Macerating Toilet Pros and Cons and How They Work

Unlike normal gravity toilets, upflush toilets use pressure to push the wastes in a chosen direction be it upwards, downwards or horizontally. This means that you can basically install it anywhere including the basement. Also called macerating toilets, upflush toilets have many advantages and disadvantages which are important in deciding whether you need them or not. 

The advantages of upflush toilets include flexibility, cost-effectiveness, durability, portability, ease of maintenance, compatibility with other sanitary ware, economical with space, and increase of the home value. However, they’re costly, noisy, rely on electricity, and get clogged easily.

If you’re considering an upflush toilet, the Saniflo 023 Sanicompact Self-Contained Toilet is the best choice. It uses 1 gallon of water per flush and can be connected to a sink right away. It pumps wastes 9 feet vertically and 100 feet horizontally.

Macerating Toilet Pros and Cons and How They Work

What are macerating or upflush toilets?

Upflush  toilets look like normal toilets but are equipped with a pump which forces the wastes to a direction of your choosing. As such, they don’t rely on gravity to work and can even be installed in basements and other areas where they’re below the sewage pipes. They’re also called macerating toilets since they soften the wastes by dissolving them in water before flushing them away. 

SaniFlo produces three main types of upflush toilets namely:

  1. Upflush toilets: These toilets pump their wastes upwards rather than downwards. 
  2. Macerating toilets: These toilets grind the waste then mix it with water before flushing it. 
  3. Rear discharge toilets: These toilets discharge their wastes backwards rather than downwards.

One type of toilet can have more than one trait such as macerating toilets being upflush toilets. 

Macerating toilets pros and cons

The main pros and cons for upflush or macerating toilets are as follows:

Upflush toilet prosUpflush toilet cons
FlexibleCostly to buy and fix 
Cost effective Noisy 
DurableRely on electricity 
Portable Most homes don’t benefit from them
Compatible with other sanitary wareGet clogged often
Easy to maintain Need to be flushed daily
Increase the value of the homeMay smell if not cleaned well
Save on space May not be allowed by local building codes 
Have long warranties 

Upflush toilets pros

The advantages of using upflush toilets include the following:

Flexible

Macerating toilets can be installed just about anywhere in the home no matter the location of the sewer lines. Since they use a pump to send the wastes to the sewer, you can even install them below the sewer line such as in the basement. You can even install them far from the sewer line such as in the attic.

Cost effective

Upflush toilets save money by eliminating the need to dig the walls and the floor, and using less water than conventional toilets. Since you don’t need to access the sewer pipes from wherever you choose to install the toilet, there is no need to break down the wall and the floor which saves a lot as these are jobs take time and are done by professionals. 

Secondly, upflush toilets are more water efficient than conventional toilets. An upflush toilet will use an average of 1.28 gallons per flush while a conventional one will use about 1.6 gallons per flush. The dual flush models use as little as 1 gallon of water per flush. With more users in the home, your water savings will be much higher (at least 70% water savings). Upflush toilets as even certified by the EPA’s WaterSense to be efficient with water usage. 

Durable

Upflush toilets are built to last as long as the standard toilets which is at least a decade (10 years). With proper care, they can last way more than a decade. High-quality brands such as Liberty Pumps and SaniFlo make macerating toilets that last for very long. When checking out SaniFlo reviews, focus on the quality of materials for the best user experience. 

Portable

Macerating toilets aren’t built into the wall and floor like standard toilets and can thus be moved around when the need arises. However, they’re still bolted to the wall or floor for stability although they’re not dug into the surfaces like conventional toilets. 

As such, if you need create a makeshift toilet for a new part of the house or simply want an extra toilet in the home during a certain period, upflush toilets should be your main priority. 

Compatible with other sanitary ware

You can connect compatible sinks, showers and other sanitary ware to the macerating toilet to use the same drainage system. This saves on installation costs and enables you quickly set up a new bathroom in your chosen location without having to break down walls and dig up floors. 

Easy to maintain

Throughout their lifespan, upflush toilets require very little maintenance since they’re easy to clean and come sealed and ready to use. Their designs help prevent staining ensuring that your toilet remains clean throughout its use.

Increase the value of the home

Upflush toilets improve the value of your home by at least 20% while needing very little in terms of construction when compared to standard bathrooms. On average, conventional bathrooms cost about $50000 to complete. With upflush toilets, you can spend much less on the toilet, sink and shower and other fixtures.

Save on space

Upflush toilets are tankless and smaller in size than standard toilets. For this reason, you can install them in smaller spaces than you would install the conventional toilets. This also allows them to be used as makeshift toilets and as a part of a smaller bathroom far easier than if you were to install conventional toilets. 

Have long warranties

Most upflush toilets come with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty which gives you the peace of mind of knowing any issues will be sorted out by the manufacturer if they arise. Warranties are a vote of confidence from the manufacturer and the longer they are the better the product. Different manufacturers may give different warranties however. 

Upflush toilet cons

The main macerating toilet problems are as follows:

Costly to buy and fix

Macerating toilets have high initial costs since they cost almost twice as much as standard alternatives. Standard gravity toilets cost about $600 while macerating toilets cost about $1,000 on average. Upflush toilets at Home Depot and other outlets vary widely in cost and quality. However, the running costs such as water and electricity are quite low. 

Keep in mind that they have lots of moving parts which increase the points of failure. Given that they have rubber parts in them, cleaning with harsh chemicals can also damage them hence the need to be extra careful in maintaining them. 

Noisy

Most upflush toilets have a macerator that generates noise when it churns the wastes ready for flushing. This process is quite noisy in relation to what happens in normal gravity toilets with a single step of flushing the wastes down the drain. You can, however, reduce the amount of noise through insulation of the macerating pumps. 

Reliant on electricity

Since upflush toilets rely on electricity, power cuts will affect them since they become unusable when there’s no power. If you live in an area with frequent power outages or don’t have power in the home, using upflush toilets won’t be a good experience. You can opt for battery-powered ones instead. 

Most homes don’t benefit from them

Most homes are already built with sewage systems hence the addition of a toilet that doesn’t rely on the drainage system from the home won’t be very beneficial. The only benefit will be that you won’t need to dig up the walls and floor when adding this toilet. 

Get clogged more often

Macerating toilets are more likely to be clogged than standard toilets given their design and mode of working. If the waste isn’t macerated correctly, it’ll increase the chances of clogging. Also, toilet paper that isn’t septic safe causes clogs much easily in upflush toilets than in the conventional ones. 

The problem is that unclogging macerating toilets isn’t as easy as it is for standard toilets. While you can simply use dish soap to unclog standard toilets, macerating ones require special procedures and the input of an expert in most cases. As such, you need to be careful with what you flush down the upflush toilet. 

Need to be flushed daily

Upflush toilets have tanks which can lose their prime if they’re not flushed often enough. As such, you need to flush it at least once every few days with the best practice being a daily flush. If you’re leaving the house for a while, you will need to prime the toilet 5 times to restore the prime in the tank. 

May smell is not cleaned well

Given that the wastes in upflush toilets go through various parts, it’s easy for them to cake on the sides of the system and give off a bad smell. For this reason, you need to regularly descale the toilet system to keep it free of bad smells. You also need to properly vent the toilet for the best results. 

May not be allowed by local building codes

Some upflush toilets may not be allowed by the local building codes hence the need to check with the local authorities before installing one in your home. Always check with the offices rather than with the plumber who may not be updated on the latest changes in the building codes. 

The pros and cons of up flush toilets determine how practical the toilets are for most homes. Generally, they’re better than standard toilets given that they cost less to run and require less in terms of installation. Most importantly, their levels of flexibility can’t be matched by conventional toilets as they can also be used in RVs. 

How do macerating toilets work?

Macerating toilets work through various components to flush the wastes which are the toilet, the macerator, and the extension pipe. They work as follows:

  1. Once you flush the toilet, the waste leaves the toilet bowl and goes into the macerator. 
  2. The macerator is activated by the micro switch once you flush it. It then grinds the waste into a smooth slurry while turning at 3600 RPM (revolutions per minute). 
  3. The macerator rotates thus creating centrifugal force which then pushes the waste outwards into a container. 
  4. The waste is then pumped out by the toilet pump.
  5. Once there is no more waste in the container, the micro switch in the toilet stops the macerator in readiness for the next use. 
  6. The waste is then sent to the sewer through the pipes. While it differs as per the model, most upflush toilets manage to send the waste at least 150 feet (50m) horizontally and 15 feet (5m) vertically. Some send the wastes over longer distances. 

The macerator and pump rely on electricity and will thus need you to have a reliable source of power to work. There’s some noise produced in the process. 

As with all types of drainage systems, have slope in the pipes of at least ¼ inch per foot for the water and wastes to flow naturally. Always ensure that you have a P-trap on the fixtures be they toilets, sinks or showers.

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