Home Improvement

11 Common Saniflo Problems and Their Solutions

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If you are a responsible homeowner, you know that a well-maintained piping system is an important step to a well-maintained home. You probably don’t know the intricacies of how your home’s plumbing works, and that’s okay. A lot of people don’t even realize they are using a Saniflo system until it starts showing issues. And then, whether you want to or not, you’ll learn how it works as you deal with maintenance and repairs.

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But don’t worry! That’s why the professional plumbers of Fantastic Services are here to explain the most common Saniflo problems and give you an idea for their solutions. This article is for all of you who:

  • Own a Saniflo macerator pump;
  • Is experiencing plumbing issues, associated with the Saniflo system.
No matter how well you understand the problem, the Fantastic Services team recommends to never attempt plumbing repairs if you don’t have the appropriate skills and knowledge. Leave the job to the pros, for your sake.

What is Saniflo?

First thing’s first, what is the Saniflo system and what kind of job does it do in your house? In short, Saniflo is a brand of macerator pump that cuts and removes wastewater when the flushing location is too far from the drainage line. You also need a macerator pump to flush wastewater from below the drainage line (or simply said, against gravity). They’re a common feature in many homes, usually used in bathrooms and basements, but they can also be installed in kitchens.

Common Saniflo problems and their solutions

And here is a list of the most common issues you might encounter with your Saniflo macerator pump.

#1. Saniflo does not switch off

If the pump flushes and keeps flushing again and again, even when the macerator is clear, this could only mean there is a blockage somewhere in the system. Unfortunately, this blockage could be anywhere. The most common places you could find it is in the macerator, or in the pump. To clear the blockage, you would have to take them apart and get your hands dirty.

#2. Saniflo vibrates violently

Violent vibrations in the pump are always caused by a foreign object caught in the macerator blade. You will have to switch off the power and take it apart. But bear in mind, there would be a lot of waste and it will be tough on the eyes and nose. And hands.

#3. Saniflo activates on its own

If the pump randomly flushes at different times of the day and night, then you have a problem with the microswitch. It could be caused by a blockage that makes the switch think the tank is full and needs flushing. In that case, the solution is to clear the tank by hand, dispose of the waste around the microswitch and restart the pump. Another reason is that there could be damage in the rubber membrane, which could irreversibly break the switch. In this case, you would have to replace both the rubber membrane and the microswitch.

#4. Saniflo is blocked and backing up water

If you see blacked up water, then the problem is in the motor. The Saniflo motor could be jammed, which would also cause a humming or buzzing noise and the box will be hot. You’ll have to free up the motor as soon as possible.

#5. Saniflo trips the electrics

If the water pump continually trips the electrics, then it’s severely damaged. There is probably a fault in the motor seal and the motor could be full of water. This causes a thermal cut and is extremely dangerous to handle. The best solution is to switch off the power supply to the pump and contact a technician certified in Saniflo repairs.

#6. Saniflo foams up and leaks from the air vent

This issue is usually caused by an old microswitch. As time passes, the rubber membrane around the microswitch loosens and, as a result, the microswitch needs more and more pressure to activate. A quick solution is to replace the rubber membrane, but in some cases, you might need to replace the whole microswitch.

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#7. Saniflo has cut out mid-cycle while emptying

This usually happens when the motor overheats, because the system is connected to hot water heaters or washing machines. The motor will reactivate once it cools down. To avoid this, don’t use washing machine cycles on 90 degrees and turn down the thermostats of hot water heaters. If the bathtub is full of hot water, wait for it to cool down before emptying.

#8. Saniflo smells terrible

If you notice a strong smell of sewage coming from your Saniflo system, then it’s probably been a few years of usage and it needs a thorough clean. Even if nothing blocks the system, there will be waste deposits, and they will make themselves known. Follow the instructions manual for a proper clean and descaling.

#9. Saniflo doesn’t work well after descaling

This is a direct issue of improper maintenance. The Saniflo system needs to be cleaned with a specialized Saniflo descaler. The instruction manual mentions that specifically. However, for one reason or another, many people decide not to purchase the detergent and simply descale the pump with bleach. This is a big problem.

Bleach or other toilet cleaners can damage the rubber membrane, which in turn damages the microswitch. You might end up having to replace important parts. That’s why it’s not recommended to use other commercial products for descaling. The Saniflo Descaler has been specially formulated to clean and descale the system without damaging any of the parts.

#10. Saniflo activates when using the toilet but not the bath or sink

#This is usually caused by obstructions in the inlet pipes. Reaching the obstructions in the inlet pipes is tricky and recommended to be handled by a certified technician.

#11. Saniflo is running but not pumping out

You will usually encounter this problem in winter when there’s a high possibility of frozen pipes. In these cases, the waste might overflow, so you should switch off the system. Clean up the waste by hand. And later, place a few hot towels along the length of the waste pipe. With some luck, this would be enough to loosen the frozen blockage. This problem could be easily avoided if you invest in winter-proofing your pipes.

Do you need professional help with your plumbing?

There are a lot of Saniflo problems you could experience, and in most cases, they’re outside of your field of expertise. That’s why the Fantastic Services team recommends getting in touch with a professional as soon as you encounter an issue. And don’t forget that the macerator pump is not the only part that can get damaged after prolonged usage.

For any plumbing issues, you can get in touch with the reliable plumber team at Fantastic Services!

Visit the main website for price rates for our professional Saniflo services!


  • Saniflo is a brand of macerator pump used to flush wastewater from a location too far away from the drainage line, or from below it;
  • The most common issues in the Saniflo system usually come from waste blockage;
  • Most solutions involve taking apart the system and clearing the waste by hand;
  • If the problem has been there for a long time, you might have to replace different parts.


Have you experienced other Saniflo problems that we missed? Tell us in the comment section below!

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