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Any good news stories about Saniflo or other macerating toilets?

28 replies

LoftyLou · 16/03/2018 22:22

I would appreciate hearing about any experiences of “macerating toilets”.

We are in the middle of a loft conversion, and have just been told that it will be very difficult to fit a standard soil pipe to the en suite, and the best option is a macerating toilet.

I have read some awful stories about these, interspersed with a few good reviews, but I haven’t seen many reviews dated in the past couple of years.

I am hoping maybe there has been a breakthrough... Are the most modern, top-of-the range models perhaps quieter or more reliable / less smelly than older models?

I would really welcome hearing about good (as well as bad) recent experiences. Thanks.

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MasterBuilderDad · 16/03/2018 22:35

Awful things.
Usually find them in Kensington flats as soil stacks are not accessible.
Are you sure they used the word difficult?
Its not an excuse not to do it, but perhaps the cost to you would be difficult?
Find out where the stack is, start at your existing loo and just follow it up. You can extend and bend soil pipes but cant travel too far as leads to blocking and possible backflow...yuk!
Nothing is impossible...just bloody expensive! I.e you can have it but we might need to rebuild the house! ; )
Good luck with it..Im surprised you are only finding out now!!

LoftyLou · 16/03/2018 22:59

Thanks MasterBuilder. He was a bit vague but we are hoping to speak to the actual plumber next week to discuss options.

Hopefully there is a creative solution to getting a proper soil pipe. The ceilings on the first floor are quite high so even a false ceiling or boxed off pipe would be preferable if they could make that work.

Yes it’s not the first surprise, the roof tiles are apparently brittle and should be replaced too. Costs are escalating!

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MasterBuilderDad · 17/03/2018 01:06

I see... that's good idea to create a bulkhead for it, so find the stack and you might be lucky..brittle? Have him pull one out, how has he tested that? Broke one? Hmmm..

PissedOffNeighbour · 17/03/2018 09:54

We have one in the loo under the stairs and we have had very few problems with it / think we’ve had it 17 ears now. It is noisey but certainly not smelly! We had to have a new macerator last year but that’s about it.

MissBartlettsconscience · 17/03/2018 09:56

We had one in a flat with no immediate access to soil pipe do the macerated pipe work fitted under the floor. It worked absolutely fine, particularly for a en suite/ second toilet.

eljay2 · 17/03/2018 10:15

Moved in to a house with one 3 months ago and I'm not keen. I would pay quite a bit more not to have one so see what your plumber says is possible.

But if its a choice between saniflo or no bathroom upstairs then you could probably live with the downsides which sounds like you've read about.

Two thoughts:

  1. They are really noisy, especially at night and they trigger even if you have a wee without flushing. Also its a on/off noise which I find worse than a shower extractor or electric shower pump.

  2. Is the ensuite to be used by you/your partner or is it for kids/guests. If the former you can be very strict about not putting wipes/long hair/too much shampoo/toys/tampons down it but harder to enforce with kids/guests. Also TMI but apparently they don't handle very large poops well so that would need to happen in a different bathroom.
Rightmovestalker · 17/03/2018 10:20


E.g. No wipes, sanitary products or anything other than human waste and loo roll. If you can get a nornal loo, do but if you only have room for a smaller pipe then you will need to consider a macerator one.

LoftyLou · 17/03/2018 13:09

Thanks everyone.

It would be a guest room toilet so we would have to leave a sign up or something or have awkward conversations with anyone staying. The mascerator would be directly above our heads in the master bed below so noise would be annoying.

Has anyone tried sound insulation, around or below the mascerator box?

We are looking at moving the toilet instead potentially, so that the bedroom would have a tiny toilet on one side and then a wet room shower on the other side. Would this be too strange?

Or we could move the whole shower room to the back where the dormer window is, but then the bedroom bit would only have eaves windows.

Alternatively we could create a false ceiling in the middle floor and run a proper soil pipe, but there is a steel beam in the way so really need to speak to the plumber about what’s possible.

I love the comment about large poops needing to be done elsewhere 😊 but how do you know in advance? Guests might be a bit embarassed coming to use the loo downstairs as they would be announcing a number 2.

Having said that I’m glad to see there are a couple of good new stories in case we have to go down the mascerator route.

Thanks so much to everyone who has responded so far.

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Orphangirl · 17/03/2018 20:00

Our upstairs neighbour has an 'en suite' and I can hear it churning away. Whenever I meet her all I can think is I know when you take a dump. Juvenile of me I know.

hooliodancer · 17/03/2018 20:10

We had one out in a holiday cottage. There really was no other way.

It is noisy and irritates us when we stay there when it goes off of its own accord! We had soundproofing put in. Next door say they can't hear it, which is very good!

I'm glad we had it out in as it was that or nothing.

BuzzKillington · 17/03/2018 21:09

Noisy, horrible things. I would sooner go without.

RNBrie · 17/03/2018 21:14

We have one in the loft.

Had to have it unblocked twice after guests flushed wipes and condoms down it (different guests!)

We now have a sign on the toilet and no further problems.

The waste pipe is narrow and freezes every now and again when it's cold. That's annoying rather than anything else.

If you can avoid one, I would!

LoftyLou · 17/03/2018 21:50

I have very clumsy and careless relatives, so I can already see them blocking the loo.

Last time a brother came to stay he ripped the bathroom door off its hinges, by pulling (with all his might) rather than pushing.

My parents broke the hook off their bedroom door by hanging a suitcase on it.

Another brother broke the hooks that keep the garden doors open, by wrenching both doors shut.

They are all impractical as well, so completely useless at fixing anything they break 😡.

Random rant over 😊

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brownelephant · 17/03/2018 21:53

are you attached to neighbours?
they can be very noisy so noise insulation needs to be considered

Freezingheart · 17/03/2018 22:07

Honestly do everything you can to fix a boxed in pipe. It may cost you a bit more but you’ll save money in longer term.

Macerators are easy to break, a real pain in the arse (literally!) to fix, not to mention expensive. Avoid unless you really really have no other choice

peachypearplum · 17/03/2018 22:16

We have one in our downstairs loo. It was there when we moved in and we wouldn't have chosen it.

It stopped working and no plumber would touch it when they heard it was a macerator. I finally got passed a number for a 'macerator man' who came and sorted the problem (seriously don't put anything other than loo paper down there - no flushable wipes; toilet duck cleaning pads etc.).

He said that macerators work fine within the strict parameters of use (only loo paper) but they really benefit from an annual service. Who knew! So we have retained his services. It's cheaper than repair and his particular service includes any parts etc. Apparently ours should last at least 15/20 more years...

LoftyLou · 17/03/2018 22:46

Gosh the cost would be awful if we had to factor in an annual service from a London-based Macerator Man! But I suppose that is one way to give peace of mind.

We do have a neighbour that side, but their loft is unconverted, so they don’t have a room adjacent to where the macerator would go.

We had thought about taking the waste pipe upwards and over the landing, just under the roof, instead of through the bedroom floors/ceiling, since the macerator can pump upwards. (Would rather have a shower of sh*t over the stairs than in a bedroom in the event of a breakdown, and maybe the sound travels more through the pipe). But someone mentioned freezing and that could definitely happen I suppose if the pipe was in the roof.

I appreciate these can work ok if you use them properly but we won’t have control over guests. Sigh.

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upsidedownfrown · 17/03/2018 23:02

Just moved from rented house with one. Afraid to say the saniflo was actually our deciding factor in moving. It would work beautifully for months then randomly throw a fit and start buzzing for no apparent reason. Then magically fix itself a few days later. It's noisy, my neighbours next door could hear it and if someone flushed at night it would often startle me awake. It would throw a fit if I used to much foaming anything (bubble bath as it was connected to bath and shower as well as loo, shampoo, bleach) I got to the point where I would say thank you every time I used the bathroom and it didn't make some stupid noise.

I had 3 engineers out btw to check installation and they all said installation was perfectly executed.

I soon learned that if my daughter had a poo, I had to flush it twice. Sorry for tmi but she has quite soft poos and it would always grump and groan after she used it. Seemed fine if it was flushed twice though!

The capacitor blew once, which apparently they just do sometimes, which resulted in a flushed loo not disappearing and just rising in the toilet bowl... that was pleasant.

And it tripped all of my electrics once too...

Also v difficult to find an engineer in my area so may be worth looking at. Normal plumbers usually won't touch them.

Shouldn't be that much bother just to use a bathroom!!!

Neighbours had their pipes boxed in instead of saniflo. They made a good choice!

sycamore54321 · 18/03/2018 01:11

I would seriously ask whether you need another bathroom so badly. The downsides sound horrific. Presumably for a guest room in an attic, you won't be putting inform or elderly people there so what's wrong with them coming downstairs to the house bathroom?

I'd much rather a bigger guest room, or an additional little study or a walk-in storage space or something than what sound like a possessed toilet to be used once in a while when guests are there. A noisy, potentially smelly, occasionally freezing contraption doesn't sound like a great choice. But I don't understand the modern need for as many toilets as there are bottoms in the house.

Best of luck with the extension.

GardenGeek · 18/03/2018 01:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LoftyLou · 18/03/2018 22:59

Fingers crossed the plumber has some alternative ideas tomorrow. Thanks for the reality check 😬

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Busyd · 27/09/2018 20:26

We’re the same predicament LoftyLou - what solution did you go with in the end? TIA

rachelinindia · 27/09/2018 21:46

We have one in our en-suite. It's noisy but hasn't caused any issues. We use (non-branded) toilet cleaner specifically for saniflows, flush twice and nothing but loo paper down it. We didn't install it but would have it if was the only way to have a bathroom on same floor as the bedrooms.

LoftyLou · 28/09/2018 00:15

Hi BusyD, we installed a normal toilet in the end, even though it involved boxed-in pipes in the middle floor hallway and through a bedroom (we plan to eventually get built-in wardrobes around it in the bedroom to hide it).

It’s fine so far, time will tell if we made the right decision placing the toilet at the front of the house. It’s a very long soil pipe so plenty of scope for issues!

Good luck with your decision.

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Busyd · 28/09/2018 10:55

Thanks for your response LoftyLou - I think we’re edging towards a normal toilet too - it means changing our layout a bit which is a pain, but hopefully it will be the right decision in the long term. Thanks again

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