The green movement is in full swing, especially when it comes to bathrooms. Homes and businesses across the country are switching to water saving options to try to reduce water consumption (and sewage expenses), but one of the best ways to do so is one you might not have even heard of. Waterless urinals dramatically reduce water consumption in your bathroom (residential or commercial) while also making it more sanitary and easier to use. Waterless urinals are the not-so-new technology of the future, designed to save tens of thousands of gallons of water per urinal per year.
You might not have heard of Waterless urinals before, but they aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been around since the early 90s and have been steadily gaining in popularity and usage ever since. The concept is a simple one: a specially designed urinal like this Kalahari Urinal allows waste to drain completely on its own, while a unique impermeable, odor-proof trap prevents any liquid or odor from coming back up. This effectively empties the bowl and seals off sewage odors without the use of a single drop of water.
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The odor proof trap is called the Ecotrap, and what makes it work is a combination of the design of the drain itself, and the BlueSeal liquid that’s used to fill it. The Ecotrap is designed with a unique dual U-shaped drain that traps the natural sediment in urine to prevent it from building up in your plumbing. It’s then filled with their patented BlueSeal liquid, a unique combination of mineral oil and various alcohols which is lighter than water or urine. This liquid floats to the top of the Ecotrap when the urinal is used, trapping liquid and odors beneath it. Together, the EcoTrap and BlueSeal liquid make a completely sanitary, odor-free urinal – no flush needed.
By and large, urinals are considered to be unsanitary devices, and in fact, traditional ones really are. That’s because, while urine is 100% sterile and typically pH neutral when it comes out of the body, when it mixes with water it becomes acidic, allowing bacteria to grow and creating the infamous ammonia smell. Traditional flush urinals rinse the wall of the urinal after each use, which might seem more sanitary than leaving one un-rinsed. But the actual result of flushing is a perpetually moist urinal surface that acts as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and odors…. bacteria that are propelled into the air every time the toilet is flushed. Waterless urinals like this Sonora Urinal dry after each use, preventing bacteria from ever forming and creating a surface that’s actually much, much more sterile than a traditional urinal.
And while traditional flush urinals can use more than a gallon of water per flush, waterless urinals like this Yukon Urinal use none at all. Some brands of no-flush urinals need to be washed out weekly (or, in a commercial setting, even daily) with hot water, but because of the unique filtration system built into Waterless urinal’s Ecotraps, they can use as little as a single gallon of water per year without any buildup or damage to your plumbing. In a home, installing a single urinal for the guys in your house can significantly reduce your sewage bills or stress on your septic system. In a commercial setting, replacing 22 traditional urinals with waterless ones can save up to a million gallons of water per year.
But savings don’t just come in the form of reduced water consumption, either. With a standard urinal, especially in a public setting, flush mechanisms can break and – especially motion sensitive ones – are expensive and cumbersome to repair or replace. Ordinary urinal drains are also susceptible to vandalism, which can also lead to hefty repair or replacement costs for the urinal. But Waterless urinals like this Anza Urinal have a closed urinal bottom to prevent vandalism, without the need to purchase an additional cover. As well, Waterless Co’s EcoTrap drain covers can only be removed with a special tool called the X-traptor, so the drain can’t be intentionally clogged.
Watereless urinals also do not need to be removed from the wall to be cleaned or maintained, with easy access to the plumbing via the full 2″ sized drain. And because they don’t have a built in flush mechanism, they don’t need to be winterized in the cold season. Together with the built in anti-vandalism features, this makes Waterless urinals ideally suited for “problem” locations like prisons or juvenile facilities. They even have both wall and floor mounted waterless urinals like this Santa Fe Urinal to allow for easy conversion from traditional urinals to their no-flush versions.
All that said, waterless urinals perform equally well in high and low traffic locations. Heavily used commercial locations will require more frequent routine maintenance than one you install in your home, but because the urine never comes into contact with water, waterless urinals will never smell as long as you ensure the BlueSeal liquid is at the proper level. And while other manufacturers have different types of traps that are expensive and need to be frequently replaced, the Ecotraps in Waterless Co urinals are not only the least expensive on the market, but can be refilled multiple times without being replaced, further reducing cost, waste, and maintenance time. In fact, refilling an Ecotrap with BlueSeal liquid – which should be done once every 2-3 months in the home and at most once a week in a heavily trafficked commercial setting – takes only about 20 seconds, as the liquid can be measured directly in the bottle, and poured into the Ecotrap without any cumbersome cleaning or replacement. The traps themselves need only be replaced 1-4 times a year in even the most trafficked bathrooms, and this is the only time any water is used to flush out any possible sediment buildup in the plumbing.
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Waterless urinals are used everywhere from single family homes to sprawling government buildings, and though there are many to choose from, Waterless is the leading name for a reason. Their parts are the most efficient, the most effective, the longest lasting, and the least expensive. So if you’re looking for an economical way to get your bathroom eco-friendly, Waterless urinals are an excellent choice, whether you need just one for your hubby, or a dozen or more to fully equip your business. Are you seriously considering installing waterless urinals in your home or business? Have any questions I haven’t answered here? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to help!