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Celebrating Urinal Month

The Cistermiser range of Urinal controls has been the backbone of the supplier’s smart, innovative water management solutions for over 40 years and as April is #UrinalMonth, Cistermiser MD Richard Braid comments on why the business is making this stalwart its hero product this month.

“Celebrating #UrinalMonth may not be a phrase you hear every day, and we all know how often urinals are overlooked due to their lack of glamour and quite frankly, ability to conjure up dank places we’d rather not go. However, like every other innovative engineered solution, we think intelligent urinal design controls deserve to be celebrated.  And here’s why:

Water Saving

Did you know? If the average Premier League stadium replaced their traditional urinals with toilet cubicles for male visitors, the additional water consumption on match days would be 38,676 litres (based on half the male attendance using the facilities, using 3 litres per toilet flush). Over the course of 19 home games during the season, that’s 734,844 extra litres of water used which in layman’s terms is the equivalent of 2 municipal public swimming pools sized 25 x 10 metres with an average depth of 1.5 metres.

No Loo Queue

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 ‘loo queue’ will become as men and women share the same facilities? Continuing to celebrate the humble urinal, here’s how their intelligent controls help keep our social lives running smoothly, from a day on the terraces to a night at the theatre.

Did you know? On men’s usage alone, the 21 seconds it takes to pee­­­­3 equates to 60 seconds in a cubicle or 35 seconds at a urinal. And that isn’t taking into consideration the time it takes for a traditional toilet cistern to refill after flushing. Urinals have no refill time. If footballs stadiums do, as some commentators have suggested, replace all urinals with traditional sit-down toilets the average Premier League stadium will need to provide WC toilet facilities to cater for 12,892 men (each taking 1 minute)4, which equals installation of 860 additional toilet cubicles in a stadium catering for the average 38,484 people.

If urinals were overlooked, the average Premier League stadium would have to install 860 new cubicles Based on the spaces required above, and the assumption of half the male crowd needing to relieve themselves, if space for only 400 cubicles could be found, half time would need to be extended to 30 minutes.

So urinals can be water-saving, space friendly and manage the throughput of large crowds. They can also be super-hygienic a critical factor in today’s pandemic hit society.

Did you know? On entering a washroom and using a WC toilet cubicle toilet* to pee, the touchpoints add up:

  1. Push/pull door open to enter washroom
  2. Push cubicle door open
  3. Push cubicle door closed
  4. Lock cubicle door
  5. Lift (and maybe clean) seat
  6. Lower (and maybe clean) seat
  7. Unlock cubicle door
  8. Pull open cubicle door
  9. Pull closed cubicle door
  10. Wash / dry hands
  11. Push/pull door open to exit washroom

When compared to using washrooms fitted with urinals, the hygienic advantages of urinals in high usage areas becomes clear:

  1. Push/pull door open to enter washroom
  2. Wash / dry hands
  3. Push/pull door open to exit washroom

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Powered or Powerless, the choice is yours

As part of Urinals’ Month, Cistermiser’s National Sales Manager Paul Stenning, looks at the options available to installers (VISIT BLOG HERE link to OWIW) and reviews product selection and fitting options for powered or powerless urinal flushing controls in male washrooms and the relative features and benefits of having WRAS approval; fit and forget; energy and water saving; value for money (one control for multiple urinals); wide availability through national and independent merchants and the ability to offer end-user choice.

No Power Required

First patented and launched over 40 years ago, the ingenious Cistermiser Hydraulic valve is arguably the industry standard for cistern-fed urinal applications. Since 1999, it has been recommended by the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations that a Hydraulic valve, or another equally effective automatic device, be fitted on every flushing urinal for regulating periods during which the cistern may fill. Look for WRAS approval.

Fit and Forget

The Hydraulic valve is fitted on the supply pipe to urinal cisterns in commercial washrooms and employs an entirely mechanical principle that prevents water wastage by ensuring that an auto-flush cistern is only filled, and can only flush, when the washroom is in use. It works by relying on a short-term pressure drop created by the use of nearby taps or WCs to open the valve, which otherwise remains closed, resulting in significant savings in both water consumption and cost.

The valve features an adjustment restrictor screw which can be set during installation to determine the volume of water discharged into the cistern at each operation, by altering the duration of the valve’s open period.

This clever diaphragm-operated valve doesn’t require any electrical power supply. Thanks to this practical advantage, more than 500,000 units have already been installed in the UK, providing ‘fit and forget’ quality, reliability and convenience.

Two types of Hydraulic valve are manufactured by Cistermiser:  the “Standard” model (stocked by leading Plumbers’ Merchants) which is designed to accommodate mains water or tank-fed gravity systems above 5m head and the “Low Pressure” model, which should be selected for tank-fed installations with 3-5m head.

An optional hygienic flush attachment is also available which permits a slow drip into the urinal cistern to initiate a flush approximately every 12 hours. For buildings where the washrooms are vacant for long periods, the hygienic flush attachment is useful to prevent odours.

The beauty of the Hydraulic valve is its simplicity. Over the 4 decades since its conception the mechanism hasn’t changed, proving that a quality design stands the test of time. It is the only mechanical urinal flushing control valve on the market and remains extremely popular with installers and property owners alike.

Infrared Control No Touch Solutions

Motion-sensing infrared control valves, rather than “no-power required” Hydraulic valves, are also popular for pubs, clubs and light commercial washrooms due to their water efficiency.

The Cistermiser IRC® (also stocked by leading Plumbers’ Merchants) automatically manages water supplies to the urinal cistern and is activated when the PIR sensor detects proximity of movement and triggers the solenoid valve, allowing water into the cistern.

All In One Box

The best thing about the IRC® is that everything you need is provided, all in one box. Supplied with a robust and proven brass-bodied solenoid valve assembly, the IRC® sensor features a compact body shape, an economy mode option to provide even greater water savings, a new-style adjustable mounting bracket for recessed cavity wall or ceiling installations and an improved design which allows clients to replace batteries in convenient fashion by simply removing the front fascia to access the battery compartment.

Designed with practicality in mind, the IRC® employs green, amber or red LED status alerts to guide installers and end users. These practical LEDs ensure that commissioning, testing and confirmation of water-saving operating mode can all be undertaken with ease. Once an IRC® has been fitted, the flow rate is set to suit the particular installation which is simply accomplished by adjusting the flow regulator screw at the base of the brass solenoid valve, to either decrease (clockwise turn) or increase (anti-clockwise turn) the flow of water.

Flexibility underpins the continued success of the best-selling Cistermiser IRC®. The sensor is adaptable and can be pipe, wall or ceiling mounted, surface-mounted or recessed to conceal the unit and reduce the risk of vandalism. The solenoid valve can be remotely sited up to a maximum of 10m away from the sensor, using the floating socket supplied and 1mm2 cable. The IRC® can be battery or mains-powered and 4 x AA batteries can also be used to provide back-up to mains supply, if required.

Annual water savings more than 80%

Fitting this market-leading product can reduce a client’s annual urinal water consumption by over 80%. In normal operating mode, the unit runs with a 30-minute cycle which means the cistern will flush a maximum of 2 times per hour. In economy operating mode, an additional delay of 15 minutes is provided before the normal mode cycle is activated, to save even more water.

Urinals Just Make Sense

In the light of COVID-19, some commentators are 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 provide facilities for men quickly and without endless queuing (plus associated social distancing tramlines) is with urinals in the good old ‘Gents’. And best of all, fitting the tried and tested powered IRC® or powerless mechanical Hydraulic flushing controls for cistern-fed urinals will conserve water resources.

Join Cistermiser in celebrating #UrinalsMonth #UrinalMonth #NoTouchSolutions #CommercialWashrooms

Urinal Flushing Control Valves save water and money – Cistermiser