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Saniflo

Does what it says on the tin
bruncher
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Saniflo

#132361

Postby bruncher » April 15th, 2018, 6:02 pm

Dear Lemons

I have a Sanitop Saniflo WC which works but sounds like a jet aircraft engine just about to take off.

The two threads I have located here on TLF which mention these devices do not speak highly of them, but I am inclined to just have an 'authorised approved (expensive?) Saniflo expert come and replace the unit with like-for-like. Are there any alternatives? My priority is reliability. I don't want a mess. The WC is mainly used by visitors, doesn't have heavy usage.

It seems fairly easy to get at, so I am guessing not a long job. (I took pictures but can't work out how to upload, and I don't use remote picture storage).

The arrangement came with the house, I didn't install it. About a year ago, the system coughed up a partly shredded thick plastic bag - material like a plastic sack for compost or gravel would be made of. I guess this had been giving the macerator indigestion for at least a year (i.e. before we moved into the house) and I'm impressed that the system nevertheless kept working.

I have tried using the recommended de-scaler. No noticeable difference except that the pump now runs for longer after flushing.

Thanks for any ideas or recommendations on this.

bungeejumper
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Re: Saniflo

#132490

Postby bungeejumper » April 16th, 2018, 10:45 am

Oi! Satan's throne was my thread, dammit. :twisted:

I once bought a Saniflo, just to deal with a very long pipe run from a shower outlet, but I never got as far as installing it because I found out in the nick of time that I could get just enough gravity drop to make it unnecessary. So the Saniflo got sold on Ebay, unused, and I have retained a gruesome fascination with the Saniflo story ever since.

The worst Saniflo stories seem to involve situations where a crap pipe has been installed vertically up to ceiling level - such as in basements, or where the accursed pipe needs to traverse several vertical layers of joists. Less radical installations seem to work better, if only because the contingent risk from a twelve-foot gravity feed of downward crap is somewhat attenuated. :o

All things being equal, a noisy Saniflo pump means that there's still a blockage up/down there somewhere. I'd suggest that you YouTube for "noisy Saniflo" and judge by the sound effects. I'm still struggling with the idea that somebody would deliberately put a heavy-gauge plastic bag down a Saniflo, but I've met some pretty weird builders in my time.

Can you fix it? Let's see what the solvents can do before you splash the cash.

BJ

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Re: Saniflo

#132502

Postby bruncher » April 16th, 2018, 11:26 am

Thanks bunjeejumper

Thankfully this pump only has to move waste horizontally and then downwards into the drain. I don't think we have enough ceiling height in the WC to elevate the bowl and cistern (throne?) sufficiently to enable gravity to work unassisted.

When house hunting I well remember a house with Saniflo WC - waste pipe up the wall, across the ceiling etc. .... very risky.

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Re: Saniflo

#132530

Postby StepOne » April 16th, 2018, 1:41 pm

I think I might have started one of the saniflo threads you mentioned. We have 2 - one for the toilet and sink and one for the shower. The toilet one has been entirely uneventful, except for when my daughter's friends stayed over and one of them put a sanitary towel down it. It still worked - just sounded very noisy as you say. In the end I opened it up myself to remove the item, which was partially shredded and wrapped around the blades. I was actually amazed at how clean the inside of the unit was and the job itself was reasonably simple.

While I was in the crawl space, though, my wife went to have a shower - which I had said would be fine as that pump was still connected - but I heard her turning the tap on in the sink (the sink which is connected to the pump I am working on). "Not the sink! Don't use the sink!" I shouted, but too late as the pump switched on, the half-tightened connector at the top flipped off, and a stream of water shot up in the air, hit the ceiling and sprayed all over me. Like I said, the unit was pretty clean looking, but still not a pleasant experience.....

Anyway, it will soon be someone else's problem as we have sold and are moving on in a couple of months. The funny thing is there are 3 wcs in the new house, and I never even asked the question about pumps..... gulp!

StepOne

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Re: Saniflo

#132597

Postby bruncher » April 16th, 2018, 4:39 pm

Hi StepOne

I opened it up myself to remove the item, which was partially shredded and wrapped around the blades. I was actually amazed at how clean the inside of the unit was and the job itself was reasonably simple.


OK this is encouraging, perhaps someone who's not an expert (me) can inspect the inside and remove things that shouldn't be there. Compared to your unit, mine is relatively accessible.

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Re: Saniflo

#132637

Postby jfgw » April 16th, 2018, 7:26 pm

StepOne wrote:While I was in the crawl space, though, my wife went to have a shower - which I had said would be fine as that pump was still connected - but I heard her turning the tap on in the sink (the sink which is connected to the pump I am working on). "Not the sink! Don't use the sink!" I shouted, but too late as the pump switched on, the half-tightened connector at the top flipped off, and a stream of water shot up in the air, hit the ceiling and sprayed all over me. Like I said, the unit was pretty clean looking, but still not a pleasant experience.....


I would have considered it wise to have isolated the power first in such a way that (a) one was certain that the pump one was working on was fully isolated and (b) it could not easily be reconnected by someone-else. (Removal of a fuse may achieve the latter.) This is especially important if one's hands are likely to come into contact with the rotating blades.

Julian F. G. W.

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Re: Saniflo

#132646

Postby midnightcatprowl » April 16th, 2018, 8:13 pm

I'm still struggling with the idea that somebody would deliberately put a heavy-gauge plastic bag down a Saniflo, but I've met some pretty weird builders in my time.


This isn't about a Saniflo but simply relates to just exactly what builders may do. My house was built in about 1983 and I moved here in 1985. When I moved in there were immediate problems with the electrics - i.e. whole circuits in the house kept fusing. Three electricians later I was actually no wiser - each in turn had honestly said that they did not know what the problem was and could not solve it - in the event things gradually seemed to settle down and start working again.

Fast forward to four or five years or so and I employed an electrician to put in a new consumer unit, add lots of extra sockets to every room, and deal with one or two existing sockets which had become wobbly and couldn't be re-tightened or not at least by my efforts. When dealing with one of the latter my electrician came downstairs to show me an interesting handful of plastic - crisp packets from the 1980s - which had been stuffed as filler behind a now not surprisingly wobbly bedside socket. Even in his wide experience this was a slightly unusual find :lol:

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Re: Saniflo

#132647

Postby SteelCamel » April 16th, 2018, 8:16 pm

Sorry I can't offer any help, but you may be interested in this opinion from another forum....

http://diyfaq.org.uk/humour.html#saniflo

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Re: Saniflo

#132663

Postby bruncher » April 16th, 2018, 9:41 pm

Before investigating at close quarters i.e. getting my hands into it, I am giving the unit another dose of official authorised accredited branded expensive descaler.

The pack has very clear instructions: switch off power to the unit, tip 2.5 litres into the toilet bowl, leave for two hours or longer, switch power back on and flush twice.

Interestingly one of the official authorised accredited branded service engineers linked to Saniflo's site, has very different instructions for using the descaler fluid:


1. Remove fuse or switch off power to unit
2. Pour a strong dose of Saniflo cleanser/descalent or normal household WC disinfectant or bleach (say ½ bottle) into the WC pan.
3. Flush the WC
4. Leave for about 2 to 3 hours (or overnight for even better results)
5. Switch power on, allowing unit to pump out, flush WC



No.3 and No.4 instruction have switched places.

And contrary to every other advisory notice from Saniflo, they suggest in No. 2 that "normal household WC disinfectant or bleach" can be used!

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Re: Saniflo

#132665

Postby StepOne » April 16th, 2018, 9:44 pm

jfgw wrote:
StepOne wrote:While I was in the crawl space, though, my wife went to have a shower - which I had said would be fine as that pump was still connected - but I heard her turning the tap on in the sink (the sink which is connected to the pump I am working on). "Not the sink! Don't use the sink!" I shouted, but too late as the pump switched on, the half-tightened connector at the top flipped off, and a stream of water shot up in the air, hit the ceiling and sprayed all over me. Like I said, the unit was pretty clean looking, but still not a pleasant experience.....


I would have considered it wise to have isolated the power first in such a way that (a) one was certain that the pump one was working on was fully isolated and (b) it could not easily be reconnected by someone-else. (Removal of a fuse may achieve the latter.) This is especially important if one's hands are likely to come into contact with the rotating blades.

Julian F. G. W.


Ahem, you caught me out... I had switched both pumps off (there are switches in the crawl space) ... but when I heard the water flowing I thought I should it on again to clear it, forgetting that I had already loosened the jubilee clip around the waste pipe which shot straight off. So really it was my own stupidity rather than my wife to blame, but I thought it made a better story :D

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Re: Saniflo

#132667

Postby StepOne » April 16th, 2018, 9:50 pm

bruncher wrote:Before investigating at close quarters i.e. getting my hands into it, I am giving the unit another dose of official authorised accredited branded expensive descaler...
And contrary to every other advisory notice from Saniflo, they suggest in No. 2 that "normal household WC disinfectant or bleach" can be used!


We have also used that stuff to clean ours, and judging by the state of it when I opened it up, it seemed to have done a decent job. In terms of whether to flush it through or not, you do need to make sure enough liquid goes round the bend to actually fill the pump. Whether you flush, or just pour a quantity equivalent to a flush probably doesn't matter.

When we eventually got the local Saniflo approved engineer guy round to service ours, he told us that in Scotland you don't need to use the authorised de-scaler stuff. It's really only for hard water areas, and he said we could just as easily use a dilute bleach solution to clean it out. He also mentioned, when I told him that I was surprised how clean the macerator was, that if you are putting a full flush through regularly (as opposed to using the mini-flush option all the time) then it will stay fairly clean. (Ours is a traditional handle style, so it's a full flush every time).

Cheers,
StepOne

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Re: Saniflo

#132678

Postby bruncher » April 16th, 2018, 10:35 pm

In terms of whether to flush it through or not, you do need to make sure enough liquid goes round the bend to actually fill the pump. Whether you flush, or just pour a quantity equivalent to a flush probably doesn't matter.


Is this flushing with the electric supply switched off?

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Re: Saniflo

#132710

Postby bungeejumper » April 17th, 2018, 7:47 am

midnightcatprowl wrote:Fast forward to four or five years or so and I employed an electrician to put in a new consumer unit, add lots of extra sockets to every room, and deal with one or two existing sockets which had become wobbly and couldn't be re-tightened or not at least by my efforts. When dealing with one of the latter my electrician came downstairs to show me an interesting handful of plastic - crisp packets from the 1980s - which had been stuffed as filler behind a now not surprisingly wobbly bedside socket. Even in his wide experience this was a slightly unusual find :lol:

Ah, the good old days. My electrician told me that he'd once been called out to a fairly swanky hotel in Bath which had been completely rewired several years earlier, but where the circuits kept tripping out for no apparent reason. It didn't take him very long to find out why. In a large part of the building, the cabling had not been renewed at all - instead, the electricians had just screwed brand new double sockets onto the ancient wiring, which was rotting in that peculiarly greasy way that really old cable is inclined to do. In some places, he found rubber insulated cable!

The hotel had to be closed immediately, the safety certificates were rescinded, and all hell broke loose. The original electrician, meanwhile, had vanished without trace. Fawlty Powers, they called it.

BJ

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Re: Saniflo

#132730

Postby StepOne » April 17th, 2018, 9:18 am

bruncher wrote:Is this flushing with the electric supply switched off?


Yes.


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