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Basement Bathroom Plumbing - What Types Are There?

Whether you are remodeling, repairing, or even adding a bathroom in the basement, the plumbing is a major concern to you. If your sewer main, or septic system is below the grade of the installation, everything is straight-forward, and easy; but if the installation will be below the grade of the existing systems, there are special problems. A few of the more popular solutions will be offered here, and their pro's and con's.

One of the more prevalent problems lies in the existing gravity operated plumbing that is tied into the system. The above ground system may cause venting, and overflow problems, these are easily resolved. It should be mentioned that all local codes must be followed, and a licensed plumber may be required for the final connection of the new system.

There are several types of above-ground solutions. This is a system that doesn't require going through the basement slab, making this a viable solution for the DIY category. An up-flushing toilet is an example of this. The looks of these vary, as do the methods of operation, some allowing for the addition of a sink, or shower unit. The pumps are generally hidden behind the toilet, and some hide in the wall.

There are also macerating units on some up-flushing systems. This is a unit to grind up solid waste, before pumping the waste out. Some of these units are capable of pumping 12 feet vertically, and over 150 feet in a horizontal direction. The unit usually has an electric motor and will hide in a wall. There are brands allowing for gray-water discharge, also allowing for showers and sinks.

Up-flushing toilet systems can be expensive, but the money spent on this basement bathroom plumbing, is money saved on the installation, due to not having any concrete work to do. Another area for money savings is in maintenance and repair. These are easily maintained, and repair is also simple, and accidentally flushed items are easily recovered.

There are freestanding sewage ejector systems. These are, in essence, a miniature septic system. Everything, toilet, sinks, washing machines, etc., drains into a holding tank that is above the level of the concrete. This system requires that all plumbing fixtures be elevated to about 6". Typically, these units are housed in an enclosing area, and fixtures are mounted on platforms, or false flooring.

There are options that are cheaper than those offered above, but these usually involve breaking of the concrete flooring in the basement, and removal of foundation materials. This must be taken into account when installing bathroom plumbing in the basement. If foundation and concrete work is already needed, some of these may be a good option, as they may be more efficient, for your particular application.