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Macerator problems

(18 Posts)
64BooLane Wed 14-Feb-18 13:57:54

We inherited a macerator toilet when we bought our house (sellers didn’t mention it and I was shock when we moved in and I researched/read all the old macerator threads on here). Would love to replace it with a real toilet but can’t afford to at the moment. Importantly, we are not sure where the switch is or how to turn it off because they didn’t leave us any info.

Anyway it’s been acting up today. It seemed to be blocked, and it started pumping away and slowly, horrifyingly filling up the bowl with a sort of foaming, churning thick soup of poo. Eventually it stopped then started again - thank God it didn’t overflow - and then finally, it seemed to clear itself and all the water drained away, leaving a tidemark of blended poo solids clinging to the otherwise empty bowl.

I am awaiting a callback from our plumber and also hoping to hear from the previous owners - I called the solicitors this morning to ask if they could pass on a message and request that they ring me to tell me where the bloody off switch is for the arsing thing.

Meanwhile, it smells horrid. Wondering if I can safely flush it just to try and clean it/get rid of odour? or would my only option for cleaning it be to get gloved up and bail out the poo gunge with my hands? I would only want to get rid of the stuff that’s high up the sides - obv I’d be wary of safety/setting the motor going again and getting hurt, or making a bigger mess.



rabbitrabbit12 Wed 14-Feb-18 14:03:13

You are probably using too much toilet paper they aren't good for lots of waste paper. Try flushing a few times to clear it.

SoTotallyOverThis Wed 14-Feb-18 14:07:30

Somebody more knowledgeable will be along soon I’m sure but I’d not recommend flushing. I’d clean out manually by wiping and putting in heavy duty bin bags. In my experience of macerators, once they begin to go they go..... so unless this is a one off which has blocked it your likely to find it’s gonna be a recurring problem until the sodding thing breaks. You do need the off switch cos if it’s makig lots of noise it sounds to me like the motor is going to burn out rendering it even more unusable than it is now.

I’m sure others have told you this but under no circumstances put anything like sanitary products, lots (or frankly even any) toilet paper in the toilet. It’ll totally break it. We had one for a while and I ended up banning anyone from pooing in it (we had two toilets) due to issues with it. In the end we got rid of it and replaced it by putting a bigger pipe in which connected to mains sewage waste. This was a happy day.

Good luck!

64BooLane Wed 14-Feb-18 14:14:08

Thanks both. I don’t think I will flush it. We never put anything “extra” down it at all; but small dd keeps pooing in it (and claiming not to have realised she needed a poo until it was too late hmm) and I suspect that’s the root of the problem. She has lavish paper habits.


SoTotallyOverThis Wed 14-Feb-18 15:24:10

Ah. My DS did this several times. I swear to goodness he must have used about a whole role which in his grubby 3 year old hands clumped together breaking the whole thing instead of nicely disintegrating. My dh said it was one of the worst jobs he ever did fixing it.

Maybe once you’ve removed the worst you could try another flush but it may just set the whole thing off again.

Honestly though you may find the cost of replacing a macerator (more than once) may be neutral compared to installing wider piping that connects to your mains sewage. We did ours when we had other building work on going.

LoniceraJaponica Wed 14-Feb-18 15:28:19

You need @PigletJohn

SoTotallyOverThis Wed 14-Feb-18 15:31:14

I can’t spell either. Sorry about that!

BrazzleDazzleDay Wed 14-Feb-18 15:36:26

I had never heard of macerator toilets before, have just googled, 64 you have my sympathy

64BooLane Wed 14-Feb-18 15:57:34

I appreciate the replies and the sympathy grin

Plumber is booked for Friday morning to clear/service it and meanwhile I have cautiously poured hot soapy water in from a bucket, and that seemed not to trigger a disaster. It also <boak> refreshed the grime around the upper slopes of the bowl, allowing me to wipe them so it at least looks pretty clean. Whatever the state of the water in the bottom, it’s masked by suds at present. With lid down and door shut there is no longer an odour.

(I’m posting all the grim detail mainly for the benefit of anyone else who may find this thread later in similar circs)

Deeply grateful it wasn’t worse but I think plumbing in a real toilet will be £££ because we’re in an upper flat and this loo is on the wrong side of the building so there are two equally awkward ways of doing proper plumbing in, and they both involve a lot of disruption and expense. I’m saving hard but it’ll be a while before we can get there! Might need to replace it with a newer model in the interim. I really, really hate this rickety old artefact - it is tough to make it flush properly at the best of times.

BorgQueenie Wed 14-Feb-18 16:25:34

Usually the off switch is on the wall at the base. People usually put these loos in because they only gave space for a 4 inch soil pipe.

So you may find you can't replace it anyway. In which case make sure nothing goes down it except human waste and loo paper. Even a wet wipe can clog it up.

Iiwy I'd get a specialist in, Google in your area. And stop dd using it.

If you are sensible they do work fine - they mash everything up so are fine if nothing else is put down them. Good luck!

BorgQueenie Wed 14-Feb-18 16:26:50

Just read your latest post, I bet you can't get a normal loo in that space

drspouse Wed 14-Feb-18 16:29:13

Basics toilet paper and a full bottle of basics bleach every now and then will help.
If it's even a bit blocked it needs clearing out and hopefully the plumber can show you how.

Grufeling Wed 14-Feb-18 16:41:53

Feel your pain, OP.

Have had two blockages - about £350 per time. Plumbers (understandably) don't like the work so can charge alot.

I'd try bleach OR Viakal (sp.) to unblock in future. You're not supposed to as it can corrode the mechanism but I often clean with bleach now as otherwise it smells

Monkeybunkey Thu 15-Feb-18 11:41:29

I used to have a macerator toilet and was advised not to use bleach as it can affect the rubber seals within the unit. I used macerator descaler down mine instead. In terms of the switch, there should be a power lead coming out of the unit which is fed into a fused spur (a bit like a cooker on/off switch) which will be your power supply to it. Be warned though, if you switch it off, it won't pump out if someone flushes it forgetting it's off!

64BooLane Thu 15-Feb-18 16:32:40

Yeah, we were strongly advised not to use bleach - I’ve been usingEcover but of course that doesn’t properly descale. I think the annual service is supposed to sort everything out and to be fair, it is past due (it fell due in late January). But I think the flush mechanism is busted anyway and the whole thing’s just a pain!

I don’t know what we’ll be charged tomorrow - I hope it isn’t £350, Grufeling! Pretty sure it’s not technically blocked any more but it does need a good clear out.

InTheRoseGarden Thu 15-Feb-18 17:12:35

I'm just about to have one installed (loft conversion with no chance of plumbing in a proper loo). I read that regular descaling is really important for avoiding blockages and stink. I've already bought a very large bottle of Saniflo descaler...

Toothfairee Thu 15-Feb-18 19:03:49

Its enough to put me off having one installed.

PissedOffNeighbour Thu 15-Feb-18 19:55:27

We had one put in under our stairs about 18 years ago. To be honest it’s mainly been fine. We had to have a new motor about 3 years ago but think that was only the second or third time we needed anyone to look at it. We are very careful about what we put down it though.

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