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How Much Does It Cost to Install and Maintain Waterless Urinals?

waterless urinal

You’ve probably heard that waterless urinals save on water bills, but how do the costs to install and maintain these urinals really add up? Initial costs for both waterless and traditional urinals are similar, but the real savings are found in the ongoing expenses for using, cleaning, and maintaining your waterless urinals. Read on to see the breakdown of costs and how much you can save by making the switch.

Initial Costs

Whether you opt for a traditional urinal or a no-flush option, you can expect to have some initial expenses to purchase the urinals and have them installed. However, you may be surprised to learn that the cost of purchase and installation for a waterless urinal is about the same, or sometimes less, than a standard urinal.

While there are many brands and styles of waterless urinals on the market, the average cost is somewhere between $300 and $800. Without a flushing mechanism, installation is often easier for waterless urinals. Typically, the installation itself may cost around $300, but your plumber may charge anywhere from $60 to $90 per hour for labor.

Ongoing Costs 

There are some ongoing costs associated with cleaning and maintaining your waterless urinals, but you’ll find they are often much lower than the costs of maintaining traditional urinals. These costs include:

Utility Costs

This is where you’ll find the biggest savings. Most traditional urinals use between 1 and 3 gallons per flush, with older models pumping out up to 5 gallons! According to the EPA, a standard urinal could use up to 26,000 gallons of water a year, and that will certainly impact your utility bill. As the name suggests, waterless urinals are waterless. This means that no matter how many times the urinal is used, it won’t impact your utility bills at all!

Cleaning Costs

If you currently have traditional urinals in your restrooms, your cleaning crew probably uses strong chemicals, scrub brushes, and plenty of water to keep them clean. The process of cleaning a no-flush urinal is much simpler. In fact, harsh chemicals and scrubbing could damage the urinal’s nonporous basin. To clean a waterless urinal, simply spray it with a manufacturer-recommended cleaner and wipe it with a soft cloth. This not only saves on the costs of cleaning products, but it also saves time for your crew!

Maintenance Costs

A broken urinal can set you back time and money, not to mention frustration from your employees and customers. With a traditional urinal, common problems include a broken flushing mechanism or a clog in the drain line. Fortunately, a waterless urinal is much easier to maintain. Not only is there no flushing mechanism to worry about, but the cartridge and seal at the base of the urinal also keep items like toilet paper out of the drain line, making clogs and repairs almost impossible.

For your waterless urinal to continue functioning properly, the cartridge and seal inside the drain opening will need to be replaced regularly. These should be replaced every 6 months in a high-traffic restroom, or up to a year in less frequented restrooms. You can expect to pay around $50 to $100 per cartridge.

Odor Control Costs

It may sound a bit unpleasant, but when a traditional urinal is flushed, it can spray small particles of urine and bacteria into the air. This can lead to foul odors in the restroom and nearby spaces. Often, urinal cakes and deodorizers are used to mask the smell, leading to additional costs. Because waterless urinals aren’t flushed, they don’t spray particles into the air, and the cartridge and seal keep any foul odors trapped in the drain line, without the added costs of masking the smell.

Additional Savings

Because waterless urinals are more environmentally friendly, many utility companies are incentivizing their use. Your utility company may offer rebates and incentives when you install your waterless urinals. Incentives could even include partial or full reimbursement for the equipment itself. Be sure to contact your utility company before purchasing your waterless urinals to learn about the potential for these additional savings.

Switching to Waterless Urinals Could Lead to Big Savings

If you’re a business owner deciding between traditional or waterless urinals for your building, the answer is clear. While the cost to purchase and install both options is fairly close, the similarities stop there. Ongoing costs for cleaning and maintenance are much lower with waterless urinals, but the real savings will appear in your utility bills. Imagine bringing your yearly water usage from 26,000 gallons per toilet to 0 gallons per toilet! The choice is clear. With waterless urinals, you save time, money, and the environment.

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How Long Does a Waterless Urinal Cartridge Last

When people purchase waterless urinals for their businesses, it’s often because they want to reduce utility costs or initiate more environmentally friendly habits. What many business owners don’t realize is that the decision to switch to waterless urinals also drastically reduces cleaning and maintenance for janitorial staff. Other than a simple cleaning with a manufacturer-approved cleaning spray, the only other task for your cleaning crew is to change out the cartridges inside the urinal. While most products recommend swapping out after three to six months, other factors could determine the lifespan of the cartridge. Read on to learn more about waterless urinal cartridges and how often they should be replaced.

What is a Waterless Urinal Cartridge?

A traditional urinal functions by releasing water into the bowl of the urinal, which washes urine into the drain. Not only can this process use one or more gallons of water per flush (depending on the age of the urinal), but it also releases odor and bacteria into the restroom. A waterless urinal doesn’t have a standard drain or flushing system. Instead, it relies on a cartridge affixed at the top of the drain pipe to drain urine from the bowl. The result is a cleaner, water-saving product that reduces odors, too.

The waterless urinal cartridge contains a sealant made of an oil-based liquid that is less dense than the urine itself. Once the liquid waste passes through the cartridge, the liquid in the sealant displaces the urine, which then makes its way into the drain pipe and out to the sewer system. A key also locks the cartridge into the opening of the drain pipe, which creates a tight seal, keeping odors and bacteria in the pipe, not the restroom.

Factors that Determine the Lifespan of a Waterless Urinal Cartridge 

While there are industry standards about how long a waterless urinal cartridge should last, there are some factors that could determine the lifespan of the cartridges in your particular restroom. The first determining factor is how often the urinal is used. Each time urine passes through the cartridge, some uric acid is filtered out, and over time, the liquid inside the sealant may become more dense, slowing the drainage process. For that reason, a high-traffic urinal, like those at a football stadium or airport, would probably need to be replaced more frequently than those at a mid-sized office building.

The other thing to keep in mind is a manufacturer’s recommendations. Some waterless urinal cartridges may cost a bit less but require more frequent replacements than their competitors. Be sure to read the instructions and guidelines carefully before installing your cartridges.

In addition, improper maintenance could reduce the lifespan of your waterless urinal cartridge. Adding large amounts of water to the bowl during cleaning can break down the liquid in the sealant more quickly, which could result in the need for more frequent cartridge replacements. Instead of using water to clean the urinal, use a simple cleaning spray instead.

How Often Should a Waterless Urinal Cartridge Be Changed?

Cleaning staff should plan to change waterless urinal cartridges every three to six months. Of course, those bathrooms in high-traffic areas may require more frequent changes. Regardless of these guidelines, however, if you notice foul odors coming from your waterless urinals, or if drainage slows, the waterless urinal cartridges likely need to be changed. Consider keeping records of when cartridges are changed to learn patterns and anticipate the need.

Consider the ZeroFlush Waterless Urinal System from Purleve

If you’re looking for a high-quality waterless urinal system that reduces water and energy costs, the ZeroFlush system of products may be right for you. The ZeroFlush EnviroSeal includes BioPur enzyme-based blocks that drastically reduce odors. It’s made of recycled materials and can last up to 45,000 uses, making this already low-maintenance option even easier to maintain throughout the year.

Changing Your Waterless Urinal Cartridges

Waterless urinal cartridges perform two important functions: draining liquid waste from the bowl and keeping odors in the drain pipe. While cartridges can often last several months, it’s important to change them regularly to avoid slow drainage and foul odors. Please read the manufacturer’s instructions and consider their guidelines for replacement. However, it would be best to be mindful of how often the restroom is used. Higher-traffic bathrooms are more likely to require frequent cartridge changes to avoid issues. If you’re looking for a waterless urinal cartridge with a longer lifespan, consider the ZeroFlush EnviroSeal kit that can last up to 45,000 uses. Not only will your waterless urinals function properly with no odor, but your janitorial staff will love the easy maintenance, as well!

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The Cost Savings of No-Flush Urinals

Money Going in Jar

As a business owner or building manager, finding ways to save money is probably forefront in your mind. You’ve heard about the environmental benefits of installing no-flush urinals, but did you know that you could save money as well? From reduced utility bills to minimal maintenance, those savings could add up quickly! Here’s a breakdown on what you can expect when you install waterless urinals in your business, healthcare facility, or government agency.

What’s a No-Flush Urinal

A no-flush urinal, also known as a waterless urinal, is an environmentally conscious, budget-friendly solution for any public restroom. Unlike traditional urinals that use a flushing mechanism to release water into the bowl, a no-flush urinal has no flushing mechanism or need for water. Instead, the sloped, nonporous bowl leads urine to a cartridge and seal in the drain. Once the urine enters the cartridge, it is pushed into the drain pipe, and the seal keeps odors and gasses inside the pipe from making it into the restroom itself.

Though the functionality is quite different, no-flush urinals actually look fairly similar to their traditional counterparts. You can purchase them in fiberglass, stainless steel, and vitreous China. Waterless urinals can easily be integrated into your existing plumbing system as well.

Upfront Costs

When comparing costs, most business owners look at the initial investment, and rightly so. While you’ll see there are many other factors at play when it comes to saving money with no-flush urinals, the upfront costs of the equipment are an important part of the budget. Fortunately, you’ll find the costs quite comparable.

Traditional urinals can cost anywhere from $200 to $900, depending on the style you choose. When you opt for a waterless, no-flush urinal, you can expect to pay between $300 and $800. Most traditional urinals also use urinal cakes or deodorizers, which cost around $2 and typically need to be replaced every 10 to 30 days. Alternatively, the cartridges in waterless urinals should be replaced, on average, every 6 months (or up to a year in less frequented restrooms) and cost between $50 to $100.

Saving Money with No-Flush Urinals

Utility Costs

As the name suggests, swapping your traditional urinals for a waterless option can create a huge savings in your utility costs. According to the EPA, a standard urinal in the average public restroom uses up to 26,000 gallons of water per year. Imagine reducing that number to zero!

Cleaning Costs

Traditional urinals require strong chemicals, scrub brushes, and even more water to keep them properly cleaned. When it comes to cleaning a no-flush model, regular spraying of a manufacturer recommended cleaner is all that is needed. Your maintenance team won’t even need to scrub them! This not only saves time, it saves on cleaning products and even more water, as well.

Maintenance Costs

When a urinal is broken, it can take quite a bit of time and money to get it up and running again. Many issues with traditional urinals are due to the flushing mechanism inside. Because waterless urinals don’t contain a flushing mechanism, they are much easier to maintain. The cartridge and seal in the drain also drastically reduces the number of clogs and blockages in the drain line.

Odor Control Costs

When a standard urinal is flushed, it can actually spray particles of urine and bacteria into the air, creating an unpleasant odor that can often be detected even outside the restroom. A no-flush solution uses a seal to keep odors and gasses in the drain pipe, not the building. This will save on air fresheners, deodorizers, and more.

Additional Savings 

In addition to saving on utility bills, maintenance, and cleaning supplies, you may also save on the purchase of your no-flush urinals. Many water utility companies will offer rebates and incentives to business owners that install waterless urinals. These incentives could range from a partial reimbursement to a full reimbursement for the equipment itself. Be sure to check with your utility company to learn about your potential savings.

Save Money with No-Flush Urinals

When it comes to saving your business money, there’s no comparison. While the initial costs for standard and waterless urinals are around the same price, that’s where the similarities end. Without a gallon of water or more with every flush, you could save big on utility bills. You’ll save even more water when it comes to cleaning your new urinals, and maintenance costs will be drastically reduced. Check to see if your local water utility company is offering incentives, and you may be able to save even more on the cost of your equipment. When you choose to install no-flush urinals, it won’t just benefit the environment but your operating costs too.

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Do Waterless Urinals Smell Bad?

Janitorial Equipment

If you’re thinking about installing waterless urinals, you might be wondering about unpleasant restroom odors for your customers, patients, or employees. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that waterless urinals are actually designed to cut down on restroom odors. As long as you properly clean and maintain your new no-flush urinals, those unpleasant odors will stay in the drain pipe, not your restrooms.

How Waterless Urinals Work

A waterless urinal is an environmentally-friendly and cost-saving alternative to traditional urinals. Rather than employing a flushing mechanism to move water and urine through the drain, a waterless urinal is designed to clear the basin without the use of water. When this no-flush urinal is used, urine flows toward a disposable cartridge and seal within the drain.

The cartridge contains a liquid that is lighter than urine, so when the waste enters, it sinks to the bottom and then through the drain. The seal completely closes the drain at the base of the urinal. This keeps all of the gasses and odors in the drain, not the restroom.

Using Waterless Urinals Can Reduce Odor in Your Restrooms

Many people assume that traditional urinals would control odor better than no-flush models, simply because the water would wash down the urine and any smells that come with it. However, that’s often not the case. Flushable urinals may rinse the basin with each use, but they are also spraying particles of urine and bacteria throughout the air. Business owners typically use urinal cakes to combat the smell, but instead of eliminating odors, they only mask them. Waterless urinals, on the other hand, may actually reduce the unpleasant odors in your restrooms in a variety of ways.

Urine Can’t Stick to the Bowl

Purleve ZeroFlush urinals are made of stainless steel or vitreous China. These non-porous surfaces keep the urine from sticking to the side of the bowl. In addition, the design includes a deep, sloped bowl which quickly pulls urine toward the drain, rather than letting it linger inside the basin. Alternately, when a traditional urinal is flushed repeatedly, limescale begins to form, and it can start to absorb the urine before it makes its way to the drain.

Less Bacterial Growth

Urine on its own is actually sterile. It’s not until the urine is mixed with water that bacteria begin to grow and spread. Waterless urinals drastically reduce bacterial growth inside the bowl, and they also keep particles from being propelled into the air when flushed.

The Seal is Designed to Keep Odors Away

Urinal cakes may be slightly effective at covering up odors with a chemically created scent, but they cannot completely eliminate odors in the bowl and drain. A seal is designed to do just that. As urine runs through the seal and cartridge, the seal completely closes off the drain, blocking any odors or gasses from the drain from making their way into the restroom.

Properly Maintaining and Cleaning Waterless Urinals

Waterless urinals have been designed to keep unpleasant odors at bay, so if you begin to detect a smell from your restrooms, it’s likely a sign that cleaning or maintenance is needed. It’s important to note, however, that your no-flush urinals should not be cleaned in the same way you’ve been cleaning your traditional urinals.

Fortunately, it’s actually easier to clean a waterless urinal. Simply spray the inside of the bowl regularly with a manufacturer approved cleaner. This will break down any residual urine organically, without the need for scrubbing or even rinsing. In fact, scrubbing and rinsing the inside of the toilet could damage the smooth surface, creating tiny cracks or limescale where urine can begin to collect. For this reason, be sure to train your cleaning staff on this new cleaning method.

Replacing your cartridges and seals is one more factor in keeping odors away. Over time, the chemical agent inside the cartridge will begin to deplete, and the seal, which is responsible for keeping odors and gasses inside the drain, could loosen. There are a wide variety of cartridges on the market. Some may need replacement after 1500 flushes, while others could last up to 7500 flushes, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and replace these items as needed.

Making the switch to waterless urinals won’t just save on your utility bills, it could save on cleaning, maintenance, and unpleasant odors as well! With its non-porous finish and no-flush design, urine and bacteria won’t stick to the side of the bowl or be sprayed throughout the room. Cleaning couldn’t be easier, either. A simple spray of manufacturer recommended cleaner and regular replacement of the cartridge and seal is all that is needed to keep your water bills down and your restroom smelling great for years to come.

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Why Your Business Should Switch to Waterless Urinals

Four Waterless Urinals on Bathroom Wall

Are you looking for ways for your business to save money and help the environment? You may be surprised that the answer could lurk in your restrooms! Many companies, from medical facilities to restaurants and stadiums, are switching to waterless urinals, which can reduce water usage by thousands of gallons per toilet every year. They’re easy to install and can integrate into existing bathrooms, so whether you are planning a new build or looking to retrofit an existing restroom, waterless urinals can be the cost-saving, environmentally-friendly solution you were looking for.

What is a Waterless Urinal?

When a traditional urinal is emptied using a flushing mechanism, water is introduced to the basin to move the urine through the drain. Waterless urinals work differently. When someone uses a waterless, or no-flush, urinal, the urine flows to the drain without the use of water. The drain is fitted with a specifically designed cartridge to handle the odors associated with urine. These cartridges employ a variety of patented technologies that incorporate traps and oil based barriers to keep the urine smells out of the bathroom.

While the functionality of a waterless urinal is different, the look of the urinal is quite similar. In fact, you may have seen or used a no-flush urinal without even realizing it! They can be purchased in fiberglass, stainless steel, and vitreous China, and most waterless urinals are designed to fit into conventional and existing plumbing systems. This means making the switch to waterless is easier than you think.

The Benefits of Using Waterless Urinals for Your Business

Save Money
According to the EPA, older traditional urinals can use up to 26,000 gallons of water per year. At the same time, newer models are now restricted to 1 gallon per flush, which could quickly add up, especially in public spaces with heavy restroom usage. The alternative is a waterless urinal, which uses only a few gallons of water per year for cleaning and maintenance. This drastic reduction in utility costs could allow you to invest in and grow other areas of your business.

Increase Hygiene
While it can be unpleasant to think about, traditional toilets and urinals spray particulates into the air every time they are flushed. Users are also exposed to bacteria and microbes when they pull down on the flushing mechanism. Waterless urinals provide a no-touch solution for users, and bacteria remain in the basin itself, not the air. Increased hygiene in the bathroom could impact your employees’ health and your patients’ safety over time.

Reduce Odors
Have you ever walked past a public bathroom and smelled urine, even while the door was closed? That’s because flushable urinals spray urine particles throughout the air, and the standard odor control, the urinal cake, may not catch all of the urine as it travels toward the drain. The drain in a waterless urinal is designed to control odors. Once the urine moves through the cartridge, it, and the odor that comes with it, is sealed tightly in the drain pipe. This means no one outside the bathroom should catch a lingering smell.

Simplify Maintenance
The waterless urinal’s simple design is one of its best features. Without a flushing mechanism, water tank, or flapper, the need for repairs is minimal. Regular replacement of the cartridge and seal, along with minor cleaning, is all that is needed to keep your waterless urinal working effectively for years to come.

The Environmental Impacts of Switching to Waterless Urinals

Everyone understands the importance of water conservation, but making changes to our daily habits, from watering the lawn less frequently to taking quicker showers, aren’t always easy or enjoyable. Fortunately, switching to waterless urinals isn’t just simple, it’s beneficial to your business, and the impact will be huge. Imagine saving 26,000 gallons of water per toilet per year!

The U.S. Green Building Council recognizes this impact, as well. If you are looking to qualify for LEED certification, installing waterless urinals will help your business earn credits for water reduction. Your water utility company may even offer rebates or incentives for making the switch to a no-flush system.

Consider Waterless Urinals for Your Business

Installing waterless urinals provides many benefits to both your business and the environment. Are you looking for a solution backed by years of proven technology? The Purleve ZeroFlush Urinal, in combination with Purleve Liquid Odor Barrier and Purleve EnviroSeal, is a waterless system that is easy to install and even easier to maintain. As your utility bills drop, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that you aren’t just saving money, you’re benefitting the environment as well.

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How Do Waterless Urinals Work?

Restroom Signs

The green building movement has taken off in recent years, and for good reason. Not only are green building products environmentally friendly, they can often save money as well. Whether you’re thinking of applying for LEED certification or you simply want a more economical choice for your restrooms, consider making the switch to waterless urinals.

What is a Waterless Urinal?

Unlike a traditional urinal, which uses both water and a flushing mechanism to move urine through the drain line, a waterless urinal (also known as a no-flush urinal) is an environmentally friendly option with a simple design. According to the EPA, older traditional urinals can use up to 26,000 gallons of water per year, while current federal standards require a urinal to use no more than 1 gallon per flush. A no-flush urinal, on the other hand, uses just a few gallons per year in maintenance and cleaning.

While they function quite differently than a conventional urinal, these no-flush options can be easily integrated into existing bathrooms. Most waterless urinals are designed to fit into conventional plumbing systems, making for easy installation. Like traditional urinals, they can be purchased in fiberglass, vitreous china, and stainless steel.

Where Waterless Urinals are Typically Used

Because most waterless urinals can easily be installed with traditional plumbing, they can be used anywhere a conventional urinal can be found. However, because of their cost-saving nature, they have become the popular choice for government buildings, military facilities, and even some school districts. Places that see a large influx of visitors, like stadiums, museums, and aquariums, are also making the switch to waterless urinals.

In addition, waterless urinals are commonly installed in:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Office buildings
  • Shopping malls

How Waterless Urinals Work

When you think of waterless toilets, a port-a-potty or compostable park toilet may come to mind. Thankfully, a waterless urinal is clean and odorless, much more like a conventional urinal than those off-the-grid options. Once the urinal is used, gravity carries the urine from the sloped basin to a trap, which consists of a disposable cartridge and seal.

The cartridge is filled with a liquid or chemical that is less dense than the urine, helping it flow through the trap and down the drain. The seal prevents odors and sewer gasses from making their way into the restroom. If the cartridge is replaced regularly, the no-flush system will continue to work effectively and odorlessly.

Benefits of Using a Waterless Urinal

Whether you are building a new facility or considering making a change in your existing restrooms, a waterless urinal comes with many benefits for you, your business, and your guests. These include:

  • Water Conservation: Consider eliminating up to 26,000 gallons of water per toilet, per year! Not only is that better for the environment, it’s better for your budget!
  • Rebates: Your water utility company may offer rebates or incentives for making the switch. This could help cover some of the cost of purchasing or installing your waterless urinals. 
  • Green Certification: If you are looking to qualify for the LEED program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, this is a great start. Installing waterless urinals will help you earn credits for water reduction.
  • Cleaner Air: While it’s not pleasant to think about, the water in toilets and traditional urinals often carries bacteria that can be released into the air when flushed. A waterless urinal requires no flushing and dries out between uses to keep bacteria from spreading through the air.
  • Hygiene: Waterless urinals are completely touch-free, without the need to pull a handle or push a button. This helps reduce the chance of cross-contamination.
  • Fewer Repairs: While regular maintenance is necessary, the absence of a flushing mechanism drastically reduces the need for repairs. In addition, without water moving through the system regularly, clogs and overflows will be minimal.

Tips for Cleaning and Maintenance

Like traditional urinals, waterless urinals will require regular maintenance to continue working efficiently. Follow manufacturer recommendations on the lifespan of the cartridge and change it as needed. If the liquid inside the cartridge dissipates, it can have an effect on drainage and odor control.

Cleaning and disinfecting the urinals is simple. Most can be cleaned with a spray cleaner and soft cloth. Manufacturers typically advise against using too much water in the cleaning process, which can affect the liquid in the trap and lead to clogs in the line.

Purleve ZeroFlush can Save Time and Money

Are you considering waterless urinals for your business? Purleve ZeroFlush is a waterless system backed by years of proven technology. Whether you are focused on the environment or innovation, ZeroFlush can provide you cost savings and improve your restroom sanitation without odors or difficult maintenance. Combined with the Purleve Liquid Odor Barrier System or Purleve EnviroSeal, you’ll have an easy-to-install, high-quality urinal system that won’t just rival conventional urinal systems, it’ll surpass them.

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Installation & Maintenance Guide – PurLeve ZeroFlush Odor Barrier Insert

ZeroFlush Liquid Odor Barrier

The PurLeve ZeroFlush Odor Barrier is designed to eliminate strong odors in your zero water urinal system. With a quick and easy installation along with simple daily maintenance, the odor barrier insert is the perfect addition to your zero water urinal.

First Time Installation

The liquid odor barrier can be installed with just three basic steps.

PurLeve Installation

Cartridge Replacement

To replace your cartridge, remove the current drain insert, rinse the waste, and replace with a new insert as outlined below.

PurLeve Maintenance

Daily Maintenance

Keep your urinal in tip top condition with these three daily maintenance tips.

PurLeve Maintenance