What is an Upflush Toilet?

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  • Written By: Robyn Clark
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Upflush toilets are toilets that use a pump to move waste upward to a drain. An upflush toilet can be installed in conditions that make the installation of a standard toilet difficult or expensive. It is a popular choice for basement bathrooms, where installing a standard toilet would require additional labor to remove and then replace the concrete floor in order to accommodate the drain. If the level of the bathroom is below the drain for the sewage system or septic tank, then an upflush toilet may be the only workable solution.

The pipes for an upflush toilet are almost always smaller in diameter than standard toilet pipes. Earlier upflush models were often unreliable, due to issues with the motor of the pump and with clogging. Many newer designs include a macerator, which grinds the solid waste into a liquid slurry before flushing to prevent clogging. Some consumers have complained that upflush toilets are nosier than standard toilets, although improvements in the design of the pumps have made the operation of newer models nearly as quiet as flushing a standard toilet. The other common disadvantage of an upflush toilet is that the water level in the bowl is lower, which makes the bowl harder to keep clean.


While prices vary by manufacturer, upflush toilets are typically more expensive than a regular toilet. The ease of installation and lack of demolition prior to installation will typically offset the price difference, particularly in houses with slab foundations. The toilets can also be installed in converted garages, and for use in temporary facilities. Depending on the specifications of the pump, the waste can be lifted as much as 12 feet (3.66 m) to reach the drain. The model specifications will indicate how long of a distance the pump can move waste both vertically and horizontally, and what size pipes are required.

Different models of upflush toilets are available online, although many consumers prefer to have a contractor select and source the model that is best suited to the bathroom location. A plumber can usually install an upflush toilet in less than one day. Local plumbing codes may prohibit the use of upflush toilets, or place restrictions on the installation. There may be specific requirements for the size of the main drain pipe, for the pump itself, or for the type of vents installed. Most manufacturers advise consulting with a contractor or licensed plumber prior to installation.


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