6 Tips to Smarter Shopping for Above-Floor Plumbing Systems

Residential renovations can be tricky, especially if you want to add a bathroom or kitchen to a part of a home where plumbing drainage doesn’t exist, cautions Phil Warren, managing director for Saniflo Canada, a prominent plumbing systems manufacturer in Canada.

“Adding plumbing to basements, attics, garages and unfinished spaces usually requires breaking through concrete or doing a major structural renovation that can compromise a home’s structural integrity,” Warren notes. However, above-floor plumbing systems, like macerating toilets and drain pumps, can dramatically simplify home-improvement projects.

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There are many above-floor toilets and other macerating technology products on the market today, but not all are created equal. Warren suggests six critical factors to keep firmly in mind when buying a macerating pump system for either a new addition or to replace an existing one.


1. Go for quality

Home renovations can be expensive. It may be tempting to opt for cheaper options, but they might cost more if they break or cause damage to the home. This same principle applies when buying above-floor plumbing systems. “While there are cheaper options out there, it is important to research all the options and pick a product known for quality performance,” says Warren.


2. Known product source = greater reliability

Where a product is made can significantly impact its quality. In-house manufacturing means a company can ensure the highest quality control possible, which isn’t guaranteed or easy to verify when manufacturing is outsourced.

Why does this matter? Knowing where a macerating pump is made speaks directly to its quality and reliability. For example, a recognized maker of macerators such as Warren’s Saniflo brand — the inventor of the concept more than 60 years ago — is made and assembled entirely in-house near the company’s headquarters in France. These products are shipped to be distributed to the company’s two headquarters in North America (Canada and the United States) and then sold to professional, Canadian installers through Saniflo’s nationwide distribution partners.

“Knowing that the macerating toilet or drain pump has been tightly controlled throughout the production and distribution process is the best way to gain peace of mind,” Warren comments.


3. Customer support begins at home

Opting for cheaper above-floor plumbing solutions could well lead to a defective product down the line. The inevitable next step would be to call the manufacturer’s toll-free number to solve the problem. But, chances are, customer service based in another country is likely to be less than helpful or reliable — or just plain hard to talk to.

In contrast, Canadian-based customer service agents should be able to provide quicker responses, more reliable problem-solving and more effective communication. Purchasing from a manufacturer with a Canadian-based salesforce should also ensure faster, more efficient customer care.


4. Is the product code-compliant?

It’s essential to determine if a product is made according to Canadian codes and standards, especially when it comes to above-floor plumbing. A reputable company invests in testing its products to be in compliance with major plumbing codes. This way, the product will be approved to be installed anywhere in Canada, while safeguarding the customer from any potential issues.

Macerating technology uses a pump powered by electricity, and any electrical product that contacts water is potentially hazardous. As Warren notes, “a product not compliant with established safety standards is an accident waiting to happen.”


5. Insist on a multi-year product warranty

Many above-floor plumbing systems offer a product warranty of up to one year only. This can be a problem if the product breaks down or fails further along, resulting in costly repairs or replacement. A major brand, such as Saniflo, offers customers a standard three-year warranty for their macerating pump products. Here again, they have offices and multiple warehouses throughout Canada, ensuring optimal availability and distribution, especially during global supply-shortage challenges.


6. Make sure it can be insured

As mentioned above, issues can occur with electrical products that come in contact with water. It’s crucial that these products be insurable should something occur. But not all brands of macerating pump products can obtain or offer insurance.

“Products should carry some type of third-party certification to vouch for their reliability in protecting property, as well as the health and safety of those who use them,” says Warren.

Examples of independent laboratories that test for compliance would be “CSA” and “IAPMO.”

These nationally recognized laboratories test products to conform with ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards for code compliance in Canada.

“Without such certifications,” Warren advises, “products could likely be deemed unreliable or even unsafe by insurance carriers.”

These six tips will make shopping for an above-floor plumbing system a more reassuring process with the outcome being a product that will perform well for years to come. Learn more about the role of macerating technology in home renovation at www.go.saniflo.ca.

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SANIFLO North America – whose parent company originated macerating plumbing technology – offers a complete line of macerating and grinding upflush toilet systems and drain-water pumping systems for residential and commercial applications. SANIFLO developed its innovative, “above-floor plumbing” technology more than a half-century ago and has led its commercialization worldwide. Today, the company markets macerating technology through 22 subsidiaries in 50 countries and has sold more than six million units worldwide since 1958. SANIFLO products are available through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at most major plumbing wholesalers and hardware retailers.

  • For more information or installation videos, contact Saniflo Canada at 1-800-363-5874. Or visit the Saniflo Canada website at saniflo.ca.
  • For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly ([email protected]) or Payton Meyers ([email protected]) c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 815-469-9100.


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To locate the macerator box (right) behind the bathroom or powder room wall, the installer uses an extension tube to connect the toilet (left) to the box.

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