Can I Have a Toilet in my Basement?

09/05/13 8:58 AM

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

If you know that water flows downhill because of gravity, you might assume that you cannot install a toilet in a basement because the water cannot flow up from that level.

My advice… finish your homework because you have more to learn.

First, learn how your current toilet and other plumbing fixtures drain from your home.  If you are hooked up to a public sewer system, the pipes may leave your house from below the floor of your basement.  In that case, you may only need to cut into the cement to hook into that system when installing a new bathroom.

Of course, it’s not easy to cut into cement to add plumbing but that’s another blog.

If your drainage is not below the level of your new basement toilet, then you’ll need to consider other options.

One is a sewage-ejector system, which consists of a basin to hold the wastewater with a pump to move the material up a pipe that ties into your existing plumbing.  There are some things to consider in this type of setup, including capacity.  You’ll want to buy the right size unit for this job and, again, there’s going to be some cutting into the basement floor to install the basin.  It’s going to hold about 30 gallons of liquid so the hole has to be a good size.

I strongly recommend making a trip to your town hall and talk with your local building official.  The last thing you want to do is invest in a system and begin installation only to discover that your local building codes don’t allow it.  While you’re there, you can bone up on what you’ll need to do to pull the right permits.  Don’t bother trying to get around that.  It’s pennies on the dollar to do it the legal way and those inspections are really there to help you, not screw you over.  You want this done right because, well… the wrong way could mean a nasty mess.  Really nasty.  Enough said.

If you want to avoid any concrete work, think about installing an upflushing toilet.  These use a quiet pump that not only break up solids but also move them and associated liquids vertically.  Depending on how you set up the new bathroom, it can hide behind a wall.  However, if it needs to be out in view, it’s not unsightly.

Whatever way you go, there’s going to be plumbing and electrical work.  You either do the homework on those or call a professional like me, Classic Plumbing by Reno at 860-748-7305.

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