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Article: Urinals – Saving Water, Saving Time And Maintaining Hygiene

In the light of COVID-19, some commentators are now suggesting that this may signal an end of urinals in favour of fitting individual toilet cubicles in male washrooms, but for any venue with busy peak-traffic times (e.g. theatre intervals or half time at football matches), the best way to sort the boys quickly without endless queuing (and associated social distancing tramlines) is with urinals in the good old ‘Gents’… And best of all, urinals conserve water resources.

Tried And Tested Solutions

First patented and launched by Cistermiser over 40 years ago, the ingenious Hydraulic valve is arguably the industry standard for cistern-fed urinal applications. An automatic, purely mechanical method of supplying water to a urinal, the Hydraulic valve (which is normally in the ’closed’ position) uses a simple mechanism that prevents waste by ensuring an auto-flush cistern is only filled, and can only flush, when the washroom is used. Thanks to the fact that this clever Hydraulic valve doesn’t require any power supply, more than 500,000 units have been installed in the UK.

Occupancy-sensing infrared control valves, rather than no-power hydraulic valves, are also popular for commercial washrooms due to their water efficiency. Products like the Cistermiser IRC® which automatically manage supply to the urinal cistern and are activated when the PIR sensor detects proximity movement and triggers the solenoid valve, can reduce water consumption by a staggering 80%.

Alternatively, infrared sensor-controlled ‘Direct Flush’ mains-fed urinal valves are also available and often installed in up-market commercial building washroom applications. These automatically flush individual urinals after use, thus ensuring the highest levels of hygiene from the minimum volume of cold water supplies. ‘Discreet’ sensor and easy-maintenance ‘Accessible’ sensor plate with solenoid valve configurations can be specified, depending on the aesthetic design effect required.

Urinals Just Make Sense

We are currently seeing a rise in the popularity of ‘gender neutral’ washrooms across schools, coffee shops and theatres, but we shouldn’t forget that the classic urinal array in a traditional ‘Gents’ is there for a reason. It offers a fast and effective way to process high volume traffic in male washrooms, and with the use of mechanical Hydraulic valves or occupancy-sensing infrared control valves, is also able to offer significant water conservation and hygiene benefits.

We’ve all encountered bottle-necks during sports event or concert intervals, when suddenly (and within a short space of time) large numbers of people need to use the toilet facilities. If urinals or even gender-specific washrooms are completely overlooked in future building designs or facilities planning, imagine how much worse the already much-maligned, traditional ‘queue for the Ladies’ will become as men and women share the same facilities? And a need to maintain social distancing tramlines whilst queuing will add a further layer of complexity, to exacerbate the problems.

For more information about urinal control solutions, please visit

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