Cool Air Mechanical Uses Multiple, Above-Floor Macerating and Drain Pumps for Atlanta High-Rise Penthouse Plumbing

Case Study | March 2024
Penthouse owners discover Saniflo’s Sanipack, Sanishower, and Sanicom 1 to create their dream bath and laundry rooms, without needing to break through the concrete slab on each floor of the 18-story, multifamily building.

Problem

MARIETTA, GEORGIA — Four Marietta hairdressers who have lived together for the past 40 years recently purchased a 3,500-square-foot penthouse on the 17th and 18th floors of Horizon Condominium. Downsizing from their former 10,000-square-foot house, the owners wanted to remodel the penthouse to better fit their needs before moving in.

The penthouse’s original floor plan had four bedrooms and three baths. The laundry room and all three bathrooms needed to be moved to accommodate their lifestyle, which included building closets bigger than normal.

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They wanted four-and-a-half bathrooms. So they opted for a solution that added a powder room, moved a shower to enlarge a closet, moved the laundry room to create a large closet, and created an entirely new bathroom off of the guest room that didn’t have its own bathroom attached before.

One of the foursome, Lester Crowell, contacted his connection at Cool Air Mechanical, a local HVAC and plumbing company, and he was subsequently introduced to plumbing manager Danny Glass. Lester explained his situation and asked Danny if he could recommend any products to create a bathroom without breaking through the concrete.

As with most high-rise buildings, reinforcing cables run inside the foot-thick slab on each floor, so conventional plumbing was not an option. Why? Digging through a slab risked cutting through a cable, thus causing structural damage.

A 42-year plumbing industry veteran, Danny has known of Saniflo’s products through much of his career. Once he began researching a solution for Lester, he contacted Cheryl Lindstrom of LMS Representatives, Saniflo’s rep in Georgia, for more information. Together, they facilitated a solution for Lester to ensure the project was successful.

According to Danny, in addition to not being able to break through concrete, the building’s blueprints did not provide much visibility into the building’s plumbing situation.

“Not knowing what’s between the walls was a major challenge,” he comments. “We followed the blueprints, but they were outdated and weren’t very helpful. It wasn’t until we took down the walls that we could see what we were working with. Then we could work backward and start planning where the plumbing needed to go.”

Cool Air and the homeowners also had to get approval from the homeowners’ association (HOA) — yet another challenge, thanks to a flood that occurred on another floor a year earlier. That left the HOA apprehensive about installing a pump system.

“The condo association was very concerned, because we were working on the top floor, moving fixtures around,” explains Danny. “After the flood, they wanted to be reassured they wouldn’t have any problems.”

Danny, Cheryl, and Lester did several walk-throughs of the penthouse and switched up which products would go where, so everything was where they wanted it to be. Then they did a final walk-through with the HOA, the board of directors, and building management to secure approval of the renovation plans.

All three groups were comfortable with the plans, so Cool Air could move forward.


Solution

“We had to work with the architect on where things would go, as well as get feedback from Mr. Lester on what fixtures he sought to accomplish his vision for the condo,” Cheryl comments. “So we went with several different units for the various applications that he wanted.”

The Saniflo products Danny and Cheryl ultimately decided on were two Sanipacks, a Sanishower, and a Sanicom 1. These pumps are ideal for multi-story buildings where it is impossible to break through the concrete slab to install a conventional waste pump.

The Sanipack is a macerating pump system designed for wall hung toilets that can handle human waste and toilet paper in residential applications. The blade is made of a hardened stainless steel material, eliminating the need for any service or replacement.

The Sanishower is a low-profile, gray-water pump designed to handle drainage from various plumbing fixtures, such as a sink, shower, urinal, etc. Its compact design with multiple inlets makes it suitable for both commercial and residential applications.

The Sanicom 1 is designed to handle a high volume of gray water from various fixtures, such as a washing machine, dishwasher, sink, shower, or bathtub. The pump, which handles up to 194°F water, is designed to withstand hot liquids with highly acidic properties, again making it ideal for commercial and residential applications.

Before any Saniflo products were installed, Cheryl held a training session at Cool Air Mechanical for the plumbing team, so they could understand how the products worked.

“It helps to get the product in front of the installers,” says Cheryl, “let them get hands-on with how it works, and explain its operation and installation to them in person. That way, they feel very comfortable installing it.”


Here’s a breakdown of each Saniflo unit’s application and installation at the penthouse:

Powder Room and Second Floor Wet Room:

  • The two Sanipacks are being used to add wall-hung toilets to the first-floor powder room and second-floor wet room.
  • The depth of the units allows for the pumps to be installed within the wall. Since the reservoir, the macerating pump and the pipes are hidden from view, this type of installation offers the streamlined, contemporary look of a European bathroom, the style Lester was looking for.
  • The powder room Sanipack is connected to a toilet and a lavatory, which is also wall-hung. Effluent is pumped 10 feet vertically and 20 feet horizontally through a 1-inch pipe tied into an existing wet stack within the building.
  • The wet room Sanipack is connected to a toilet, a pedestal sink, and a shower drain. The discharge line from the toilet pumps 15 feet vertically through a 1-inch pipe to the wet stack.


Walk-in Shower:

  • The Sanishower is being used to add a walk-in shower to an existing bathroom on the first floor.
  • The Sanishower’s compact size is designed to fit comfortably beneath a shower base. But in this particular installation, the Sanishower lives inside the bathroom cabinet.
  • The Sanishower can provide drainage connection to a second sanitary fixture, usually a sink. But because the former half-bathroom toilet and vanity were already connected to conventional drainage, this drain pump handles only the shower.
  • Capable of discharging gray-water waste up to 12 feet vertically and 100 feet horizontally, the Sanishower for this application pumps 12 feet vertically through a 1-inch discharge pipe into a wet stack.


Laundry Room:

  • The Sanicom 1 is being used to relocate the laundry room to the first floor and add a laundry sink.
  • The pump can drain multiple water fixtures simultaneously, discharging gray water up to 25 feet vertically and/or 250 feet horizontally. For this application, it pumps 15 feet horizontally and 25 feet vertically through a 1.5-inch discharge pipe.
  • Gray water enters through one of two side inlets before being pumped to the wet stack.

All pumps were tied into existing vents.


Results

After all the discussion and brainstorming sessions, it has been very rewarding for the group to see the spaces come to life.

“I was skeptical at first on how this would all look when it was installed,” Lester admits. “We had very specific ideas on how we wanted to design the spaces, and I never thought it would come out as a reality. But once everything got installed and the spaces came together as we envisioned, we were very happy with the results.”

Danny adds: “It would have been very expensive to go the conventional plumbing route and nearly impossible because of the commercial-building restrictions. Saniflo products made it affordable, and we were able to make the homeowner’s vision come to life.”

Since the success of the installation, Lester has been sharing the remodel details with a friend who lives on another floor of the building, and who now plans to use a Saniflo pump to expand his master bathroom.

Danny and his team will be handling that project as well.

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ABOUT SANIFLO
SFA SANIFLO NORTH AMERICA – whose France-based parent company, SFA Group, originated macerating plumbing technology — offers a complete line of waste and drainage pumping systems for residential, commercial and industrial applications. SFA Saniflo developed its innovative, “above-floor plumbing” technology 65 years ago and has led its commercialization worldwide. Today, the company markets macerating technology through 29 subsidiaries doing business in more than 70 countries and has sold more than eight million units worldwide since 1958. SFA Saniflo markets through independent sales agents throughout North America, and the product line is currently available at distributor and dealer locations throughout the continent.

For more information, contact SFA Saniflo USA at 1-800-571-8191, or visit the website at Saniflo.com. To contact SFA Saniflo Canada, dial 1-800-363-5874, or visit Saniflo.ca.

For editorial assistance, contact Madelyn Young ([email protected]) c/o GreenHouse Digital + PR: 708-428-6385.


Image Gallery


The two Sanipacks are being used to add wall-hung toilets to the first-floor powder room and second-floor wet room.

The powder room Sanipack is connected to a toilet and a lavatory, which is also wall-hung. Effluent is pumped 10 feet vertically and 20 feet horizontally through a 1-inch pipe tied into an existing wet stack within the building.

Download Lo-Res Image

Image Size: 5″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 360 × 432 pixels)


The two Sanipacks are being used to add wall-hung toilets to the first-floor powder room and second-floor wet room.

The powder room Sanipack is connected to a toilet and a lavatory, which is also wall-hung. Effluent is pumped 10 feet vertically and 20 feet horizontally through a 1-inch pipe tied into an existing wet stack within the building.

Download Lo-Res Image

Image Size: 5″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 360 × 432 pixels)


The depth of the units allows for the pumps to be installed within the wall. Since the reservoir, the macerating pump and the pipes are hidden from view, this type of installation offers the streamlined, contemporary look of a European bathroom, the style Lester was looking for.

Download Lo-Res Image

Image Size: 4″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 288 × 432 pixels)


The Sanicom 1 is being used to relocate the laundry room to the first floor and add a laundry sink.

The pump can drain multiple water fixtures simultaneously, discharging gray water up to 25 feet vertically and/or 250 feet horizontally. For this application, it pumps 15 feet horizontally and 25 feet vertically through a 1.5-inch discharge pipe.

Download Lo-Res Image

Image Size: 5″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 360 × 432 pixels)


The Sanicom 1 is being used to relocate the laundry room to the first floor and add a laundry sink.

The pump can drain multiple water fixtures simultaneously, discharging gray water up to 25 feet vertically and/or 250 feet horizontally. For this application, it pumps 15 feet horizontally and 25 feet vertically through a 1.5-inch discharge pipe.

Download Lo-Res Image

Image Size: 5″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 360 × 432 pixels)


The Sanishower is being used to add a walk-in shower to an existing bathroom on the first floor.

The Sanishower can provide a drainage connection to a second sanitary fixture, usually a sink. But because the former half-bathroom toilet and vanity were already connected to conventional drainage, this drain pump handles only the shower.

Download Lo-Res Image

Image Size: 4.83″ wide x 6″ high
(Lo-Res: 348 × 432 pixels)

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