BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management

07/24/2012

Touch-Free Washroom Retrofit Benefits

Touch-free washroom retrofits can cut down on waste and cross-contamination with automation

By Janelle Penny

 

Retrofit your washroom with touchless fixtures to increase the likelihood of proper handwashing practices.

Troubleshoot Post-Install Issues
If the sensor isn’t functioning like it should after the installation, troubleshoot first – the problem might be as simple as a dead battery, which is often the culprit with otherwise low-maintenance fixtures.

“Most batteries are good for a certain number of uses, usually over18 months to two years,” says Bob Benazzi, former senior partner at Jaros Baum & Bolles, a mechanical and electrical consulting and engineering firm. “With a two-year battery life, I would replace all the batteries in the building in the 18th month.”

Sensors in a wired fixture may go out of alignment if a vandal tampers with the electronic eye or hits the fixture so hard that the sensor inside is jostled out of place, Benazzi says.

“Manufacturers have become more sophisticated with sensing systems,” adds Dave Fisher, engineer of research and development at World Dryer. “For example, if something is continually in the sensing zone, our system assumes that someone’s vandalized the unit. It may not operate, but it’s not continually running or switching on and off.”

Touchfree products typically require less maintenance because eliminating the need to touch the product reduces the potential for abuse, Nortier says. If your area has high sediment, check your faucet’s solenoid valve and filter for damage. Continue regular soap and towel checks to ensure an adequate supply.

Otherwise, you may be able to decrease more time-intensive maintenance to annual or semiannual tasks, such as blowing out the hand dryer’s insides with compressed air.

“You can lower energy and operational costs with touchless hand dryers and other products and reduce water use with touchless faucets,” Gagnon says. “All of those costs are eliminated by using high-efficiency touchless fixtures.”

 

Janelle Penny (janelle.penny@buildings.com) is associate editor of BUILDINGS.

 


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