Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

I’m reaching out to the community to see if anyone has had experience with bathroom addition and installing a new toilet, specifically having a macerator toilet installed, the one sold at HD or Lowes?

We are in the process of renovating a room on the second floor that previously housed our washer/dryer and hot water heater units, all electric. We switched to tankless gas water heater and along with the W/D moved them out to other parts of our home that made more sense. We now have an empty room and because we already have the existing drain line, electrical power and exposed walls, adding a sink and shower isn’t too difficult. Issue comes installing a toilet, which would need to tie into our existing stack pipe. Problem is the closest stack pipe is on the opposite side of the house, and the 110yrs-old pipe would have to be cut into to add this new connection.

We know this because the ceiling directly below our potential new bathroom is completely exposed, results of a previous job of installing a new HVAC system and had to remove all the unnecessary duct bulkheads. Having the majority of the walls/ceiling exposed has been great for the plumbers, electricians. They can see any potential issues and they can give us better idea and estimates for all the work that will be required.

Various plumbers have given us estimates and come up with creative solution and the option is to run the new toilet line below the floor joist, which means dropping the ceiling and then connecting to the existing stack. My concerns, which I bring up with the plumbers, is that the age of the stack pipe, the easy of cutting into. The cast iron stack pipe runs height of all 4 floors of our home and I’m worried that cutting into in the middle of line will cause vibration that can potentially weaken the structural integrity of the whole pipe. Repairing an old stack pipe is not an easy job and very messy.

That brings me back to the macerator toilet systems, these are designed to be placed anywhere in the house and you don’t need to break/cut anything to connect. All you need is 110 GFC power, which already exists and run PVC piping that can follow the path of the current Wash/Dryer line for the connection. Depending on your level of DIY skills, you can install these toliets yourself. Upfront cost of this toilet system is much higher, but when I factor in the labor cost saved getting a standard toilet installed, much cheaper, especially if I install it.

When I bring macerator system up with plumbers, they don’t seem to understand it, even though they are recommended installers by the company that sells them. My hunch s that this lowers to cost on the whole project because the job just easier.

I had similar issue with tankless gas water heater, most plumbers didn’t bother to return our calls. They only did traditional tank units and told us they don’t do tankless upgrades. Finally look around and found a company that specializes installing them called Tankless Concepts, by the way this is a great company, would highly recommend if you in the market for tankless water heater systems. Hopefully someone in the community has experience with macerator systems, pro or con. Thank you”

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