Adding an additional bathroom or even a toilet can be a great benefit in many homes. Unfortunately most homeowners are faced with location problems that may seem difficult to overcome. Getting water to fixtures is not all that difficult, especially with the use of PEX plumbing. The problem comes from determining the best way to get the water and waste back out of the new bath area.
Plumbing waste lines are hardly ever located where they are convenient to access. Homeowners that want to add a bathroom or any other fixtures in a basement do not seem to have many options. Sewer lines will be below the concrete flooring and while the main drain line is accessible the options are limited. Waste needs to flow downwards.
A homeowner can have the concrete flooring torn up to run new sewer lines to the fixtures but the procedure is costly and messy. The second option is creating a false floor to raise the fixture high enough so that waste can be routed underneath to the sewer lines. Unfortunately most homeowners will find that raising the flooring enough to accomplish this will result in a too low ceiling. The sewer lines under the flooring will also need to be run continuously to the main sewer line resulting in little choice of location.
An up-flush or macerating plumbing system is a cost effective solution for adding a single toilet or complete bathroom in an otherwise difficult location. This type of pumping system eliminates the need for adding new lines under existing concrete or raising the flooring.
A variety of macerating systems are available. Some are designed to be used directly behind a toilet while others can be hidden behind walls or inside cabinets. Most models will accommodate a toilet connection along with a sink and bathtub or shower feature. The power of the units vary from 12 to 15 feet of vertical pumping ability and from 80 to 150 feet of horizontal ability. Commercial grade models are also available.
The pumps have a fairly simple system of operation. When the toilet is flushed, or water runs from a sink or tub, the water level inside the pump rises. The rise in water activates a switch that starts the macerating blades. The blades turn at a high revolution rate turning waste into liquid. Most systems run for 3 to 5 seconds and are very quiet. The pumping action begins when maceration is completed and once the system empties the power shuts back off.
Up-flush systems run on 110 – 120 Volts so major electrical modifications are not required. Various sizes of pipe can be used but all systems must be connected to an open air vent. Up-flush pumping systems are also available without macerators for gray water use only. These pumps are much less expensive than the complete models and can be easily added to accommodate a basement wet bar or washing machine. The only noted drawback is that harsh toilet cleaners or drain openers should not be used as the rubber components can be damaged by the chemicals.