've only used the internal thermometer once and it gave the same reading as external one. It was over 90F but that means less than 40c and yet the glass steamed up.

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