At the end of last year I found that my Hotbin was not working as well as before - it seemed to have stopped getting up to the 60 C zone despite my feeding it with compostables as before. I dug out the bottom compost and refilled it but it just did not seem to be working as well and would not go above 40 C any more.
I chatted to Tony Callaghan at HotBin and he suggested my Hotbin may have "stalled" - an unusual situation only experienced in bins which had been working correctly but had then stopped getting up to 60 C.
He suggested I join in a trial he was running to check out a "fix" for this very unusual situation. I was keen and so was sent a part which needed to be retrofitted to the HotBin. To do this I needed to empty out the Hotbin.
It is quite easy to put the HotBin on its side.
Lots of compost in the bottom. Compostman dug it out for me and
I put it into buckets, waiting to be used for tomato plants.
We took out the base plate and when we looked at it, as expected the holes were clogged up and not letting water drain out or air to move up.
The holes were plugged with a very gooey sludge like material which sat there and did not drip off.
The base was very wet and the air mesh was blocked. This bin had definately stalled!
I gave the HotBin a good wash out
The "fix" is a length of perforated pipe, inserted through the Base plate and which sits in the corner of the Hotbin allowing more airflow through the material. Compostman made the hole and inserted the pipe.
HotBin put back togather and refilled with some compost, grass, paper and guinea pig bedding and droppings. Ambient temp was 16 C, HotBin thermometer within a hour of refill read 30C.
I also took the opportunity to have a tidy up behind the lean to and sort out the cold frames and potting area.
I will update on how well the HotBin is working later in the week but it is all looking very promising so far.