Mechanical contractor opts for cost-saving Saniflo above-floor plumbing when converting his own garage into an in-law suite

Mini-Case Study | November 2021
When Joseph Cariola turned his garage into living quarters for guests, professional experience led him to install Saniflo’s Saniaccess 2 — a cost-effective solution that would be simple to install and capable of handling the varied usage of multiple visitors.

 

Problem

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA — Joseph Cariola is a licensed plumber and operations manager at Feddon Mechanical, which offers plumbing, mechanical, medical gas and acid waste services from start to finish on schools, medical buildings and other commercial buildings in the St. Petersburg market. With 30 years of experience, Cariola coordinates a wide variety of projects, including remodeling and renovation, new construction and design development, as well as everyday service work.

On a recent personal project, Cariola sought to expand his two-bedroom home to host family and friends at leisure. With his extensive experience in renovation and remodeling, he decided to convert his garage into an in-law suite containing a bedroom and bathroom to easily accommodate up to three people.

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Familiar with the Florida plumbing codes, Cariola anticipated there would be complications — and the associated high costs — if he chose to take the traditional, below-floor plumbing-drainage route.

Fortunately, Cariola was also familiar with Saniflo’s labor-saving, above-floor plumbing systems. He knew they could provide a cost-effective, workable solution to his personal garage-conversion project.


Solution

Given Cariola’s previous success with Saniflo products, he was confident that the Saniaccess 2 macerating and pump system could handle all the plumbing drainage in the guest bathroom he was planning.

“It’s incredibly convenient,” says Cariola. “I avoid the costly and time-consuming task of digging up concrete — to install conventional below-floor drainage — that would cost thousands of dollars more. The Saniaccess 2 is up to code and works phenomenally.”

The Saniaccess 2 is equipped with a ½ horsepower pump and a macerator whose stainless-steel blades rotate at 3,600 RPM to reduce incoming water and organic waste matter into a fine slurry. The system can then pump that reduced effluent up to 15 feet vertically or 150 feet horizontally to a soil stack that drains into a sewer system or septic tank.

Once the water level in the Saniaccess 2 container goes down, the micro switch deactivates the unit until activated again via flushing. A normal operating cycle takes approximately 10 seconds, depending upon the configuration of the discharge pipe run. Power consumption is therefore minimal.

The Saniaccess 2 is ideal for small, half-bathrooms like Cariola’s. Intended to handle black-water from the attached toilet, the Saniaccess 2 will also handle gray-water drainage from a second fixture, usually a nearby sink, which is how Cariola uses it. He terminated the vent line connected to the top of the Saniaccess 2 to the outside of the wall behind the toilet, covered by a nice display.

Drainage from the two fixtures discharges through a 1-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe running 8-feet horizontally and about 10-feet vertically before connecting to a two-inch cast-iron line leading to the septic tank. As recommended by Saniflo, 45-degree fittings were used on all vertical turns in the discharge line.

To finish the install, Cariola placed a removable piece of crown molding at the bottom of the wall behind the Saniaccess 2. “That way I can always take that piece of drywall off to access the system,” he says, adding: “The Saniaccess 2 tank is already insulated, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it with a specialty tank or parts.”

Cariola’s entire bathroom renovation took three days, from the plumbing rough-in to the finish. The Saniaccess 2 itself, he notes, was especially easy to install:

“So easy that a homeowner could probably handle it. But, obviously, it would be preferable to have a licensed plumber do the work.”

Results

Cariola has hosted numerous family and friends who have well-tested the capabilities of the Saniaccess 2. So far, there have been no problems or complaints — not that Cariola is in any way surprised by the system’s durability and dependability.

In fact, he is currently working with one of Feddon’s larger corporate clients to install a Saniflo system in its facilities: “Above-floor plumbing, I believe, will perform better than the conventional plumbing system they are currently using.”

Based on his own happy experience, Cariloa also believes that above-floor plumbing can save any end user, residential or commercial, thousands of dollars over a standard plumbing installation.

“I had someone give me an estimate to install below-floor drainage in my garage conversion,” he says. “It would’ve cost me about $7,000 in total — or about $5,000 more than what I ended up spending with the Saniflo Saniaccess 2.”

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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].

 

 



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Finished bathroom showing the Saniaccess 2 installed behind Saniflo’s rear-discharge toilet.

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View of Saniflo’s rear-discharge toilet from the top as well as the plumbing set up before connecting the macerator pump.

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Behind the drywall, before all connections were made to the Saniaccess 2.

Left: Vent connection
Right: Drainage from the two fixtures will discharge through the 1-inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe

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The vanity is the second fixture connected to the Saniaccess 2. The macerator and pump also handles the gray-water drainage from the sink.

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