Mini-Case Study | January 2020
Michael Martin, owner of On Blonde Pet Spa and Boutique, successfully installs compact drain pump to handle the high volume of dog hair coming from two large bathing tubs.
PALM BEACH, FL — Recognized as “Palm Beach’s Best New Business” by the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, family-owned and -operated On Blonde Pet Spa and Boutique has built a stellar reputation for dog grooming and spa treatments. To ensure its furry clients always look and feel their very best, the Pet Spa offers a dedicated bathing department that uses two, 50-inch tubs for grooming from 8:45 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.
During a recent expansion and remodel of the leased space, owner Michael Martin realized the 12 x 15-foot room he planned to use as the bathing department sat 12 feet away from the building’s sewage access pipe. His drainage options were very limited.
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“We have the space measured down to the inch,” says Martin, explaining why conventional drainage was a problem. “I had a very finite amount of room, and I needed to be able to fit every piece of bathing equipment in that room.”
Option No. 1 involved installing a new floor drain in the 100-year-old historic building. But that would require breaking through the concrete — not something Martin wanted to do, given the building’s age, as well as the likely expense. “I can’t even imagine the cost of creating new drainage or the loss of space,” he says.
Prior to the remodel, the pet spa used a very large, in-ground-type, macerator pump, which inspired Option No. 2: Install a much smaller drain pump that didn’t need much space, but was still powerful enough to handle the high volume of dog hair produced daily. The idea was to pump gray water away from the two large tubs through plumbing situated above — not below — the floor.
“I needed something that could handle all the dog hair,” says Martin, “Even though we use traps, hair gets through.” And, again, given his space requirements, he had “to find the smallest pump possible.”
Finally, the type of adjustable tubs Martin had purchased needed a low entry point for draining the wastewater. “I couldn’t have it go into a macerator pump with a bottom pump and a bottom float,” explains Martin, “because I couldn’t get the pump close enough to the ground that way.
Martin conducted an online search that led him to Saniflo’s drain pump technology. After considering other options, Martin realized none offered as complete a package as Saniflo. “The others were too vague, or they just didn’t seem as complete,” says Martin. “The Saniflo pump appeared easy to assemble, it was accessible, and it seemed built specifically for my application.”
He contacted a local Saniflo rep who recommended the Sanivite drain pump for the application. “I felt that the company took the time to figure out what I needed, as opposed to selling me the most expensive products,” says Martin.
Designed for commercial and residential applications, the Sanivite is able to discharge gray water away from a variety of fixtures up to 16 feet vertically and/or 150 feet horizontally. Small enough to fit inside a kitchen cabinet, the unit was designed to sustain the toughest applications, including a large volume of dog hair.
Sanivite comes equipped with two, 2-inch inlets, with built-in check valves to handle the drainage from any sink, shower or — in Martin’s case — tub via an indirect connection. It also has a vent connection on top of the unit. The unit discharges the waste through a 1-inch or 1.5-inch rigid pipe, using the discharge elbow with a built-in check valve that is provided.
Having some experience in basic plumbing, Martin felt up to the task to install the Sanivite system himself. He connected the 1.5-inch rigid pipe to an existing PVC discharge pipe running to the building’s sewage access. He connected both tubs with flex tubing going to the hard-line, which then feeds into one of the Sanivite’s inlets.
According to Martin, figuring out how to run the flex tubing through the crosses raising his adjustable tubs was more complicated than the actual installation of the drain pump itself.
“The instructions were ‘cut to fit and tighten the clamp,’” says Martin. “I thought: ‘Man, nothing I do is that easy!’ — in work or in construction, especially during this remodel.”
Nonetheless, Martin found himself “very surprised that the Sanivite was that compact and easy to install. It is probably the simplest product I’ve bought that needed some kind of assembly,” he adds.
The entire installation took approximately three hours, recalls Martin, including getting the angle right on the drain.
Martin estimates a conventional floor drain would’ve cost him roughly $50 000, including architectural plans, bathroom, and flooring plans.
“When plumbers came to take a look at the project, they would say: ‘We have to go through the bathroom, break through this floor and pull out the ac system, while routing the plumbing around the electrical,” recalls Martin. “What’s more, since the building is so old, the plumbers didn’t know where the drain pipes were located.”
For Martin, time was another big factor. “We stayed open during the entire remodel. I couldn’t be closed. We’re a service business, so I needed a way to do this work as quickly and with as few headaches and complications as possible. In the end, thanks to the Sanivite system, the installation took a lot less time and frustration than I expected.”
The Sanivite has performed well since its installation in late 2019, according to its owner. “We use it for eight hours a day, and we’ve had no problems,” says Martin.
“On Blonde Pet Spa would, without a doubt, recommend Saniflo to others!”
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.
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The 1.5-inch rigid pipe connected to an existing PVC discharge pipe running to the building’s sewage access.
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Top: The 1.5-inch rigid pipe connected to the Sanivite’s discharge elbow on the top of the unit. The 1.5-inch rigid pipe is connected to an existing PVC discharge pipe running to the building’s sewage access.
Bottom: The hard-line coming from both tubs, which feeds into one of the Sanivite’s low-inlets.
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Image Size: 4.5″ wide x 6″ high
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