Building contractor, plumber uses a small, but powerful drain pump to overcome a big plumbing challenge

Mini-Case Study | August 2020
Avoiding the hassle and expense of busting through concrete, Dane Perkins of GMH Construction and Michael Cooper of Precision Plumbing Services install Saniflo’s Sanivite gray water pump for a basement bar sink in a Wisconsin lakefront home.

Problem

HARTLAND, WISCONSIN — GMH Construction, a small family-owned contracting business, found their passion for remodeling homes in 1995. While they specialize in bathrooms and kitchens, working in Wisconsin offers them numerous opportunities for basement remodeling jobs as well. Dane Perkins, Project Manager and Co-owner, along with his father, oversees the day-to-day operations of GMH. Not only do they take pride in their work, but they truly enjoy doing it together.

Perkins also enjoys showcasing his projects and daily experiences of being a remodeler. “The Remodelers Life” is his Instagram page and YouTube channel where he shares product reviews and project profiles with his viewers. Perkins recently took his virtual audience along with him to a job site that involved finishing the basement of a beautiful lakefront home.
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Built about five years prior, the homeowners wanted a basement that would match the high-end upper levels they put so much time and effort into. Specifically, they wanted a basement bar for entertaining guests. To complete the bar, Perkins and his crew needed to add a bar sink.

However, GMH faced a challenge. The drainage pipe coming from the new sink would have to connect to the existing basement bathroom plumbing. To accomplish this, Perkins and his crew had two options.

The first was breaking through the basement’s concrete floor. “Typically, when a basement bathroom is pre-plumbed, it is not always in the perfect spot for an additional plumbing fixture.” says Perkins. Adding a new drain for the bar sink, roughly 20 feet away from the bathroom, would require an extra full day’s work of cutting out concrete. This can be a labor-intensive, messy and expensive job.

The second option, which the crew felt was the best from the start, was finding a drain pump solution. “From day one, we wanted to use a drain pump. That was always the plan because it would be an easier installation and cheaper for the homeowners,” Perkins says.

“The biggest question you have to ask yourself when deciding between the two options is: How often will the homeowners use the sink?” explains Perkins, “If it’s not used as their main kitchen sink, we’re probably not going to want to install conventional plumbing, because the cost would far outweigh the convenience.”

For this renovation, the bar sink wouldn’t be used that often. So Perkins and his crew wanted to find a cost-effective solution to install drainage without breaking through the concrete floor.

Ideally, they wanted a system that would pump the gray water from the sink 10 feet up and 14 feet over where it connects to an existing 3-inch discharge pipe running to the sanitary crock in the basement’s mechanical room. Because of the home’s lakefront location, with no city drains nearby, the sanitary crock is needed to move wastewater up and out to a universal drain.


Solution

Through “The Remodelers Life,” Perkins and his company have developed many strong relationships with makers and sellers of building products and tools, including the macerator and drain pump manufacturer Saniflo. When GMH learned about Saniflo’s Sanivite drain pump, they immediately knew it would be the perfect solution to install a bar sink without breaking through the concrete to create conventional below-floor drainage.

Designed for commercial and residential applications, the Sanivite is able to discharge gray water away from a variety of fixture types up to 16 feet vertically and/or 150 feet horizontally to the drain line. Small enough to fit inside a kitchen cabinet, the unit was designed to handle the toughest applications, such as a sink, dishwasher, shower, urinal, and even a washing machine through an indirect connection such as a laundry sink.

Sanivite comes equipped with a pair of 2-inch low inlets on either side of the housing and an additional 1.5-inch inlet on top of the unit. The unit has built-in check valves to handle the drainage from any sink or tub/shower. It also has a vent connection on top of the unit. The unit discharges the wastewater through a 1-inch, 1.25-inch, or 1.5-inch rigid pipe, using a provided discharge elbow with a built-in check valve.

Plumber Michael Cooper of Precision Plumbing Services and GMH had never tried Sanivite before, so they planned to review the system on Perkins’ social media channels during the installation. The team quickly recognized two benefits:

First, the compact size of the Sanivite, approximately one third that of a typical drain pump, fit perfectly into the cabinet, leaving room to maneuver and adjust anything the contractors needed to.

Second, the unit’s 1.5-inch PVC discharge pipe run — 10 feet up and 14 feet over, where it would connect into a 3-inch drain in the ceiling —was well within the power range of the Sanivite’s 0.4 HP pump.

According to Perkins, connecting the Sanivite was an easy and straightforward installation. “We really appreciated the pictures of the installation instructions, as well as a broken-down parts list,” Perkins says, “The images helped us when checking if we were understanding the process and product correctly.”

“The most beneficial aspect of the Sanivite is that the pump in itself is already quiet,” says Perkins. Once installed, the system altogether was practically silent due to bumpers included with the product to isolate the noise and vibrations. After multiple tests, Perkins confirms that the Sanivite “had plenty of power to do what it needed to do.”


Results

First impressions can mean everything, and the first impression of the Sanivite to both Perkins and Cooper was uniformly positive. “Compact and quiet, yet powerful; easy to handle and install — the Sanivite is a product we will be using and recommending in the future,” says Perkins.

Perkins estimated that the homeowners saved close to $2,500 and a full day’s labor when he and Cooper chose to move forward with the Sanivite above-floor drain pump solution for the bar sink, rather than conventional plumbing.

“Based on my experience with the Sanivite,” says Perkins, “this solution worked out well. Saniflo truly earned my trust in their above-floor plumbing solution!”

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ABOUT SANIFLO
SFA SANIFLO U.S.A. – whose parent company originated macerating plumbing technology — offers a complete line of waste and drainage 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 24 subsidiaries in 50 countries and has sold more than seven million units worldwide since 1958. Saniflo markets through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at distributor and dealer locations throughout the United States and Canada.

For more information, contact Saniflo at 1-800-571-8191. Or visit the Saniflo website at saniflo.com.

For editorial assistance, including photography, contact John O’Reilly c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 815-469-9100 or [email protected]usedigitalpr.com.




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Front view of Sanivite drain pump connected to bar sink directly above.

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Dane Perkins, Co-owner and Project Manager of GMH Construction, with the newly installed Sanivite drain pump.

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Three pipe connections at the top of the Sanivite:
Right: The 1.5-inch PVC pipe connected to the Sanivite’s discharge elbow on the top of the unit. This PVC pipe was connected to an existing 3-inch discharge pipe running to the home’s sanitary crock.
Middle inlet: The drain-line coming directly from the sink above.
Left: Vent connection that discharges sewage gases.

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Dane Perkin’s YouTube video on his first impressions of installing the Sanivite.


Dane Perkins reviewing Sanivite, post-installation, following up on his original installation video.