Dino and Beth Gregorich successfully convert storage shed into stylish outdoor bath and changing room without the costly headache of breaking through 30 feet of concrete.
Dino and Beth Gregorich moved to San Diego County, California, almost four years ago. Thanks to mostly sunny days year-round there, outdoor living is every bit as robust as indoor living. That’s why the couple made sure their new home had a swimming pool and an outdoor patio.
But as the Gregorichs enjoyed their pool and hot tub, they soon realized having a changing room and a bathroom nearby would be very convenient, if not an outright necessity — especially since it would eliminate the need for guests to walk through the house, dripping wet, to use the facilities.
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As luck would have it, the couple already had a large 8 x 16 foot storage shed behind their pool that could easily be converted into a half-bath and changing room. There was just one major challenge hindering this idea: They would need to break through 30 feet of concrete to run sewer lines from the shed to the house’s sewer access pipe. According to Dino Gregorich, it was too expensive to tear through that much concrete. They knew they had to find an easier, more affordable plumbing solution.
The Gregorichs weren’t ready to let go of their outdoor-bathroom dream just yet.
After doing some research online, Gregorich came across the ideal solution. “I would search phrases like ‘pump-up system’ and, in the process, came across Saniflo. I immediately knew that its above-floor products would solve our problem.”
The couple decided to go with the Sanicompact, a self-contained, dual-flush macerating toilet system, designed specifically for small spaces. This modern-looking, one-piece toilet is engineered to use as little as one gallon per flush. In fact, the dual-flush feature was particularly appealing to Gregorich.
“You can use light flush with less water [1 gallon per flush] and a full flush with more [1.28 gpf],” he explains. “In San Diego, we pay a fortune for water, so we try to save as much as possible. Ultra-low-flush, high-efficiency toilets are very important here.”
The macerating system also offered another key benefit for Gregorich’s application: It allowed for the draining of a second fixture: a small, hand-washing sink.
The Sanicompact combines a vitreous china toilet bowl and a built-in macerator and pump in one compact unit, measuring only 18 ½” H x 14 ½” W x 21 ½” D. It can be used to create a half-bath (two fixtures) up to 9 feet below the sewer line, or even up to 120 feet away from a soil stack.
The system can handle human waste and toilet paper in residential applications and needs no gravity-flow tank. That’s because the flushing action and macerating pump cycle are triggered by pressing a push-button on top of the unit. The flushing mechanism is electrically timed to allow water to pass through the toilet.
The discharge elbow on the back of the Sanicompact can be rotated 360 degrees to fit any type of installation. A non-return valve, which ships attached to the discharge elbow, prevents backflow into the unit.
As mentioned earlier, the Sanicompact will also discharge gray water from a sink. The wastewater drains through a 1-¼-inch connection in the back of the toilet.
Gregorich decided to take on this installation project himself, since he had many years of experience as a do-it-yourselfer, installing a swimming pool solar heater, as well as water heaters, water conditioners and even whole bathrooms.
To discharge the Sanicompact, Gregorich connected a 1-inch PVC pipe to the discharge elbow on the back of the unit. Since sharp bends and angles could be detrimental to system performance, Gregorich followed his nephew’s advice on how to carefully bend the PVC pipe, using a sand-fill method.
“It’s pretty simple,” he explains. “Just fill the PVC pipe with fresh, clean, play sand. Then plug both ends and lightly heat the pipe with a torch. It will bend without collapsing. I used this technique to build every bend in the system — from the Sanicompact all the way to the house — with nicely curved, smooth turns. I was trying to make sure there was minimal resistance to go that distance.”
Gregorich ran the discharge pipe from the Sanicompact seven feet vertically where it exits the shed. From there, the pipe runs 80 feet along the yard’s privacy fence before connecting to the municipal sewage access pipe. The seven-foot vertical rise was necessary, given how far the access pipe sits from the house. “We made sure we were well within specifications for drainage,” says Gregorich.
He connected the small sink to the Sanicompact with the PVC connector discharge pipe that came with the system.
Fortunately, an existing outdoor spigot was positioned close enough to the shed to serve as a water source. Gregorich decided to have only cold water in the shed, so he ran the main water line to both the hot and cold lines. The shed itself was already wired with the recommended Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) circuit for the nearby pool, so he could easily plug in the Sanicompact to this existing power source.
Installing the Sanicompact took less than a day, recalls Gregorich. “After a couple of weekends fixing up the shed, installing all the components and adding all the delicate touches, our swimming pool half-bathroom room was ready for use.”
The Gregorichs count themselves as pleased with the convenience of an attractive outdoor bathroom close by the swimming pool and hot tub.
“If we went the conventional route, we would’ve had to jackhammer all that concrete,” he says. That would’ve taken weeks and cost thousands of dollars,” effectively rendering the project impractical.
The Sanicompact has been in operation for over a year and has performed well, according to its owner. “I haven’t had any problems, and we use the Sanicompact almost daily to make sure it’s operational. My guests love having it. I mean, it’s right next to the hot tub!”
“Without the Saniflo solution, we would never have been able to have such a nice addition to our outdoor living space!”
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].
View of the Gregorich swimming pool and hot tub with the converted 8 x 16-foot storage shed behind the pool.
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The discharge pipe from the Sanicompact exits the shed and runs 80 feet along the yard’s privacy fence before connecting to the municipal sewage access pipe. (Note: Saniflo does not recommend running plumbing exposed and suggests installations be done per relevant local plumbing codes.)