Saniflo FAQ

Saniflo Problems Troubleshooting FAQ Solutions

We have compiled a list of common Saniflo problems and the most probable cause. A well maintained Saniflo Macerator Pump will give years of service if it is used as per the manufactures instructions.

WARNING – Do not remove the motor dielectric oil from any Saniflo motor as it needs it to run. All the electrical repairs to the Saniflo are carried out in the box connected to the motor, there is nothing to actually fix inside the motor itself, we don’t keep the oil or sell it.

Saniflo Macerator Pumps view more

We ourselves have repaired a Saniflo which was around 20 years old, so they can last a long time if used properly.

Saniflo descaler read more

If you found are information useful please bookmark our website or share it with others or leave a review here. All answers below are based on our years of experience repairing Saniflo’s on site.

Top Tip: After fitting parts set your saniflo up in the garden using an RCD adapter on the power cord for safety, fill the machine with water to see if the machine pumps out and switches off, point the waste outlet of the Saniflo in to a drain or a large bucket. This will save lots of labour time if you have not fitted parts correctly, adjustments can easily be made whilst the machine is not plumbed in at it original location.

1, Can I Descale My Saniflo With Bleach

The answer is no, heavy and continuous over use of bleach or other toilet cleaners can shrink and harden the rubber membrane which covers the pressure switch. When the rubber membrane shrinks it stops the pressure switch from turning off properly.

The symptoms would be that the macerator pump runs on for too long after use, is very sensitive meaning if you have a wooden floor just walking past the Saniflo would set it off, or the machine should stay on for what seems like forever until it eventually switches of itself as it overheats when the thermal cut out kicks in and switches the machine off. This is not good overall for the macerator. Bleach will clean it to some extent and make it smell nice for a while that’s all.

Bleach or other toilet cleaners can be used lightly and in small doses as per Saniflo’s instructions but will not descale a macerator pump thoroughly, only Saniflo descaler will totally descale the machine. Saniflo Descaler has been specially formulated to clean and descale a Saniflo macerator and it does the job well. If you have the above symptoms it’s best to change the membrane and the microswitch whilst the machine has been dismantled because if you change just the membrane, install the machine and it is still not activating properly you will have to go through the whole process all over again.

2, My Saniflo Keeps Running And Wont Switch Off

There are a few reasons for this, a running tap, a blockage in the Saniflo, a blockage in the Saniflo waste pipe leading outside, the membrane is damaged, the microswitch is stuck on or the pump blade has detached from the motor this would be accompanied by a whirring noise.

3, My Saniflo is Vibrating It Looks And Sounds Like It Will Take Off

There will be a foreign object inside the Saniflo caught on the macerator blade like Tampax/sanitary towels, toilet cleaning wipes or baby wipes. A Saniflo cannot chop these items up and throw the motor off balance when it is running, you will need to remove these objects immediately to avoid damaging the motor.

4, My Saniflo Keeps Starting On Its Own Sometimes At Night

There are a few reasons for this type of problem, you could have a faulty microswitch, a faulty membrane or water is getting in to the Saniflo from a dripping tap, overflowing toilet, a condensing boiler may be connected to it.

More Saniflo Problems Troubleshooting FAQ Solutions

5, My Saniflo Keeps Flushing Tripping The Electrics

Normally this is bad news, the reason for this type of problem is a worn or faulty motor as water is getting in to the electrics and fusing the circuit. Sometimes but in rare cases you may have loose wiring where the Saniflo is connected but is very rare its normally a dead Saniflo, you will have to buy a new unit as the motor is unrepairable. Plan B, put a plug on the macerator and plug it in to a different circuit using and RCD Adapter for safety and see if the machine works, if not it is most likely time for a new macerator pump

6, My Saniflo Is Leaking When It Is Running

If your Saniflo is leaking from the air vent on the top when running could be caused by a dirty Saniflo, it will need to be removed and cleaned out by hand as there will be too much waste inside, the switch or the membrane is defective and the machine is not turning on quick enough to pump out the water or the motor is on its way out and cannot turn fast enough to pump out the water this will be accompanied by a knocking noise. Another problem for air vent leaks is the rubber waste outlet which is attached to the lid and inserts in to the pump outlet has shrunk due to excessive toilet cleaner use. As the Saniflo is running water sprays out of the side and dribbles out of the air vent. If your Saniflo is clean inside and water is spraying out of the air vent the rubber insert needs to be replaced.

7, My Saniflo Is Blocked And Backing Up In The Bath Shower Basin 

First thing you should try is make sure the Saniflo is switched on and has power going to it. Your Saniflo motor could be jammed and unable to pump out, this will be accompanied by a humming or buzzing noise and the box will be quite hot and the motor will need to be freed up. Another reason is for this problem the membrane or microswitch is defective and is not allowing the motor to turn on or worst case scenario the motor is not working at all and you will have to buy a new Saniflo other problems can be blocked traps or waste pipes

8, My Saniflo keeps foaming up out of the air vent

If your Saniflo is foaming out of the air vent or inside the toilet bowl it is because the Saniflo either has too much toilet cleaner inside the machine, bleach, or bubble bath if connected to a bath or shower. If foam is coaming out of the machine it will not pump out the water properly and will pump constantly and will eventually overheat and cut out if left on for too long. You must try and dilute the water or switch it on for short bursts until all the foam has gone. Never use excessive amounts of cleaners, bleach, bubble bath or leave bleach blocks in the cistern.

9, Saniflo Running On, Not Pumping Out (Winter Time)

If your Saniflo is running on or not pumping out and the temperature outside is below Zero it is most likely the Saniflo waste outlet pipe has frozen solid or your Saniflo is located in and outside building which is not insulated and the machine itself has frozen. Turn the machine off to avoid burning it out. All external waste pipes must be lagged with foam insulation and machine must be protected against frost, the Saniflo installation booklet will tell you this. If it is not possible to lag the pipes or machine due to access or pipework fitted at height you will have to wait until the temperature goes above freezing before using the machine, possibly around midday. Turn the machine back on when the temperature is above freezing and if it pumps out and switches off it was a frost problem, if not you have a normal blockage in the machine or pipework which needs to be removed.

10, My Saniflo Sanicompact won’t flush and it takes many presses 

If your Sanicompact has a white flush button and won’t flush first go and takes many presses it could be due to lack of air compression. Where the button is situated, put your hand under the toilet, pull off the air pipe and cut 5 mm off of the air pipe, put the air pipe back on to the button and try flushing it. If that solves the problem then there is no more to do, if it doesn’t work pull the pipe off and check the button has good compression, if not replace the button. If the button has good compression the internal microswitch needs replacing. To change the microswitch you will need to remove the motor and you will find it situated under the white cover panel at the front it is the part with the air pipe attached. The cover is normally attached with security screws.

11, My Saniflo is humming or making a buzzing noise

If your Saniflo is buzzing or making a humming noise it is, jammed, the motor has failed or the capacitor has failed. Check that the macerator blade turns freely, if it does then check the capacitor. Using a capacitor tester check that the capacitance, is in the recommended range plus or minus 5%. if the capacitor is below the recommended range try replacing it first as it is cheaper than buying a new macerator pump. If you fitted a new capacitor and the motor still didn’t work and you checked all the electrical connections the motor is probably dead and you will have to buy a new macerator pump.

12, My Saniflo is activating in short burst’s continuously

If your Saniflo is activating repeatedly non stop the non return valve is most likely defective and needs cleaning or replacing. On the newer model of Saniflo its an easy job to do it’s located on top of the machine and can be pulled out by undoing the jubilee clip. If your Saniflo is one of the older models the non return valve is located inside of the machine and the macerator will need to be removed to get access.

13, My Saniflo won’t activate properly

Your Saniflo Membrane needs air to breath when the macerator is filled with water, at the back or the side of your Saniflo where the electrical power cord comes out it doubles as a breather pipe. If this pathway is obstructed with sealant or any other grunge your Saniflo won’t operate properly. Other problems for activation can be water in the membrane, a shrunk or distorted membrane or a faulty microswitch, when the motor is out always change the membrane and the microswitch we do this as standard on every service.

14, My Saniflo activates when using the toilet but not the bath or sink

If your Saniflo has the above problem it is either, obstructions or blocked inlet pipes which are attached to either a Sanipro or Saniplus. On the Saniplus there are water inlet valves inside of the macerator box either side. If these valves have obstructions like hair which is the most common they need to be removed and cleaned. These valves do lift out, put two or three fingers underneath and pull upwards to remove them fitting is reverse. When you have removed the valves get a wet and dry vacuum and suck the pipe through where the non return valve normally sits to remove any other blockages. After doing this you will hear air being sucked through the plughole that would then suggest the pipes are clear. The Sanipro does not have these valves so just suck the pipe through. Other problems for bad activation are stiff or distorted membranes or, a faulty microswitch, check the motor for activation when it is removed, we always change the microswitch and the membrane if needed at the same time to cure activation problems.

15, My Sanicompact won’t flush properly

If your Sanicompact won’t flush properly it may be a water supply problem, your Sanicompact must be connected to the mains water to work properly, if its connected to the gravity fed water system it won’t supply enough water to flush the toilet.

16, Saniflo odours bad smells like sewage

There is always 2-3 inches of water left in the bottom of a Saniflo after use, this is where the the human waste and limescale forms.
When it is quite dirty in the bottom as the Saniflo fills with water, the air is pushed out of the Saniflo air vent this is where the fouls smells come from.
How to test either flush a toilet or fill a basin full of water, pull the plug out of the basin and let the water go and put your nose near the air vent on the Saniflo, if the smell that you can smell in the property is the same as the one coming out of the Saniflo air vent problem solved.

If your Saniflo is three years plus old and has never been descaled you may have to do it a few times, always read the label, never leave the descaler in the Macerator box any longer than the manufacturer specifies or you could damage your macerator pump.

17, My Saniflo is blocked the motor is whirring but not pumping out

If your Saniflo is blocked, the quickest way to find out if its the machine or the waste pipe is to do a bucket test. Turn off the Saniflo, carefully remove the white flexible white pipe and point it in to a large bucket, switch on the Saniflo and if water pumps out in to the bucket the waste pipe must be blocked, if it doesn’t pump out the problem is in the Saniflo. You will have to take out the Saniflo motor and check the bottom impeller with your fingers to make sure there are no obstructions inside.

Check the pipe attached to the side of motor to see if its blocked, check the internal non return valve if yours is an old Saniflo or check the external non return valve if your Saniflo is a newer one. Finally clean out the macerator box to make sure there is no more debris inside or you will have the same problem all over again.
If the wastepipe is blocked it may be due to limescale formation which narrows the bore of the pipe, you have 90 degree elbows and a foreign object is caught in one or more elbows, if this is the case you will not be able to drain snake the pipe out to remove the blockage, you will have to cut the pipe in various places until you have found the blockage, if you use 45 degree elbows you can use a drain snake to remove or to rod through the pipe. See drain snake which unblocks pipes like the one we use Ridgid Drain Snake or you can use a manual Rothenberger Drain Snake like we used to use and is cheaper and it can be used with a battery drill, we used it with an 18 volt battery drill and it worked ok, 12 volt drill will probably be powerful enough

Use the drill on the slowest setting or you will damage the spring. The drain snake needs to worm its way through slowly using forward and reverse. To remove bits of wet wipes, tampa or any other foreign object from a waste pipe cut the drain snake spring with cutters and bend the end of the spring to form a hook, this will then catch the blockage and pull it out. Drain snakes will not go through 90 degree elbows.

18, My TurboFlush or Watergenie is blocked and won’t pump out

If you have the new Turboflush like the one they sell in Screwfix they are prone to toilet paper blockages.
Remove the toilet and look inside the pan connector to see if the Turboflush is full of toilet paper, if so read below.
Before you start spending any money remove the Turboflush, take it outside near a manhole in your garden if you have one, and undo the 6 clips which can be tricky and lift the cover off the box.

If the macerator box is full of no.2 and tissue tip the box out and rinse the box out with a hose pipe. Whilst the motor is out check the macerator blade turns freely before putting the machine back together, if its jammed remove whatever is jamming the blade. Clean the black rubber seal with WD40, put the seal back on the lid, spray around the top of the box with WD40 and put the lid back on.
Before fitting back in its location, power it up and the machine should run for a few seconds, that is a good sign, then fill it with water and point the 90 degree elbow away from the machine, if it pumps out the problem is solved, if its buzzing then the capacitor probably needs replacing.

When the Turboflush is almost full of water it will activate and pump out the water if not then check the air pipe is connected to the microswitch otherwise it won’t turn the machine on when filled with water

19, Macerator smells bad odours & sewage smells

Smells from macerators normally come from un-descaled macerator pumps. If the macerator is in a bathroom put your nose near the plug hole of a bath, basin or shower to see if that is the smell you are talking about.

If they don’t smell and the macerator hasn’t been descaled then it you should try descaling the macerator pump. you may need to descale it a few times for best results. There is a link to a product on our website called Prokleen, half the cost of Saniflo decscaler but just as good.
Reasons for smell macerators are because they are a human waste machine and there is alway a couple of inches of water left in the machine after use, this forms limescale with human waste in it and when the machine fills with water it pushes out dirty air, that is why you should descale often.
If you try that and the problem still exists then it may be something else. You can mix some descaler up and pour it down the plug holes to clean the pipes and the waste traps. See Macerator Descaler
20, My macerator is running intermittently
If your machine is running intermittently, first check the non return valve is not leaking if your Saniflo waste outlet pipe is running vertical up the wall, if your non return valve is not leaking then the microswitch or membrane may be defective. Other reasons for intermittent starting is water entering the Saniflo from overflowing toilet cisterns, faulty ball valves, water from dripping taps and showers, faulty push button flush mechanisms that leak water down the toilet pan. A quick test to determine if the cistern is leaking water, place some dry tissue paper under the back of the toilet rim, if the toilet paper gets wet quickly this would suggest that this is the most likeliest cause of your saniflo or any other macerator starting intermittently. Most new toilet flush mechanisms have internal overflows too and if the water filling valve is faulty or not set correctly this will send water in to your macerator pump and activate it.

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