Upflush or macerating toilets have been around from as far back as the 1950s. These types of toilets work a little differently when compared to conventional toilets. While the rest of the toilets rely on gravity for the flow of wastes and water, upflush toilets depend on a pump to push the wastes into the sewer line. This mechanism means that you can install upflush toilets just about anywhere you’d want a toilet in your home.
While upflush toilets seem to solve some issues related to conventional, gravity-based toilets, they still come with their own problems. They’re noisy, prone to clogging, costly to install etc. Here are more details on their downsides as well as benefits.
Upflush Toilet Problems
While these toilets are favored for their convenience, they also have a few downsides among them the following:
1. High initial cost
The setup costs for an upflush toilet is quite steep especially if you’re going for the known brands like SaniFlo. The typical cost of an upflush toilet is about 1,000 dollars. A standard gravity toilet is about 500 dollars making the upflush one about double the cost of the gravity one. While you can easily install the upflush toilet on your own, most will require a skilled plumber to install and this will cost you more.
2. Needs frequent priming
The pump used with the upflush toilets needs to be primed at least once each day. This priming is done by flushing the toilet. This means that you only need to use the toilet once a day to keep the pump primed. If, however, you go away from the house for a while, you will need to manually prime the pump to make it work again.
3. High levels of noise
While gravity toilets only have a single flushing step whereby water flows from the toilet tank into the toilet bowl then down the drain, upflush toilets have two major steps. In the first step, the toilet flushes the same way a gravity toilet. The wastes end up in a pump in the wall or other appropriate location. The second stage will involve the pump pumping the wastes to the sewer line.
The second stage can be quite noisy given that it entails a pump doing its work. For some people, this can be quite annoying and using such a toilet at night can be hectic and noisy. You’re thus needed to choose a good location in the home where the noise from the toilet won’t be an issue.
4. You need to adhere to building codes to install the toilet
Even when these types of toilets are approved for installation nationally, local regulations might make it hard to install them since some don’t agree with their usage. This is in contrast with gravity toilets which don’t have limits to their installation.
5. Prone to clogging
Upflush toilets are only meant to accommodate wastes and toilet paper and nothing more. If you put in anything else, the toilet will clog up and make it quite hard using it. If during the installation phase you did not provide for an easy way to unclog the toilet, you may have to break down the wall to reach the pump and unclog it.
The solution to this is getting an upflush toilet that has a grader to chop up the dirt into smaller pieces. This allows you to put into the toilet items such as diapers and others with the toilet working to chop them up and send them to the drain.
6. Have short warranties
Although the upflush toilets have an excellent lifespan, most vendors offer only about 2 years of a warranty. Given also that the warranty starts the moment you buy the toilet, it means the actual warranty in use is much less. Gravity toilets often get at least 3 years of warranty which is far better.
Even worse, the warranty only covers the usage of the toilet when water is being used. It means that other liquids won’t be covered.
7. Power cuts can negatively affect you
Given that the pump on the upflush toilet depends on electricity to work, it will depend on the availability of power to be effective. If your area experiences lots of blackouts and you have a few of these toilets, you may consider investing in a generator or other backup source of power. If, however, you only have one upflush toilet, you won’t need it since you can use the other toilets when there is no power.
These alone can’t, however, dissuade you from getting yourself an upflush toilet given the benefits below.
Pros of Macerating Toilets
The best bits about using upflush toilets include the following:
1. Highly flexible
Unlike conventional toilets, upflush toilets don’t rely on gravity to move the waste to the drainpipe. The presence of the pump makes them suitable to any location in the home be it the basement, attic or other suitable area. They are also easy to install especially when you don’t want to drill walls and floors or carry out any other major changes on the house.
2. Can be used even without underground plumbing systems
With upflush toilet units, you can freely install them in a house even when the house has no underground drainpipes. You can just have a drain pipe running from the toilet to the sewer directly. This is advantageous when you have to build a new house or are extending the current one and the costs of installing pipes underground is too high.
3. Cheap to use
While installing upflush toilets can be a bit costly, the costs when using one are actually lower than when using gravity toilets. First of all, their construction is quite easy given that you won’t need to do much digging and drilling or renovating large areas to accommodate them. For this reason, they’ll save you lots of costs in terms of the lack of renovation costs.
They also use less water than gravity toilets. For example, an average gravity toilet will use anything above 1.5 gallons of water to be effective. On the other hand, upflush toilets will only need about 1.28 gallons of water to flush. The electricity used with each use of the toilet is almost negligible.
4. Highly durable
Macerating toilets are built to last as long as their gravity counterparts. Since gravity toilets last for about a decade or more, upflush toilets also last for a similar amount of time. You should, however, go for the high-quality ones like the ones made by SaniFlo since they last the longest when in use. They have also undergone lots of testing to make them durable. You also need to maintain them properly to have the best lifespan and service from them.
5. They’re portable
Given the light level of installation found on upflush toilets, you can easily unscrew them and move them to a new location. It takes a short time with almost no costs to incur and you will have the toilet in a new location.
If you plan on doing this for your home, you should first check whether the type of toilet you have in place is the most movable. Some upflush toilets aren’t so movable as they require more extensive activities.
6. Can be attached to other plumbing units
With upflush toilets, you can easily attach them to other plumbing units such as sinks and showers to use the same drainpipe and plumbing connections as needed. Their ease of movement comes as an advantage as you can easily choose an area where they won’t cost much to use.
If these positives make your life better, you should get yourself an upflush toilet. Always make sure you get a good quality one for the best experience.
The most popular upflush toilet brands include
This is the most budget-friendly
How Macerating Toilet Works
The following is a video showing how Saniflo, one of the most popular upflush toilet, works.