Husband and wife Mario and Ciarra Soto make a powerful construction team. Their specialty? Tiny homes.
Well-known to the modular house community, Mario Soto shares his renovation and builder knowledge at workshops and festivals around the country. The couple is not only passionate about building these homes, but they also love living in them. After residing in their first tiny home for four years, the couple recently decided they needed more space and began construction on a new, slightly-larger-but-still-tiny house.
Unlike the average American home, tiny homes usually have no connection to a municipal sewer system. Faced with the challenge of connecting to a septic system some distance away from where they were building, the duo explored a couple of options that would make the bathroom of their modular home feasible.
First, there was the possibility of conventional plumbing. However, the closest drainage hookup sits on the property of another residence across from the Sotos’ one-acre lot — 100 feet away. Creating a proper slope for a pipe run spanning this distance made conventional plumbing a difficult, time-consuming and ultimately impractical choice.
The second option was a composting system. The couple has enjoyed the simplicity and sustainability of a composting toilet in the past, but ultimately ruled it out due to the high level of maintenance, long-term.
So Mario Soto continued his search for a third, more practical option that would provide the lifestyle simplicity they sought, as well as the comfort that would turn their tiny house into a fully functioning home.
The search for the perfect solution led the Sotos to the Saniaccess 2, a macerating toilet system made by Saniflo that could pump effluent the required vertical and horizontal distance.
“I was impressed,” Mario Soto says. “This product opened our eyes — no other toilet would work so well for our unique situation.”
Equipped with a 1/2 horsepower pump and macerator blades that rotate at 3,600 rpm, the Saniaccess 2 will pump away effluent up to 15 feet below the sewer line or up to 150 feet from a soil stack that drains into a sewer system or a septic tank. The centrifugal force of the rotating blades causes the reduced solids to be ejected through a grill into the container where it is picked up by the impeller pump mounted beneath the motor. The effluent is then discharged through a 0.75-inch inlet, located on the top of the pump housing. The unit has another 1.5-inch side inlet for venting the system.
Intended to handle black-water waste from a toilet, the Saniaccess 2 will also discharge gray water from a second fixture, such as a sink. As a consequence, the Saniaccess 2 is most often used to create a smaller half-bathroom in residential applications like that of the Soto family.
The Saniaccess 2 was placed directly behind the toilet, eliminating the need to break through the wall. This also offered room to connect a bidet, an essential for the Soto family, that drains into the Saniaccess 2.
PQ: “I was impressed,” Mario Soto says. “This product opened our eyes — no other toilet would work so well for our unique situation.”
In their case, the Saniaccess 2 was placed directly behind the toilet, eliminating the need to break through the wall. This also offered room to connect a bidet, an essential for the Soto family, that drains into the Saniaccess 2. Their system is connected to a 3/4-inch discharge pipe that moves drainage across the property to the septic system.
After reading the “really simple instructions and easy-to-follow diagrams,” Mario and Ciarra Soto were able to assemble the system themselves in under an hour. By the time professional plumber Steven Davisson of Plumbing Kings arrived on the job site, “everything that would normally take me time was set up and ready to go,” he explains. All Davisson had to do was connect the discharge pipe and double-check that everything else was in its proper place.
In short, the installation went very smoothly, according to Mario Soto. “Our biggest ‘challenge’ was deciding where to put the pump system — behind the toilet or beside it!”
How do the Sotos feel about their new bathroom now?
“We have been telling all our friends about how much we love the Saniaccess 2,” Ciarra Soto says. “The operation is so fast and quiet, the system relieved our fears of a middle-of-the-night loud flush in our tiny home.”
“There have been no installation or operational issues, and we now have a bathroom setup that checked all of our boxes,” Mario Soto adds.