A macerating toilet helps you solve the problem of transferring waste uphill to the sewer when you install a bathroom in a basement or at the bottom of a slope. It macerates -- grinds -- waste and pumps it under positive pressure to the sewer.

Modern, clean, bathroom with toilet and sink.
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A modern washroom.

Not Your Regular Gravity-Flush Toilet

You can recognize a macerating toilet by the presence of a tank on the floor behind the bowl. The toilet's waste outlet is behind it -- not underneath as it is for conventional toilets -- and it connects to the tank. The tank, which is plugged into a 120-volt ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, contains macerating blades that reduce all solid waste to liquid form. The tank also contains a pump that transfers the waste to the sewer via a much smaller waste pipe than a conventional toilet uses. When you flush a macerating toilet, the sound of the motor tells you that the unit is working.

Watch What You Flush

You use a macerating toilet in the same way you use a conventional, gravity-fed one, but you must be extra vigilant about what you flush. Items such as diapers and tampons can clog the macerating blades, and you won't be able to use the toilet until someone clears them, which is a less-than-appealing job.