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What is a Macerator & why would you need one?

 

OK, two questions, firstly what is a Macerator? It’s an apparatus designed to mash, pulverize, pulp, slash/slice, and churn human waste from a solid into a liquid in preparation for its journey to the sewage farm.

  • Pump
  • Rotating blades (up to 3,600 RPM)
  • Microswitch
  • Membrane
  • Nonreturn valve
  • Impellor

When the toilet is flushed instead of the waste going straight down into the sewer it’s directed into the macerator. The flushed wastewater rises to trigger a microswitch which activates the Macerator. The blades rotate at high speed, reducing any solids into liquid.
Upon completion of the cycle the valves open and the liquid slurry is pumped away into the sewer.

Why or when do we need one?

You may want to install an extra WC in an ensuite bathroom, utility room, under the stairs, the basement, or an extension, where none of the above can be serviced by normal plumbing configuration, due to the WC being too far away from the soil stack. Another advantage is it can be connected to a sink, shower or bidet, all are possible. The greywater (water from sinks, showers, washing machines, etc) can also be discharged through the Macerator.

There are many makes and models to choose from depending on your requirements and advice can be obtained from the manufacturer i.e. Saniflo, Grundfos, Stewart and Turner all of whom produce great Macerators. If you are a competent DIY person conversant with household plumbing you may feel confident to install the Macerator yourself.

If so, any/all liability will always rest with you and not anyone else. The installation will require you to plumb in the Macerator locate or install an electrical supply and fit a Ground Force Leakage device for protection (GFL). If your skills do not cover electrical installations then it’s best left to the professionals. If service team Ltd completes the installation, all the materials and workmanship are covered by our warranty/guarantees.

The first time any job is tackled there is a fear of the unknown! Rest assured that service team Ltd is on hand should you get stuck with any part of the installation. Let’s assume then you are a capable/knowledgeable person who understands domestic plumbing and electrics.

Where is it Going?

Chosen a site yet? A couple of things to bear in mind regarding distance from the soil stack. If the Macerator is to be installed in a basement it should not be lower than 10 – 12 feet (3.048 – 3.6576 meters) below the level of the sewer or more than 150 feet (45.72 meters) from the soil stack. Does the chosen site meet the above parameters? If not and you go ahead with the installation it could cause problems later on? Every pump has its limits, if pushed beyond its capabilities it could result in the system having to be re-routed, re-piped or re-sited? Therefore, it is best to get the distances and the SITE – RIGHT!

How to Install a Macerator

Be honest with yourself, are you confident enough to take a chance at installing a Macerator or would it make sense to engage a professional plumber? Serviceteam Ltd is only a call away just in case you change your mind or are fearful of making a mistake or want a faster installation?
OK, you’ve weighed up your options and decided to do it yourself, and you’ve got a contingency plan should anything go wrong?
Then you’re good to go!

Checklist:

  • A Macerator of your choice (quite a range to choose from) that suits the conditions?
  • You have a suitable water supply and the pressure is sufficient?
  • A discharge pipe of ¾ to 1” in diameter (to feed into the main soil stack).
  • An electrical supply with a GFL (as mentioned above).

The Macerator usually fits behind the newly installed WC.
Remember the distance between the nearest soil stack and your installation should not be more than 150 feet away, a ½ HP pump should be able to cope with this distance?

Connect the Discharge Pipe

First, you will need to access the main soil stack to link with the discharge pipe from the Macerator. A suitable sized ‘Y’ connector is inserted into the soil stack to accept the discharge pipe from the Macerator. The discharge pipe is now connected to the soil pipe and the discharge waste is not going anywhere other than into the soil stack and down into the sewer! Alternatively, rather than Teeing into the soil stack you can use a Macerator Strap on the boss Connector discharge outlet, making the connection easier.

Make sure all connections are leak-free. Please bear in mind: If the discharge pipe is plastic (and it probably will be) the distance between Macerator and soil stack is, or close to 150 feet the pipe needs to be supported with clips or brackets. A plastic pipe will ‘sag or belly’ over distance and retain debris possibly causing a blockage. It can easily be removed but it will return unless the pipe run is supported. So be warned!

You’ve now vented the discharge pipe (in other words connected it to the soil stack). You can now move on to stage 2.

Couple the up the Water Supply

Connect your WC (cistern/water tank) to a water supply. The water simply flushes away the waste in the same way a conventional WC does but goes through the Macerator, which activates a microswitch starting the blades, which shreds the waste into a near liquid consistency, which is then propelled (by the impeller) to drain. Cut into your water supply and insert an adapter, run the pipe to the Macerator and connect it. Coldwater is fine.

Power Supply (UK Specification)

Finally, connect the Macerator to a connection close by ( NOT TO A CONVENTIONAL PLUG AND SOCKET!) preferably a wall-mounted fused connection. 220/240V single-phase AC 50 Hz supply (UK specification). This may vary depending on the Macerator model so check with the manufacturer’s technical department.

Some tips

  • A Ground Force Leakage device is an essential item (safety first)!
  • The GFL avoids any electricity surges in electric currents. Always isolate the electrical supply when undertaking any maintenance, removing blockages, or replacing parts.
  • Protection against Freezing Conditions

If the Macerator backs onto an external wall (in the basement) it could be affected by zero temperatures. Lagging the Macerator will protect it from freezing. Be on the safe side if you think there’s a chance the water could freeze in the Macerator then lag it!. If the property is left vacant over the winter months then lagging is essential.

Keep Bends Gradual and Avoid Sharp Turns in the Discharge/Vent Pipe

The biggest and most common mistake often made by DIYs when running pipework is using 90 degree elbows. The ‘turn’ is too tight and could cause problems (blockages). It is better to use 45 degree elbows (or long turn fittings) as the ‘turn’ is gentler and reduces the chance of a blockage. Fewer bends are good.
Horizontal pipe runs must have a minimum fall of 1:100 (10mm per metre) to the soil stack.
If a vertical lift is required, it must be made before the horizontal run at the start of the pipe run

FAQs

Do Macerators Need to be Vented?

  • Yes, and has to be vented to the main stack and in line with plumbing regulations However, some models (Sanicompact 48 and the Sanistar) don’t need venting. Do check the model and the user’s manual for further assistance or contact the manufacturer’s technical department.

Where Does the Waste Go?

  • If it’s human waste (poo and pee) then it has to be vented to the soil stack pipe and into the sewer! A waste pipe is different, it removes water (grey) from your bathing facilities i.e. sinks, shower, bath, dishwasher, and washing machine. There’s a crucial difference here the two must be kept separate, although they will end up in the same place!.

How Much Water Does the System Use?

  • Generally, 2 or 3 liters for a standard flush up to 3 to 5 for a larger one (approx – 1.2 gallons).
    per flush.

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