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It May Be Time to Upgrade Your Hand Dryers

By Dan Storto

Quality built hand dryers are so durable and reliable and require so little maintenance, if any, that it is understandable if facility managers take them for granted. But as the years have gone by, those facility managers might be surprised to learn how advanced today’s high speed hand dryers are compared to earlier models. They especially might be interested in the energy cost savings new hand dryers offer over their predecessors, along with the much improved user experience. There are quite a few important considerations to make when deciding whether it’s finally time to upgrade your facility's hand dryers.

Consider that hand dryer technology has evolved quickly in recent years offering features the inventors of the original hand dryers surely never dreamed about. The first hand dryers appeared almost 100 years ago. In 1921, a company in New York patented a hand dryer that was operated by a floor pedal. Inventor George Clemens of Chicago is frequently credited with popularizing the hand dryer in the late 1940s. Facilities today don’t have hand dryers that old, of course, but they might have hand dryers that are 10, 15 or even 20 years old, which means they are missing out on the benefits of the latest models, including energy efficiency, hygienic features and much faster dry times. The new technologies incorporated in today's hand dryers are even playing an important role in the movement toward sustainable buildings.

Save on energy costs. The energy efficiency of hand dryers has soared in recent years, even with much more powerful motors. High-speed hand dryers consume 88 percent less energy than traditional hand dryers. These dryers can use as little as 950 watts of power while still drying hands in 12 seconds with heated air for user comfort. By contrast, traditional hand dryers use up to 2,300 watts and take 30 seconds to dry hands. Some modern hand dryers provide on-off heating and speed controls as well, allowing for even more energy savings. In addition to a smaller electric bill, energy efficiency means a reduced environmental impact. In fact, over its lifetime, a high-speed hand dryer produces three tons less CO2 than the production of the paper towels it replaces—saving tons of trees and the resources required to make paper as well as reducing the paper towel waste flowing into landfills.

Improve hygiene. Better hygiene is another critical consideration. Facility users today avoid touching surfaces that might contain germs, especially in restrooms. Modern high speed hand dryers offer touchless, automatic operation. Some next generation hand dryers also incorporate HEPA filtration systems to help remove contaminates from the air while in operation. Antimicrobial technology is another potential feature that inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus and extends the service life of the hand dryer. Moreover, faster dry times lead to dryer hands, which help reduce the spread of germs. And just like the traditional models, high-speed hand dryers eliminate the need to clean up wet, used paper towels throughout the day, improving cleanliness and saving maintenance costs.

Advancements in modern hand dryers go even further. For example, there are even some all-in-one high speed hand dryers that not only offer energy efficiency and hygienic features but are made in compact, sleek designs that are surface-mounted for ADA compliance.
Has the time to replace traditional hand dryers come for your facility? Consider these potential benefits:
•    Lower your electric bill and save on maintenance costs year after year
•    Offer cleaner and greener restrooms
•    Meet and exceed the expectations of your facility users for clean, touchless, automatic and fast hand drying


Modern hand dryers will bring years of great service, just like the traditional models of yesterday, but with more savings, sustainability and a better user experience.

Dan Storto is president for Berkeley, Ill.-based World Dryer (www.worlddryer.com), a global manufacturer of energy efficient, rapid-dry hand dryers. He can be reached at dstorto@worlddryer.com.