June 10, 2021

Higher Education Upgrades to Smart Restroom

Upgrading to Smart Restrooms? Right now, it’s a no-brainer in higher education At colleges and universities today, decision-makers and facilities managers face more and more financial stressors. Student enrollment and tuition revenues are provisionally declining, operating costs are spiking in general, and budgets and funding are being trimmed back because of both. That’s why higher ed decision-makers and facilities managers can no longer just follow their gut. They must rely on trustworthy data to make informed decisions to guarantee budgets are met. Fortunately, data-driven sensors double as touchless solutions. Because of this, smart restroom technology helps keep your campus clean, promotes more effective hand hygiene and social distancing, saves on water, decreases downtime, and gives your maintenance and custodial team more control over their tasks—all this on top of ROI! Here are the leading smart restroom solutions being adopted today: Handwashing score – encourages proper handwashing with flush/wash ratio Touchless, smart fixtures – give instant alerts and detect outliers, such as a clog or tampered flush valve  Feedback surveys – help you better understand the guest experience Occupancy lights – indicates any open stalls and keeps traffic flowing and distanced The smart choice Smart restroom solutions are quickly becoming a key contributor in campus restrooms across the country. With so many data-driven fixtures and technologies available, you won’t have to overwork your crew (or strain your budget). From the very first day of installation, a smart restroom instantly boosts guest and student and staff satisfaction by: Owning the restroom experience for all, start to finish Checking in with maintenance employees in real-time Helping meet strategic goals through trends and analytics Assisting entire teams behind the scenes every day Real-time for fewer dollar signs Data is king. An informed decision is almost always the result of easy-to-understand, easy-to-access learning — offering the answers you need, when you need them. If your campus restroom needs attention, count on an upgraded smart restroom. From reporting negative user feedback to raising the flag on a plumbing issue ASAP, smart restroom technology turns mobile alerts that bring instant action. This decreases the number of users affected before a problem is resolved and lessens the size and scope of the remedy (aka fewer dollar signs). Analytics and trends for strategic planning Interested in saving water, reducing costs, and ensuring uptime? You can set up your parameters and goals based on the results you receive. Smart restroom products offer valuable, actionable statistics that uncover trends and analytics around usage patterns, peak hours, preventative maintenance, and water consumption. Plus, dashboard-style portals provide all these helpful details in a user-friendly format. Users get 24/7 access anywhere via phone, tablet, or computer, so they can dive deeper in their office or remotely. Machine learning is next-level smart Once installed, your level of learning takes off! You’ll harness smart restroom product data to increase user satisfaction, solve operational issues, make better decisions, and experience cost savings. Plus, customization can help teams divide and conquer to reach a place of predictive maintenance, thanks to learned trends and patterns. Your restroom and team basically never stop improving, because the technology keeps adapting to the environment. Start questioning … everything Now that you’ve become enlightened on smart restroom technology, ask yourself these questions: Are there gaps in your restroom performance now? What smart solutions could be added to enhance and streamline the experience? How can this group of products work together to perform better? What’s working and what isn’t? Take time to find answers first. You’ll be ready to take advantage of the built-in learning that smart restroom solutions can offer, create a cleaner, better experience for your institution, and establish a more manageable routine for your maintenance and custodial teams. Interested in learning more? Download the latest whitepaper, “Smart Restroom Innovations for Your Customers.”  

May 31, 2021

Plumbing Pro Spotlight: Chad Brooks, Bennett’s Plumbing

We’re continuing to spotlight the plumbing professionals who put our solutions to the test and make us look good at the end of their long workday. Here’s our latest pro worth mentioning. Chad Brooks chose the plumbing trade for its stability, yet constantly changing nature. He’s spent almost two decades driving out to both residential and commercial job sites throughout the Lake Elsinore community. Brooks states, “Every dispatch requires expedience and expertise. You need those two skills at once to be truly good at what you do. Our team makes the complex seem simple and quick fixes even faster, and our customers get that and appreciate it.” Today he works as a Foreman at Bennett’s Plumbing. The established company shares the same sentiment as Brooks. In fact, its tagline echoes: No job is too big or too small… Bennett’s Plumbing is equipped with the latest technologies and the sharpest talent. The team responds with a sense of urgency and completes each job professionally, no matter the scope. “I don’t just install backflow preventers; I rebuild them and turn them into seamless systems. I have to know what I’m doing, and I have to trust what solutions I’m using. In my 17 years, I’ve never encountered an issue with Zurn. It’s both durable and reliable.” Thank you, Chad!    

May 17, 2021

Smart Tech Takes Off in Airports Nationwide

Have you ever noticed how the latest innovations tend to take off with the airport industry first? I mean, whoever thought of the cosmetic and electronics vending machines deserves a medal. Or how about using your own identity as your passport? That’s an actual thing in the works. Let’s face it (pun intended), airports experience high traffic and even higher risks. They need to accommodate a lot of people to keep everyone both happy and safe. Smart technologies streamline the traveler experience and improve operational efficiency. So, whether it’s self-service check-in kiosks to speed up the process or AI baggage-drop terminals to track your suitcase from point A to point B, C and maybe even D, airports keep moving forward.   Now, you may be wondering if airports are in neutral or if they've slowed down on innovation while we transition through the turbulence. In short, not really. Safety now matters more than ever. This approach puts hand hygiene and the user experience as top priority. Today, airports care most about reducing germ transference and easing traveler concerns.   Beyond mobile check-in and contactless dining, smart restroom technology enhances the intuitive, touch-free experience. For several years, airport travelers ranked cleanliness as one of the most important factors in their satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Associates research.1 Now, it’s non-negotiable.   Airports are elevating touchless technology with smart capabilities to create a seamless process for travelers and maintenance. These solutions help cut down on long lines and congestion. Staff can perform tasks at low-traffic periods and see exactly what needs to be done versus manually checking every fixture. In the process, airports cut down on water use, save costs and optimize resources’ time and performance overall.   Real-Time Data Makes a Real Difference  Smart fixtures monitor their own performance using sensors to gather data, which facilitates deeper understanding for airport maintenance and facilities professionals. Data is communicated via wireless technology to a secure cloud portal, such as plumbSMART. Teams can use these data-driven insights to conserve water, reduce costs, and enhance cleanliness.  Smart faucets and flush valves uncover patterns across the restroom, down to the fixture level. Staff can see when a part is near end of life, such as a solenoid, and order the parts through the system, schedule the task around user patterns and avoid any downtime or disruption. Staff can also respond faster to handwashing and toilet system repair issues through real-time alerts, instead of hours upon hours while users circulate in and out with displeasure.   When the smart flush valves and faucets are integrated, they provide a handwashing scorecard. This tracks the ratio of flushes to frequency and duration of hand washes to promote hand hygiene from all users, personnel and travelers. Other smart solutions that enhance the user experience include stall occupancy lights and smart air quality sensors that send real-time alerts when attention is required.   Smart Restrooms Lead to Satisfaction   Smart restrooms. But in reality, it’s a way all industries can speed up restroom visits, shorten and space out lines, promote hand hygiene, and help staff maintain a cleaner, high-functioning restroom environment with fewer surprises and manual tasks.  And if sanitation wasn’t reason enough, it’s a way to conserve our most precious resource—water.    Learn more about smart, touchless solutions for any industry

April 22, 2021

Good for the Environment...And Your Budget

Upgrades you can make and celebrate Today is Earth Day. Fortunately, businesses, organizations and individuals nationwide consider their impact to our planet virtually every day, whether cleaning up garbage, new technologies or cutting back on usage. In fact, plenty of our customers choose Zurn solutions simply for their water-saving results. We’re happy to be a part of their positive decisions. We want to use this occasion to look at another area of concern. Are your water fixtures and systems environmentally sound? For instance, concrete interceptors break down over time, even when lined and cleaned out regularly. This is not good. Acidic foods, oils and grease can seep out and pollute the surrounding environment. Whether you’re an educational institute or business operation, it’s worth knowing what’s installed inside and outside your building and how you can upgrade to benefit our environment and your budget. Think Under the Classroom Sink – PHIX Acid Neutralization Cartridges When it comes to neutralizing acidic wastewater inside a school laboratory or classroom, you don’t want to experiment during cleanup. Our PHIX cartridge is a safe and effective solution for neutralizing acid at the source compared to alternatives like limestone. These systems fit conveniently under a lab sink and require minimal effort to clean. View PHIX Case Study: Fort Worth Independent School District Plus, PHIX cartridges cost way less and are safer for the environment. If properly maintained, each system lasts five times longer, while cutting down on cleaning steps and cross-contamination risks. PHIX cartridges make the grade in safety, savings, and simplicity: 5 times more efficient for less maintenance Last up to 30 times longer than limestone Compact design for retrofit applications Durable glass-filled, polypropylene construction extends life Backed by an industry-leading 10-year warranty Doesn’t require special piping, equipment, storage or handling Tested to NSF International   What’s Cooking Outside the Kitchen – Proceptor Protection If you work in a restaurant or food service business, you know backups literally stink. All food preparation produces grease that interferes with plumbing and sewer lines. Over time, captured food waste and cleaning chemicals create a highly corrosive mix. Eventually, food, oil, and grease eat away and break down concrete and metal systems, causing them to fail and foul the environment around it. If you smell rotten eggs near a restaurant, this could be why. Frequent cleanups, replacements, fines, and remediation quickly diminish any savings initially enjoyed from a lower price tag. Fortunately, there are better, longer-lasting upgrades out there: fiberglass interceptors. Our Proceptor system boasts a lifetime warranty, simply because it won’t break down. Fiberglass handles acidic foods, grease, oils, fats and chemicals like a pro without cracking, corroding, failing or hurting the environment. It’s a far more responsible environmental choice, as it meets customer expectations and government regulations. View Proceptor Case Study: Seafood Restaurant     Look for the Labels – Fixtures and High-Efficiency Toilets and Carriers There’s power behind efficiency in today’s modern restrooms. Most water-saving faucets and flush valves use less through innovative features and by design without affecting the user experience. This helps businesses of all sizes achieve LEED® Certification and guest satisfaction. One way to cut down on consumption is to look for the WaterSense® label. You can also find fixtures that feature CalGreen® or LEED point approvals. This is an easy way to know you’ll cut usage and costs, since they already meet set standards and went through the steps to prove so. For example, high-efficiency toilets and carriers exceed LEED performance 31 percent, while going the distance. View High Efficiency Restroom Case Study: Caltech University Other ways you can further your water savings can be found in the callout features. Timeout functions keep water from running continuously. Like the name, they time out after a preset duration. Smart capabilities help you remedy leaks and ghost activations using real-time data. Many products can be upgraded to smart without major replacements. Clog-resistant solutions reduce overflowing water, out-of-order stalls, and larger maintenance requests. To learn more about these environmentally sound solutions, visit zurn.com. Remember you can do your part at any level. Celebrate Earth Day in some way today and keep doing your part all year long.

March 30, 2021

Breaking it Down Particle by Particle: HEPA Filter Infographic

Inhale and exhale. Now, imagine what just went in and out of your lungs. The indoor air surrounding us in our homes, schools, places of work, and all the public places and spaces we go to can contain all sorts of contaminants like dust, germs, viral particles, droplets, debris, you name it. Fortunately, most of the particles in the air are harmless. Individual situations and environments like healthcare settings, more confined public spaces like airplanes, commercial clean rooms, and restrooms can benefit from filtered air. The hub of human activity, public restrooms are a high-turnover environment with their own set of unique factors where clean air can make a difference. This is where HEPA filtration really cleans up!   HEPA in Hand Drying Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that clean towels and air hand dryers are both effective at drying your hands. Germs spread more easily when hands are wet, so drying hands completely with a hand dryer or paper towel is best. However, automatic touchless hand dryers further promote hand hygiene and cut down on added expenses by eliminating touchpoints and cross-contamination, costs from restocking paper towels, and negative impressions from overflowing trash bins. Couple that with HEPA filtration, and these specific hand drying solutions are a superior option for maintaining a clean restroom. Learn how this technology works to rid contaminants from the air. Click the image below to view the full infographic. *99.97% effective for particles 0.3 µm or larger.

March 23, 2021

Survey Results: Hands-On Restrooms Turn Customers Off to Businesses

When is the last time you used a public restroom? How did it make you feel? If it wasn’t great, would you return to that business and simply steer clear the restroom next time? Good or bad, your experience left an impression.   According to a new study, more than half of American customers (58%) say they are less likely to use public restrooms in our current climate.1 Their concerns primarily stem from touching restroom fixtures and poorly cleaned surfaces. Below we break down the main concerns and solutions communicated by the survey.   Customer Concerns  While 84% of the survey respondents said they are generally concerned about exposure from people around them, a large majority (67%) also worried about catching germs and viruses from surfaces. This sentiment carries the most weight in restrooms.   When asked about their restroom experiences, all linked back to manual versus touchless fixtures. Only 46% of customers indicated they were satisfied with these in healthcare facilities. Just one in four were satisfied with their restroom experience in convenience stores. And, 19% of restaurants still have more traditional handwashing and toilet systems.     But of course, there’s good news. Businesses and organizations continue to problem solve and upgrade, as they always do. Customer peace of mind is their top priority. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of customers indicated they would make more trips to businesses that have touch-free restrooms. In addition, when asked which protective measures would best keep them safe, customers ranked more frequent cleaning and touch-free fixtures as the top two approaches. So, there you have it.   Upgrade to Touchless Fixtures for Sure  There are many choices in the types of touch-free technologies businesses can utilize to promote restroom cleanliness and customer safety. Touchless sensor faucets and flush valves work in tangent to keep hands off surfaces, from flush to wash. That way, the first real touchpoints are the soap and water. Building owners can even install sensor hand dryers or automatic doors to completely remove touch from the restroom equation.   Consider Smart Fixtures for Further Measure Smart is the next step to restroom sanitation. Smart or connected faucets and flush valves provide businesses with data-driven insights into use patterns and maintenance needs. This empowers facilities teams to keep restrooms stocked, stay ahead of cleaning tasks, ensure fixtures are operating, and even offer more social distancing with more open stalls, washing stations and occupancy indicators. Facilities managers can even promote handwashing best practices with handwashing scores. They can use that data to know when it’s necessary to sanitize, such as instances with quick wash times or none at all.  Feedback on Touchless and Smart Fixtures  Touchless solutions in public restrooms can go a long way in helping businesses rebuild customer confidence. When asked about these technologies, 84% of customers indicated touch-free faucets would make them feel safer, and 81% said touch-free toilets would make them feel safer. In addition, three in four (74%) agreed that visual aids like restroom occupancy capacity LED screens and stall occupancy lights would help with social distancing in public restrooms.  Measures Customers Can and Do Take  It’s not all on the businesses and organizations. Customers continue to be proactive in the way they navigate public buildings. Consistent with their concerns, 82% of customers don their own personal protective gear, distance from others and carry individual hand sanitizers. More than half (55%) say they intentionally enter and exit spaces without touching door handles.   They also appreciate and take advantage of technology that’s available. Customers across age groups consistently say they would use a mobile app to check public restroom conditions, such as the availability of soap and papers towels, when the restroom was last cleaned, the availability of touch-free fixtures, and restroom occupancy capacity.   Businesses work hard to maintain positive customer interactions. Customers equally want to support businesses and praise their efforts to create a clean environment. From the survey to spreading the word to friends and family, feedback can help move the restroom experience forward.         1 Survey results gathered from "Restroom Experience Survey 2020" with a total of 580 survey respondents. Zurn Industries, LLC, August 2020. 

March 11, 2021

Plumbing Pro Spotlight: Dominic Santo, Pedrosa Plumbing

  Plumbing professionals keep our daily lives flowing. They’re responsible for getting water to our showers, sinks, and hoses. They ensure it’s safe once it reaches our toothbrushes, coffee pots and dinner tables. Plumbing professionals devise piping efficiencies, improve water pressure, and fix leaks, so we can conserve our most precious resource for generations to come. It’s a pretty big role that deserves some kudos. So, we decided to give it more than a day and an identity by spotlighting real professionals in the field every day. Dominic Santo is our first feature expert. Santo works as a commercial and residential plumber at Pedrosa Plumbing in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He brings a lot more than his toolbelt with him to every jobsite. Santo comes from a seasoned family of contractors and plumbers and boasts nearly a decade in the industry himself. While the plumbing field is familiar territory, every project presents different ways to problem solve for his customers, which Santo appreciates the most. The jobsites span beyond restroom sinks and toilet systems. Most recently, Santo installed a back-water valve for an electrical room, which required installation and testing. He takes great pride in his ability to think quickly and execute thoroughly. “I love brainstorming piping layouts and troubleshooting common plumbing issues. At Pedrosa Plumbing, we complete every project confident in the job we’ve done and value to our customers.” Thank you, Dominic! See other installations from Dominic and Pedrosa Plumbing on Instagram  

February 16, 2021

PEX Piping Can Melt Away the Winter Blues

  For a lot of us, “the dead of winter” means that we’re knee deep in snow — or dealing with stubborn ice accumulation brought on by chilly weather. If you’re a small‐to‐mid‐sized business or a home with a demanding driveway, you can prevent these precarious precipitation issues by including a PEX Snow and Ice Melt System the next time you pour concrete.  What is a PEX Snow and Ice Melt System?  A PEX Snow and Ice Melt System is a convenient way to stop snow or ice from accumulating on your property. Easily embedded in your concrete slab, it provides a long‐lasting winter solution that makes shoveling, salting, sanding and snow‐blowing driveways, walkways and patios a thing of the past.  How it works The PEX piping is filled with a mix of water and anti‐freeze, such as propylene glycol. This fluid is in a closed loop that circulates through the PEX piping embedded in the concrete and a boiler. The PEX piping transfers heat to the concrete so the snowflakes melt when they touch the concrete. The system's snow sensor continues the fluid circulation until the concrete surface is safe and dry.  Debunking the a‐b‐c grading myth  If you believe that PEXa, PEXb or PEXc is a distinction between good, better and best, you’ve been misinformed. This a‐b‐c designation is actually a European classification that denotes the manufacturing method of the pipe:  “a” designates that the pipe was manufactured using the Engel method.  “b” designates that the pipe was manufactured using silane method.  “c” designates that the pipe was manufactured using Electron Beam method.  The truth is, all PEX pipe is made to the same exacting standards and must be third‐party certified to be used in North America. However, because there are subtle differences in burst strength, flexibility and chlorine/UV‐ resistance levels, one type of pipe stands out from the rest.  PEXb melts best  PEXb is structurally superior, thanks to the resin blend. Its silane manufacturing method far exceeds the strength standards and achieves the highest UV/chlorine rating, making it a radiant heating and snow melting standout because of its strength and flexibility.  Learn more about our full line of PEX products on zurn.com.  

February 2, 2021

Reopen for Business: Maintaining Water Safety in Buildings

The workforce shift to home environments emptied commercial buildings across the nation. Dynamic gyms, bustling offices, lively dormitories, and other once-filled public spaces pressed pause at least once in recent months.      As building owners reopen, there are water safety issues to consider. Lead, copper, and harmful organisms, like Legionella, often accumulate in stagnant water, making it hazardous for employees, guests and residents. There are steps building owners can follow to prevent contamination and improve water quality over the long term.  Flush Out as a First Line of Defense  Before people begin flowing through your doors, flush out your building’s water system via all points of use. If you detect odor, you’ll want to get water moving through a few times, until it subsides. If occupants return in segments, consider repeating the flushing protocol for several months in corresponding phases.  Now is also a good time to do some maintenance:  Check on pressure reducing valves and backflow preventers. If there is standing water, look for debris and sediment in the water, especially for solutions with steel-on-rubber elements.  Inspect the strainer screens. Strainers also catch debris and sediment, which can build up over time. Clean out strainer screens, as part of the flushing protocol.   To minimize any aerosolizing of bacteria from the water system, clean out flow controls or aerators in your system. Consider changing them over to a laminar product.    Is your building smart?   You can schedule automatic flushouts based on your operation. Set sensor faucets to turn on once a day to purge the lines. Use smart, also known as IoT-enabled, technology, like Zurn plumbSMART, to monitor usage, set up custom alerts for high or low usage, and track trends. That data can be used to adjust the building’s water management plan for optimized performance and ideal intervals.      Combat Bacteria and Control User Temps   Water temperature also helps reduce risks associated with water stagnation, particularly against bacterial growth. While the right hot water temperature can combat bacteria, such as Legionella; it can scald hands during handwashing. So, how can you address both safety issues at once?   Thermostatic mixing valves control temps at the source, instead of the water heater. That way you can:  Inhibit bacteria growth before it reaches point of use  Cut down on wasted running water, while waiting for right temps  Ensure consistent, safer temps for user comfort  Prevent risk of bacteria growth and scalding at once  Upgrade economically without major install steps or system changes     Understand the Risks of Legionella and Take Control  Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria in fresh water that can be hazardous to humans. The bacteria can grow in large plumbing systems. People who breathe in aerosolized contaminated water droplets may develop a serious lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease. Usually this disease is treatable with antibiotics. However, it is fatal in about 1 of 10 people.1  Maintaining a temperature of 140° F in hot water heaters can minimize the potential of Legionella growth.    In Summary…  All these proactive steps can help building owners battle the issues of water stagnation and improve water quality. Zurn offers a range of water control and connected products and solutions to fit your goals and budget for water safety and quality.  Visit zurn.com to learn more.       Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Legionnaires’ Disease Fact Sheet, 7/18/2016.    

January 20, 2021

How Sensor Faucets Work

What makes more sense? Choosing the right touchless technology. When it comes to sensor product actuation, you have two options—solenoid or motor-gear operation. Before we break down the differences, let’s quickly cover the mutual benefits. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll stick to restroom fixtures. First and foremost, they’re touchless, whether it’s a faucet or flush valve. Both allow users to wash their hands or flush the toilet without physically touching a handle or button, which helps cut down on germ transference and user concerns. Both come with low-flow options to reduce water waste. Both can be upgraded to connected capabilities, using IoT wireless monitoring for data insights. Finally, both typically outlast many manual alternatives. To sum it up, both are preferred by today’s restroom standards for efficiency and hand hygiene. Now let’s break it down further by taking a look inside the technology. How Solenoid Sensors Work Solenoid technology combine an IR sensor, solenoid valve, power source, and electronics module to physically start and stop waterflow, using push/pull movement. Once it senses an object's presence in front of the faucet or flush valve, the solenoid pulls open to initiate the flow of water. When the object is no longer present, the sensor and control electronics push the solenoid valve to terminate the flow of water, but only after a predetermined time has passed. Another differentiator is the location of the technology. Solenoid valves are positioned in the direct path of the water flow in order to properly sense the user. However, this can be problematic over time as dirt and debris accumulate. When that does occur, the fixture may cease to actuate, which leads to repairs or replacements. All and all, solenoid sensors operate dependably and accurately. How Motor-Gear Sensors Work Motor-gear platforms take sensor operation to the next level of performance, making them ideal for high-use commercial restrooms. The dual action of the ceramic disc cartridge and motor-gear operation reduce the moving parts in the water pathway. But it’s much more than working with less. The ceramic disc cartridges wipe against each other in a way that self-cleans and prevents debris buildup. TPE-constructed components, such as the diaphragm, gaskets and seals, resist corrosion. That and all the above allow motor-gear solutions to tack on more years to their lifespan—typically lasting around one million cycles, if not longer. Added features take the benefits from the maintenance team to the guest experience. The technology’s soft close activation creates a seamless, quiet flow. The gears turn slowly and steadily, which releases pressure and prevents water hammer. And while water hammer damages the plumbing line (not great), it’s equally negative for the user—no one enjoys loud clanking, flush after flush. Motor-gear faucets and flush valves also tend to deliver even greater precision. Their downward and forward angled IR sensors detect users without delay or wasting water. No matter how you upgrade, you can’t go wrong with touchless solutions—solenoid or motor-gear operation.