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Q+A: A pro plumber’s positive experience with Saniflo
HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS — Claude Taylor is a seasoned craftsman who has worked in the plumbing industry for over three decades. He holds a journeyman’s plumbing license and has experience in both the commercial and residential sides of the business.
Starting off installing septic tanks, Taylor eventually worked his way up to large-scale commercial plumbing projects. For the past four years, he has worked in the maintenance department at Sam Houston State University, doing service and installation projects.
We recently sat down with Claude to discuss a YouTube video he created, demonstrating the installation of Saniflo’s Saniaccess 3 macerator pump. The video guides the viewer, step-by-step, through the installation process for the ½ HP pump system, which can be installed 15 feet below the sewer line, and up to 150 feet away from a soil stack.
Beyond his thoughts about the video and his motivations for making it, Claude shares his overall positive experience with Saniflo in this interview.
Question: How did you learn about Saniflo?
Claude Taylor: Some of my former customers in Missouri reached out to me to see how they could avoid digging up their basement floors to install a new toilet. I was doing some research online and found information on Saniflo. Their wide range of above-floor plumbing products and technologies was very impressive. I told my former customers right away that this was a great solution.
Next thing I know, Saniflo got in touch with me and asked if I could demonstrate and install one of their toilets to see how I would like it. That is how I ended up creating a YouTube video on the Saniflo upflush toilet.
Q: Were there any preliminary steps or prep work you needed to do before starting the project described in your YouTube video?
Taylor: There was not much prep work to be done besides clearing out the area where I was going to put the toilet. I decided on installing it in my work area, which is about the size of a small garage and attached to my house. I got all the materials ready and read through the instructions before I got started.
Q: What other applications could benefit from the use of Saniflo's above-floor plumbing solutions?
Taylor: For commercial use, it would be great in a large warehouse where they have a lot of workers and do not want to break up the concrete floors to install a standard toilet. For residential use, I think anywhere in the home would be great — depending on the plumbing code in your area.
Q: The system includes an optional extension pipe available to connect to the Saniaccess 3 and be installed behind the wall. What are the pros and cons of using the extension versus not using it?
Taylor: I would probably use the extension pipe when I have a little more room than what I had to work with for the project in the video, because I would add a chase on the backside of the wall. A chase is a big open area where you would actually put the Saniflo housing and have access to it without removing the toilet if there was an issue. Since my workspace was limited, I decided on not using the extension.
Q: What do you like most about the up-flush technology?
Taylor: Oh man, that's easy. What I like most is, I don't have to tear up floors! With conventional bottom-discharge toilets, a major remodel is required just to make it fit into a small space. With Saniflo’s upflush, rear-discharge toilet, it can go just about anywhere without all the work that needs to be done [in a conventional, below-floor drainage situation].
Q: How much electricity does the Saniaccess 3 use?
Taylor: The Saniaccess uses about the same amount of electricity as a standard kitchen appliance. To be specific, it’s power supply is 120 V - 60 Hz.
Q: How long did it take to install the entire Saniflo system, including the toilet bowl, toilet tank, and macerating unit?
Taylor: For me, it took three days because I had to record myself installing it, which slowed me down. But for the average installer, it should take them about six hours to complete.
Q. If you were to add a shower or sink to the space, how would you tie in the supply line and connect it to the Saniaccess 3?
Taylor: I would tie it in just like I did with the toilet. The Saniaccess 3 can handle gray water from one or two additional fixtures — a sink, bath/shower or a urinal. I would simply run a two-inch line from the Saniaccess 3 all the way to either fixture. The unit has a pair of two-inch inlets, located on either side of the housing for those connections.
Q: How has the upflush toilet performed since you installed it?
Taylor: I haven’t had any issues with it, and it’s been running for about two years now. Winter 2020-2021 was the worst weather we have experienced in a while in Texas, so when I went out to my work area to check it, I was happy to find the system was still running with no problems.
Q. What skills do you think someone should have in order to install a Saniflo system?
Taylor: I recommend someone who is handy and has experience working with plumbing tools. If they get to a point where they feel they might need help, they could probably turn to YouTube and watch one of my videos or someone else's. Or just closely follow the directions.
Q. What should plumbing and remodeling contractors keep in mind when installing Saniflo’s above-floor plumbing systems?
Taylor: The biggest thing is to keep an open mind. A lot of contractors and mechanics in the plumbing industry have a standard way of doing things. They are used to their conventional installs that they have been doing since they started. I say to them: Keep an open mind: There are other ways to install a new toilet.
Saniflo offers a wide range of plumbing pumps and can be an alternative to what they originally had in mind.
Q: What are some of the pitfalls that your consumer-viewers should be aware of?
Taylor: Be aware of local code enforcement for this type of plumbing technology. A locale could be behind in accepting more advanced products, which is unfortunate. An example would be if the customer went to sell their house, an inspector unfamiliar with this type of application would say that it’s not a standard toilet.
So I would just be aware of what the code allows in your area.
*Note: Even though all Saniflo products are certified to be in compliance with well known ASME standards, Saniflo always asks their customers to contact their local plumbing inspector for assurance.*
Q: Many of your Youtube viewers commented that they used your video as a guide to install their Saniflo systems. What were some things they liked about Saniflo’s above-floor plumbing technology?
Taylor: After people installed their own Saniflo product, they came back to me and said how happy they were with the cost savings on their project. They also said it took them less time to install, compared with a standard toilet. The simplicity of the application and the technology gave them an easy project to start and complete without having to completely redo the application area.
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