Let’s delve into the world of macerators. “Macer…what?” I hear you say. Well, if you decide that you want to build a bathroom, ensuite or cloakroom in an awkward place, which might have a plumber rubbing his chin and saying “that’ll cost you”, then a macerator may be the answer to your bathroom dreams. And it won’t cost you the arm and leg you thought it might.
What is a macerator?
A macerator is designed to work alongside your bathroom waste system to literally grind up and pump the waste making it possible to send the “material” through a narrow sized pipe and flush it into your soil pipe. This means you can place a toilet, sink or bath in any part of the house, even if gravity and pipework are working against you.
Without the use of a macerator, your plumber may need to feed pipes across your house to meet the soil pipe. In many cases this is simply impossible and too costly. A soil pipe is usually 100mm in diameter and will run down just one side of your home. For simplicity, most homes are built with all the bathrooms, kitchens and toilets on that one side for easy access to the soil pipe.
Getting your waste from one side of the house to the other while allowing the correct gravity angle is sometimes not feasible. In a basement, it will be impossible.
However, the simple installation of a macerator will allow you to have your new bathroom anywhere in the house you like. Usually it will sit just behind the toilet and it designed to fit in with the overall look of your white bathroom suite.
The macerator reduces the waste into smaller pieces allowing a smaller diameter pipe to carry it away. This pipe might be as small as 22mm or as much as 40mm.
The smaller pipe size makes it much easier to run the pipework through your home as it will fit under floorboards or in walls.
In addition to grinding up the material, the macerator also pumps it through the pipework. This means that gravity is no longer a big issue when it comes to how the pipes are arranged. Each macerator will have a different vertical and horizontal pump distance, so this will need to be considered when making a purchase. A basement, as an example, will require a stronger pump to reach the soil pipe.
Installing a macerator
In most cases a macerator should be installed by a plumber or someone with similar experience. The calculations required to work out at what angle your pipes should be run can be a bit tricky. It is recommended that if a vertical rise is required, this should be at a point closest to the macerator. For example you could run the pipe into the loft or ceiling space above the bathroom and then run it horizontally at an angle (if possible) towards to outside of the house and the external soil pipe. The final part of the connection should be a vertical drop to ensure that the pipe empties completely.
The cost of a macerator
A macerator is not a cheap piece of equipment to have installed, but it is certainly cheaper than the plumbing problems you might have without one. Generally the larger the outflow pipe the cheaper the unit will be. This is because it will need less pumping power and less grinding. Larger pipe macerators start at around £120. For small 22mm pipe macerators, you will need to put aside more than £300 out of your budget. If you want a macerator which can handle the waste from your toilet and your shower you will also expect to pay a little more.
So, if your dream is to have an ensuite in your loft or a shower room in your basement, a macerator will allow you to make your dreams a reality.