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How Do Waterless Urinals Work?

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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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