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Thread: Coventional instal vs. macerator

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Ms. Ptrap&Claptrap's Avatar
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    Default Coventional instal vs. macerator

    I'd like to install a two-piece courtesy lavatory on the main floor of my one-story. I'm guessing it'll only get used a dozen times a year but my house was built in 1890 with one large bathroom off the kitchen and I know the location bothers some visitors. (I live alone and my best friend didn't even have a door on her bathroom for four years due to a construction error so it's really not a big issue for me or regular visitors!)

    The problem is the sewer line disappears into the rear-most exterior wall in the basement. (Photo attached) Concensus is the sewer likely goes around the exterior of the building - I have the entire original lot and the original house so, unlike my severed neighbours in new construction, there was never any need to relocate it.

    I do have a laundry in the basement and the grey water makes a fanciful 40 foot journey from the laundry tub around a corner where it discharges into a small, below-grade concrete cistern and then is sent back up via sump to the rafters, back around the corner and into the sewer pipe located directly behind the washer. (Government plumbing?!)

    I'm not at all opposed to hiring a licensed plumber - I actually had one in a few weeks ago to install a new vanity and was going to ask him to quote but the vanity ended up noticably off-centre to the mirror and light bar and not level. (His response was he "wished I'd mentioned it sooner". ) The next one I contacted for a rough-in price didn't like the sound of no basement floor access and started quoting on a pit and a sewage ejector. (This was over the phone. He hadn't seen anything.) When I mentioned that I was rather hoping to use a conventional waste drain and vent, or perhaps install a macerating unit rather than cut up the floor, he said he wouldn't even consider installing an above ground unit.

    Now I'm feeling a bit ornery and think I might like to do all the grunt work myself and just hire someone for the technical bits.

    I think the correct slope is achievable from the location where I want to place the toilet. It's nearly 30 feet away and there is one corner involved. I come up with 7.5 inch drop but then I think there's a penalty of a couple of inches for the corner? The existing PVC connection is way too high for the required slope and the lower copper outlet is too small, so any slope depends on a pro being able to open the lower discharge to the required size for a toilet, or tap into the pipe at a differnt point.

    If I go with a macerator I think the lower connection is the correct size, but is it actually permissable to add a wye so that the grey water and the sewage enter the sewer at the same point? (I was also wondering if anyone knows if a Sanipak - which I realize is for horizontal discharge units - can be piped to work with a gravity toilet? They are much cheaper and if I could install one in the rafters under a conventional w/c with an elbow that would save a considerable expense, but I don't now if the different water behaviour would create flow problems for the Sanipak unit.)

    I really don't want to ask another plumber ANYTHING until I have a pretty good idea of what's feasible, given that my first two forays into professional assistance didn't go too well. Any thoughts as to whether my slope calculations are close, or if it's looking like a huge job to get into the sewage pipe, or if it's just not technically possible withour an ejector would be appreciated.

    Apologies if I sound like an idiot - I don't FEEL like an idiot...Probably the cause of 90% of my problems !

    Rachel
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  2. #2
    One who lurks Basement_Lurker's Avatar
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    That first plumber who installed you sink doesn't sound very professional, and he definitely doesn't take pride in his work. The second guy doesn't sound very experienced or interested in the job.

    You sound like you are on the right track, keep interviewing contractors until you find one that can explain things to you so that it makes sense to you, and one who will actually meet with you and leave you with a solid sense that they know what they are doing and that they are there to help you (and not themselves to your money).

    If you have an unfinished basement, I don't see what the problem is. Maybe I am not seeing the whole picture of your basement. But as far as I can see, a regular gravity drain waste for the new toilet is totally possible, but you will have to add in a cast iron wye fitting below the existing side inlet tee (it has to be cast iron to support the cast iron already in place, but the actual new drain branch can be plastic).

    Unless there are walls in the way of where the drain branch needs to go, your only real concerns are going to be drilling through your floor without hitting anything (although I think you said you didn't want to cut up your existing floor?), cutting into your main drain stack without sending chunks of cast iron into your drain system, and venting the new line.
    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me? -Jack Handy


    www.blackbirdkitchenandbath.com

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Ms. Ptrap&Claptrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basement_Lurker View Post
    Unless there are walls in the way of where the drain branch needs to go, your only real concerns are going to be drilling through your floor without hitting anything (although I think you said you didn't want to cut up your existing floor?), cutting into your main drain stack without sending chunks of cast iron into your drain system, and venting the new line.
    It was digging up the concrete in the basement I wasn't keen on. I have no issues putting holes in the main floor to accept plumbing for the toilet and sink. It's pine plank so I ran thin bits of thin wire between some planks and checked where they came out it in the basement and it doesn't look like any floor joists will be in the way. (Although some wiring is strung in the area.) I haven't checked in the attic re: the vent, but I'm pretty flexible about where it can go, so I'm hoping that will not be too bad.

    Heard back from another plumber. He said he wasn't a big fan of macerators but sometimes they were the only option - Said he would like to see the lay-out before commenting more...Hopefully a step in the right direction!

  4. #4
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If you were able to run wire between the flooring and it came out in the basement this may be a large problem as that would be a sign that there was no sub floor...absent a subfloor when the flooring is cut there may not be enough support for the toilet and you may end up with an even bigger problem...

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Ms. Ptrap&Claptrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    If you were able to run wire between the flooring and it came out in the basement this may be a large problem as that would be a sign that there was no sub floor...absent a subfloor when the flooring is cut there may not be enough support for the toilet and you may end up with an even bigger problem...
    Interesting point. Thanks! The pine plank is the original floor and is a true inch thick by 8" wide over joists 12 inches apart, but it probably would be a good idea to reinforce any plank areas that will be subject to cutting prior to the install.

    Had another plumber in today and he felt it was a very simple rough-in as these things go, right from accessing the sewer to venting...No macerator, no ejector. No problem getting into the cast iron pipe. (Enough room for a shower, too! I hadn't considered that - Future home equity!)

    He was curious as to why I wanted to install my own fixtures so I showed him the vanity...He said if he gets the rough-in job he'll re-set it!

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