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Plumbing Systems: Strategies To Improve Hygiene


I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, restroom and plumbing systems and hygiene.

As concerns related to disease and infection continue to make headlines, the public is paying even closer attention to the condition of restrooms in institutional and commercial buildings. As a result, maintenance managers are looking for new and better ideas for improving the hygiene of these areas. Studies have shown that one common way germs, bacteria and illnesses pass between people involves contact with untreated restroom fixtures, including toilets, urinals, sinks, and dispensers for paper towels, soaps and sanitizers. Each flush launches thousands of microbes into the air that fall onto surfaces and fixtures.

Besides the improved sanitation and odor reduction that result from plumbing upgrades that incorporate hands-free, sensor-operated flushers, they also can be very be cost-effective. They reduce water use due to the better-controlled flow times and volumes.

No-touch plumbing fixtures offer other benefits. For example, while occupants cannot see germs, they can see dingy surfaces and smell odors, and odor, poor cleanliness, and empty dispensers rank as the most common restroom complaints. Managers can eliminate sources of these complaints and, at the same time, improve hygiene and costs by planning upgrades that convert manually operated sink faucets, toilet flush handles, and paper hand cleaners to hands-free, sensor-operated units.

Technicians also can easily retrofit no-touch units onto existing fixtures. These fixtures are battery-operated and require battery changes only once a year. Automatic sink faucets and soap and paper dispensers also eliminate a major source of cross-contamination. The touch-free units make hand washing and drying much more sanitary, and touch-free hand dryers are faster and easier to use and do not require paper refills.

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