If you are thinking about installing a new downstairs toilet or an en-suite in a loft conversion, then you may wonder if your current plumbing is going to be able to handle the extra sewerage. You may find that you cannot get the correct fall for the waste pipe to the new installation or that the disruption to the rest of the house would be too great.
In this case a macerator can be a great way to install a toilet without having to do lots of expensive plumbing work. It may allow you to put in a toilet under your stairs or add an ensuite to a bedroom even when these areas are on the other side of the house to your waste pipe. It is also useful in situations where your waste is having to leave the house against gravity – for example from a basement.
A macerator is a small box which sits behind the toilet. It can be hidden behind a wall, although you will need to be able to access it. The basic concept of a macerator is that it uses rotating blades to chew up waste reducing it into small enough pieces for it to comfortably fit through your normal pipe work and will pump it away to prevent it sitting around causing unpleasant smells. It can be used to pump away water from your shower or sink as well.
The pump will force the waste to your soil stack to allow it to drain away in the same way your regular toilet does. Generally the pipe work can be hidden in the floor space and will not be intrusive.
A macerator will need to have an electrical supply for the blades and the pump. A qualified electrical installer will need to do this for you.
While a macerator is a great way to get around some tricky plumbing problems it does come with rules which must be adhered to and some drawbacks:
- Be careful about the waste which is disposed of down the toilet. Stick to just the “basics” and avoid flushing sanitary items.
- Do not place cages which hold deodorants into the toilet in case they fall into the pan.
- A macerator can be noisy and will continue to do its work for around 30 seconds after the flush.
- Some people have reported smells coming from the unit and blockages. Using a macerator as recommended should prevent this from happening.
A macerator can also be used to dispose of food waste via your kitchen sink, but generally this is not considered to be good practice. It uses up a lot of water and puts waste into the sewerage system which does not need to be there. This tends to cause more energy and resources to be used to clean the sewer water. Food waste should be composted.
In the case of toilet waste however, the sewer is where it is meant to be, so a macerator is definitely recommended.