Is my HOTBIN aeration mesh blocked?
Wednesday, 3 October 2012 | HOTBIN Composting
It is very rare for the mesh aeration plate to become fully blocked, what you may see is the mesh ‘gunk’ up with silt as the liquid fertiliser (leachate) collects/or drains (depending on HOTBIN model) behind the mesh.
Do not worry if the mesh plate looks rusty – it is a galvanised. It often looks a rusty colour as the brown leachate dries on the mesh. If in doubt – clean with bleach as above.
Below we advise on what to look out for with the aeration mesh on the different HOTBIN models.
HOTBIN Mk 1
With the HOTBIN Mk 1 model the liquid fertiliser drains out of the mesh plate so this will look at times like it is blocked but that is very rarely the case. If the top section of the mesh is visible, then there is no need to worry, the air will flow through. Normally there is about 5mm of wetness at the very bottom of the mesh and about 15mm of dry mesh above - creating a clear water line. The air flows in above the water line.
For the plate to become blocked, it would require a huge amount of silt to build up in the reservoir behind the mesh plate. The design of the base reservoir and mesh plate means any small pieces of slit sink to the bottom and water flows out the mesh plate above the this.
If you find the water line very close to the top (20-25mm) of the mesh, it may be fully gunked up and restricting airflow. To clean the mesh dab with a cloth/sponge with soapy water or you can brush this on. If this does not shift the gunk, then try a bit of bleach or vinegar, this will kill the bio film (removing the gunk) the liquid fertiliser will flow out and the air will be able to get into the HOTBIN again.
HOTBIN Mk 2 and HOTBIN Mini
The mesh on the HOTBIN Mk 2 and HOTBIN Mini is not as visible as it is recessed from the front of the HOTBIN and as the liquid fertiliser is now drained from the screw cap on the right-hand side of these HOTBIN models no liquid should be draining through the mesh to build up silt and cause an airflow blockage.
However, in the event that you do need to clean the mesh you can remove this from the HOTBIN, clean and replace. If you remove the hatch on these HOTBIN models you will see a small slit above where the mesh is, this is where the mesh slots into the HOTBIN.
To clean the mesh dab with a cloth/sponge with soapy water or you can brush this on. If this does not shift the gunk, then try a bit of bleach or vinegar, this will kill the bio film removing the gunk.
When removing/cleaning this mesh we advise wearing heavy duty gloves as the mesh does have some very sharp edges.
You can check out our video on how to clean the HOTBIN aeration mesh here.
Note: If the mesh plate is frequently fully blocked, please check your HOTBIN is level. When tipped forward, the water and silt will collect behind the grill not in the reservoir as required.