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Common Saniflo Problems and Their Solutions

You may have had a Saniflo macerator installed in your bathroom for years, but now it's showing signs that there's a problem and isn't working correctly.

Not to worry, in some cases, the fix can be fairly simple. We're here to help you understand everything there is to know about Saniflo and the most common issues.

Read on to find out more about Saniflo problems and their solutions with Plumbworld...

What is Saniflo?

what is saniflo?

Saniflo is a brand of macerator pump that deals with the cutting up and removal of waste when the location is too far from the drainage line (or gravity just isn’t on your side!). The toilet is the primary use for a macerator, however, it can be also utilised in other areas of the bathroom, as well as in the kitchen and utility.

We have put together the most frequently asked questions about the problems you can face with Saniflo macerators and how to rectify them.

Please note: These solutions should only be attempted if you feel confident enough in your abilities to carry them out correctly. Otherwise, please contact a certified Saniflo engineer to help you with the issues.

Why won’t my Saniflo turn off?

why won't my saniflo turn off?

If your Saniflo keeps flushing constantly, this might be due to a blockage or damage to the system. Always check that none of your taps are running first and then you will need to turn off the main supply to the Saniflo to check the following:

To check if there’s a blockage in the macerator, you will need to remove the lid of the Saniflo. If you see an obstruction, it can be removed by turning the blades counter-clockwise and using a small tool (such as pliers).

If it’s a blockage in the pump, you will need to remove the motor from the Saniflo and turn it upside down, so the pump impellers are visible. Again, using small pliers, remove the blockage and replace the motor back into the Saniflo.

It’s possible that there’s a blockage in the waste outlet pipe which will mean the waste is being flushed away but then returning. This could be due to a foreign object stopping the waste getting pumped to the drainage line. Remove the lid of the Saniflo and check the inside of the return valve for anything that may be stuck – discard of it with small pliers.

Alternatively, there could be a fault with the return valve. If so, this part would need to be replaced.

If the microswitch is misfiring, you will have to manually clear the tank and restart the pump. This is due to the switch being tricked into thinking the tank is full and forces it to keep flushing.

When switching on the pump, over time the water puts pressure on the seal causing damage to the rubber membrane. This can result in a fault as the waste gets into the switch. You will be able to get a replacement system if your pump is still in warranty, otherwise, you will need to contact a certified Saniflo engineer.

Why is my Saniflo running but not pumping out?

Frozen Waste Pipes Logo

This often happens in the winter time when temperatures get below 0 degrees leading to the waste pipes becoming frozen.

Turn off the Saniflo and if you think the waste might overflow, then you’ll have to manually remove part of it. You can wait until temperatures rise (around midday) or you can try to warm up the pipes with hot towels. Pipes outside need to be well insulated to avoid frost.

Why does my Saniflo keep starting on its own?

There could be a few reasons as to why your pump keeps starting on its own throughout the day and night:

The microswitch is misfiring because it keeps thinking the tank is full – you will have to manually remove the waste between the switch and the tank floor and then reset the pump.

If the rubber membrane is damaged, waste can then get into the switch and cause a problem. In this case, you will have to purchase a new rubber membrane and switch.

It’s possible that water is getting into the Saniflo via a dripping tap, overflowing toilet or if a condenser boiler is connected to it.

Why is my Saniflo blocked and backing up in the bath/shower/basin?

Sanilfo Macerator Bath Shower Basin Blocked Logo

It may be obvious, but the first thing to check is that there’s power to the Saniflo. There may be an issue with the motor which is stopping it from pumping out. The signs for this are a buzzing noise and the Saniflo will feel very warm. Turn the Saniflo off and inspect the motor to see if anything is caught in it.

Another problem could be with the microswitch or rubber membrane stopping the motor from turning on. If the motor is completely ceased, this unfortunately means the macerator needs to be replaced.

It’s also possible that the waste pipe has an obstruction inside because it was installed at the wrong angle (this is a very common problem). The Saniflo waste pipes should be at a 45-degree angle. If there isn’t any waste to remove from the tank to solve the problem, then you’ll have to contact a certified Saniflo engineer to remove the pipes and clear them out.

Why does my Saniflo keep vibrating/making a buzzing noise?

If when flushing the toilet you hear a horrible vibrating noise, there’s probably something that has been lodged in the macerator blade. Turn off the Saniflo and remove the lid. If you see an obstruction straight away, remove it. If the foreign object is in the blade you can remove it using small pliers.

Why is my Saniflo leaking when it’s running?

Why is my Saniflo leaking

One reason for your Saniflo leaking from the vent could be that there is a big build-up of waste inside which will have to be manually removed.

Another issue could be the microswitch or rubber membrane are worn leading to the water not being able to pump out quick enough. When it’s finally triggered, the water escapes through the vent. If replacing the rubber membrane doesn’t do the trick, the whole microswitch will need replacing.

It’s also possible that the motor is nearing the end of its life and can’t work as hard as it used to. This would mean the whole macerator should be replaced.

The rubber waste outlet could have shrunk because of too much toilet cleaner. If water is spraying out the vent, you will need to replace the rubber waste outlet.

Why is my Saniflo foaming out the vent?

If your Saniflo is foaming out the air vent, this is usually due to too much toilet cleaner/bleach being used. If you let this happen for too long, the motor will overheat and cut out because it can't pump the water correctly. The water needs to be diluted in order to dispose of the foam, or alternatively, turn the macerator on for quick bursts.

Why does my Saniflo keep tripping the electrics?

If your Saniflo is tripping the electrics, it usually means that water is getting into it and leads to the circuit shutting off to avoid any other damages, or there’s a loose wire.

Always make sure the electrics are off before you inspect the pump. If there’s an issue with the motor seal, then call a certified Saniflo engineer to repair it.

If the motor is worn or faulty, this, unfortunately, means that you’ll have to purchase a new macerator due to the motor being unrepairable.

Why does my Saniflo smell?

Bad smells can be due to a build-up of limescale and human waste in the 2-3 inches of water that’s always left in the Saniflo.

To see if it’s your Sanilfo that’s emitting the bad smell, flush your toilet or fill your basin with water and then unplug it. Following this, smell near the air vent to identify if it’s the same smell.

Saniflo’s should be descaled now and again, but always read the label/instructions of the product. If you’ve never descaled your macerator then you may have to do this a few times.

Even though macerators can have their issues, they are necessary for some households depending on where the bathroom is situated. Click here to shop our full range of bathroom and kitchen macerators and accessories.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more bathroom advice…

How to Fit an Extractor Fan | How Much is a New Bathroom? | How to Tile a Bathroom Wall


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