FAQs & Tips
Thinking about purchasing your own AeromatiCo fully automatic liquid composter but have questions?
Check out our FAQ below.
Already have an AeromatiCo and experiencing an issue?
We’ve got tips below to help you make the most of your composting experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you put into the composter?
For best results, you should stick to plant-based food waste. Some items break down faster than others. For example, lettuces and tender peels will disappear much faster than chunks of fibrous waste. Avocado seeds and stone fruit pits will take longer to decompose, but can be added. Avoid especially hard items such as wooden skewers, corn husks, and the outer portion of coconuts. Egg shells, vegetable & fruit peels, cores, seeds, and grains (such as rice or bread) break down easily.
Do I need to add anything?
No additives are required. Just add your plant-based food waste. Also, as you use the liquid compost, top off the composter with water to maintain the water level at about 2 inches below the bottom of the funnel. Some gardeners choose to add supplements to the liquid compost if they are certain their garden is missing certain nutrients. Popular supplements include fish emulsion, powdered seaweed, and molasses, but these are not necessary.
What is in the liquid compost?
Every barrel of compost liquid will be different depending on the types of food waste that you are adding. We have had the liquid compost tested by Texas A & M and found it to include many of the nutrients plants need to grow. Motzz Laboratory in Phoenix, AZ conducted humic and fulvic acid tests and found that the compost liquid contained 2.5% humic acids and 1% fulvic acids which are extremely beneficial to plant health. The compost liquid is unlikely to burn your plants even when used without dilution. This is because most of the nitrogen is locked up in the microorganisms themselves. As the microbes consume the organic matter or their fellow microbes, they excrete nitrogen in a form that plants can use directly. In this manner nitrogen and other nutrients are release slowly and steadily for plants creating a living soil that is governed by the soil food web.
What do I do if it starts to smell?
First, determine if the air is circulating and pump is working properly. If you notice an odor it indicates either a) there is not enough oxygen or b) you have overloaded the bin. Once you have confirmed that the pump is working properly, stop adding food waste for a few days. Do not unplug the unit. It is important to keep the air circulating and allow time for the microbes to decompose the current waste. Once the odor subsides, you may begin adding waste to the bin again. For best results, limit the amount of waste to one half gallon of plant based food scraps per day.
What happens in a power outage?
If the power is out for a short time, the bin will be fine. Do not add any food waste to the bin while the pump is not running. When the power returns you may notice a slight odor. The odor will subside as the composter continues to run. You can resume adding food waste to the bin when the odor has completed subsided. In the event that power will be disconnected for the unit for more than a few days, empty the bin. To do so, simply drain the liquid out using the spigot. There will still be liquid and waste in the bottom of the bin. Remove the lid and the pump. Tilt the barrel and empty via the top opening.
Where should I put my unit?
The best part of the AeromatiCo is the ability to put it in close proximity to where you generate your food waste. It’s best in a covered area close to a water source and electrical outlet. It performs well in a garage, on a patio, back porch, or below an overhang somewhere just outside your home. For those living in a colder climates, you may even consider keeping it in a basement. The liquid composter works optimally in moderate weather. Avoid excessive exposure to direct sun that can increase the temperature of the water beyond the ability for the aerobic micro organisms to survive. We keep ours in our garage and run it all year long. We live in Houston, TX and have extremely hot summers, but mild winters.
Is there any routine maintenance to perform?
The air pump needs periodic maintenance. The Hakko, 60L air pump is industrial grade and is built to last for many years. The pump diaphragm lasts up to 3 years. We recommend replacing the diaphragm with a rebuild kit every 2 years. The diaphragms will last longer if the pump air filter is cleaned every 3 months. The air filter is reusable. Just screw the top off of the pump, remove the filter, wash it will mild soap, dry it, and reinstall.
When can I use the liquid compost in my garden?
The liquid compost can be used anytime. We fill our watering can directly from the spigot. We pour the liquid compost directly on the soil in our gardens and potted plants without worrying about watering it down in any way.
Remember when you are first starting out, it takes time for the microbes to populate the composter. We recommend waiting one month from when you first start adding food waste to the composter before using the compost. Also, if the composter has an odor, do not use the liquid compost. Stop adding additional food waste until the odor subsides. Then, you can resume using the compost in your gardens.
What is the Warranty on the AeromatiCo?
The AeromatiCo is guaranteed against manufacturing defects, and the air pump includes a 1 year warranty. The Hakko, 60L pump is industrial grade and is built to last for many years. The pump diaphragm lasts up to 3 years. We recommend replacing the diaphragm with a rebuild kit every 2 years. The diaphragms will last longer if the pump air filter is cleaned every 3 months. The filter is reusable. Just screw the top off of the pump, remove the filter, wash it will mild soap, dry it, and reinstall.
Helpful Tips + Troubleshooting
Air pump isn’t working
- Ensure the air pump is plugged in
- Ensure the electrical outlet has power and the circuit breaker has not tripped
- If electrical power is present, but the air pump does not run, the air pump needs to be repaired or replaced. Usually, replacing the diaphragms in the air pump will solve the problem. We have found that the air pump diaphragms last up to 3 years and recommend replacing them every 2 years.
Air pump runs but does not generate bubbles
- Check the air pump elbow and tubing connections for leaks.
- If the connections are fine, the air pump will need to be rebuilt with a diaphragm repair kit. We have found that the pump diaphragm last up to 3 years and recommend they be replaced every 2 years.
Spigot leaks from the threads
- Un-screw the spigot.
- Replace the teflon tape.
- Re-install the spigot.
- Be careful to not over tighten the spigot. It could strip the connection.
Spigot leaks from the spout
- If compost debris is caught within the ball valve of the spigot it may cause a the spigot to leak from the spout. If a leak occurs, the debris can be fished out with the end of a coat hanger. Open the spigot fully and fish out any compost debris while the compost liquid is flowing from the spigot.
Compost smells bad
- Stop adding new waste material into the composter. The most probable cause of odor is overloading the composter with too much food waste. As the microbes catch up with the amount of food waste, the odors will subside. When this happens, you can begin adding food waste again.
- Ensure pump is functioning properly with air bubbling through the composter. If you do not see air bubbles, the air pump is not functioning properly. See section “Air pump isn’t working”
Compost is frozen
- The composter should not be used in temperatures below freezing. Although freezing temperatures will not harm the composter, it is too cold from the microbes to break down food waste. In climates where temperatures fall below freezing, its is best to place the composter indoors. A garage is a good place to run the composter all year long. This is where we run ours.
Compost is too thick
- If you do not use your liquid compost in your garden, it will build up in the composter and become thicker. The liquid compost, thick or thin, is great for you garden. Use it liberally to drench the soil beneath your plants. Add water to the composter keep the liquid level 2 inches below the funnel. Every time you add water to the composter, the liquid compost will become thinner.
The composter leaks
- First, determine where the composter is leaking. Most likely, the composter is leaking at the spigot or from the screw holes that secure the air hose brackets.
- If the the spigot is leaking, ensure the rubber gasket between the bulkhead fitting and barrel is in place and not broken. If the leak is found between the bulkhead fitting and the spigot, the spigot will need to be removed, and new Teflon tape will need to be applied to the spigot threads. If the gasket or spigot threads are not at fault, the bulkhead fitting might be cracked. Please, contact us if you need a replacement gasket or bulkhead fitting.
- If the composter is leaking at the air tube bracket tubes, tighten the screws. You must hold backup on the inside nuts (10 mm close ended wrench) to tighten the screws.