September 9, 2021
Smart restrooms cut down on guest congestion and germ transference from hands to surfaces…to more hands and more surfaces. IoT-enabled flush valves, faucets, soap dispensers and occupancy sensors use real-time data to monitor performance, pinpoint peak traffic times, detect outliers (like clogs or vandalism), and keep the entire user experience hands-free and problem-free. For the most sensitive space in your entire building, that’s an ideal scenario. Therefore, it’s no surprise smart restroom upgrades continue to rise, and these solutions continue to improve their capabilities for sanitation, water savings, maintenance and custodial teams, and guests’ needs. Smart makes sense, but like anything, the decision process needs to make sense to building owners before it can happen. So, what’s holding back these future adopters? Hesitation stems from a few things, namely initial upgrade costs, choice overload, and general questions around what features to look for beyond more uptime and touchless operation. People want to understand their options and what suits their restroom environment. Instead of delaying your decision making even more, let’s get to answering the most common questions we get about smart restrooms. Can I get financial assistance for my restroom upgrades? This is a biggie. Enterprises and government entities face ranging challenges, but budgets are always a factor, no matter what your year introduced. 2020 magnified challenges and shrunk budgets. Fortunately, relief funding exists for restroom upgrades that promote hand hygiene and sanitation. While availability and eligibility vary state by state, industry by industry, here are possible funding opportunities to check out. You may also find assistance through local resources, like water utilities and community banks. Visit their websites to see if rebates are out there or go to the EPA Rebate Finder page. What about financial assistance for healthcare facilities? Speaking of taking on challenges and budgets, healthcare facilities proved their agility in the face of adversity. Smart restrooms help this specific industry achieve more uptime, back handwashing best practices, and put cost savings back into patient care. Learn more about eligibility and the application process on the CARES Act site. How does clog detection work? Currently, any warnings from a failure, like a clog, are triggered by irregular flushing patterns. The data collected is compared to nearby fixtures and past performance metrics. Your technologies never stop learning the environment, so improvement is also ongoing. Clogs detected from water not flowing through a fixture will come to market in the next year or so. Preventing clogs allows for fewer out-of-order stalls and less restroom congestion. Can we make our existing sensor fixtures smart without entirely replacing them? Not all manufacturers offer scalable solutions, but some do. Zurn’s sensor fixtures upgrade to smart capabilities without fully replacing your flush valves, faucets, etc. You can connect what’s already installed to receive real-time data alerts and insights around restroom performance. That way, you’ll save time and costs. Is a ½-inch feed line sufficient for urinals and sink faucets? A ½-inch line is sufficient for the majority of manual or sensor faucet applications. Urinals depend on the flushing volume. Most North American urinal flush valves utilize ¾-inch inlet lines. When a flush valve is specified to use a 0.125 GPF pint flow urinals, the inlet piping can be downsized to ½-inch supply lines. Can I retrofit any type of flush valve or faucet? Our retrofit flush valves work with Zurn, Sloan and several other commercial manufacturers. Our retrofit faucets also apply universally. Reach out to a Zurn expert to discuss easiest path to upgrade. Can you upgrade to smart and sustainable? Consider hydropower solutions. These battery-operated fixtures efficiently generate and store energy from the source. The internal turbine systems transform flowing water into dynamic power, which is already smart if you think about it. Our Z6950, Z6955, Z6953, Z6956 Series feature Hydro•X Power. The hydropower harvests energy with just a few activations each day to take each battery life ten years uninterrupted. That’s a decade without tossing your fixture’s batteries in your landfills, year after year, restroom after restroom, fixture after fixture! Our solutions also offer low-flow rates to help you save water too and achieve your LEED goals. One last question—did we answer all of yours? If not, reach out to our team of experts so you can make smart decisions for your restrooms.
August 19, 2021
Could you imagine the contaminates lurking in your system flowing back into the water source? Yeah, you’re not raising a glass to that. Clean water is mission critical, whether protecting residential, commercial or irrigation systems. Backflow prevention handles pressure change and keeps water flowing in the right direction for public safety. Still, many of these devices are installed outside in volatile environments. Before you install your next system. Here are a few common misconceptions around backflow prevention, and what you should know before you select your model. Material Myth: Only bronze offers durability over time. While bronze is a superior material, it’s not the only reliable option available. Reinforced nylon provides the same, if not longer lasting performance. It withstands corrosion and UV rays, day after day, year after year. It even handles temperature swings and harsh outdoor conditions. And just like bronze, it’s low-lead compliant. In short, choose all-bronze or reinforced nylon for a system that goes the distance. Maintenance Myth: Winterization and startup are necessary evils. Maintenance should be routine (at least twice a year), but it doesn’t have to be rigorous. Flush fitting tools make line flushing way easier and effective. They blow out the system properly to remove fouling debris and stagnant water within 15-20 minutes. You’ll want to perform this maintenance task at the end and start of your season. In short, use a flushing tool to properly winterize and start up your system. Application Myth: Residential systems pose less risk than commercial. All backflow preventers of all sizes and install locations face hazards, like extreme elements, weather, fertilizer, manure, etc. Safety comes down the system itself. Look for a backflow preventer that’s tested to perform and proven to last. You can take it a step further by finding models that offer economical repair parts for lower cost of ownership. In short, you can’t go cheap on lasting performance, no matter the application. But you can still save with more uptime and repairs over replacements. Speaking of proven, check our video on the 300 Series to hear more about industry misconceptions and the features that matter.
July 29, 2021
By Paul Wait, Zurn Industries Improving the efficiency of an outdoor irrigation system is an important factor in water conservation. Many existing lawn sprinkler systems are operating at water pressures exceeding pressures recommended by sprinkler manufacturers. Higher operating pressures create system inefficiencies due to excessive flow rates, misting, uneven coverage, and water waste when watering areas outside the landscaping. Lower water pressures generate appropriate water droplet size from the spray heads and provide a more uniform distribution of water across the landscape increasing the irrigation system’s performance. The most straightforward method of lowering water pressure to an irrigation system is accomplished by adding a single water pressure reducing valve (PRV) at the point of connection (POC) to the irrigation system. The single PRV installed along the POC line will regulate variable high inlet water pressures to a constant lower optimal water pressure for the entire irrigation system. This allows the installed spray heads and drip emitters to operate in their recommended high-efficiency pressure range. Increased water efficiency will be immediately realized by the irrigation system with this one change. Therefore, irrigation systems that experience high inlet pressures would realize significant water savings when designed or retrofitted with a PRV installed along the POC to the mainline. This technique for lowering water pressure to an irrigation system is common practice for both landscape irrigation designers and landscape contractors. Zurn Industries promotes efficient landscape watering using Zurn Wilkins Pressure Reducing Valves. For more information on Pressure Reducing Valves, visit zurn.com or our irrigation playlist on YouTube at OneZurn.
July 8, 2021
From beginnings to fittings and every application and connection in between In the mid-1900s, indoor pipes consisted of copper and metal materials. These plumbing solutions became problematic against corrosive environments. Pitting of the pipes put in question the integrity of the water supply and users at risk. Enter Engel... Pioneering PEX German inventor, Thomas Engel, pioneered a new way of piping by crosslinking polyethylene using a peroxide method. This method proved both more cost-effective and long-lasting—the piping held up to heat, it was easier to work with during installation, and more reliable against corrosion over time. By the 1980s, homes and businesses were using PEX for plumbing projects and radiant floor heating inside their buildings. There are three types still used by contractors: Engel’s or PEXa, the Silane process or PEXb and Electron Beam method or PEXc. Going from A to B PEXb built on Engel’s novel PEXa by crosslinking through a physical, chemical process, essentially fortifying the pipe’s high temperature threshold, resistance to UV rays and harsh or acidic elements, and overall toughness. Even with the robust reinforcement, PEXb proved to be just as flexible on the job. Today, this is by far the most widely used solution for all the above. We’re talking like well over half of all plumbing projects. The manufacturing enhancement opened the door (literally) to more outside applications for both residential and commercial spaces, such as irrigation systems, radiant heating on sidewalks and driveways, and outdoor water systems. PEXa and PEXc also meet these jobsite requirements for these applications. They’re closer than cousins to PEXb. All follow crosslinking methods. All must be tested and third-party certified to meet ASTM standards in North America. However, PEXb boasts performance advantages over other crosslinking methods, such as UV and chlorine resistance, thermo stability, and burst strength. Expanding the Way of Connecting PEXb is expanding on its capabilities too when it comes down to the connection. PEXb used to be limited to crimp fittings for installation, while PEXa offered a larger opening for expansion fittings. Through meticulous enhancements, PEXb expanded its way of connecting. PEXb pipes are now fully certified for use with both ASTM F1807/F2159 crimp and ASTM F1960 expansion fittings and accessories. What does this mean? Well, expansion PEX can offer a path of leak resistance if used with a certified expansion tool. Certified tool heads feature interlocking teeth and unique nose design, specifically for PEXb. This industry innovations allows homeowners and building owners to upgrade to the strength of PEXb without worrying about complications during installation or difficulties in cold weather conditions. Choosing PEX for Your Project No matter, which option you choose—a, b, or c—PEX surpasses copper piping for reliability across all indoor applications. You’re guaranteed to save project costs and labor and extend the lifespan of your system with fewer maintenance requests or problems down the road with your water source. However, if you’re looking to get more creative outdoors or want more jobsite flexibility, you may want to consider PEXb. It’s hard to say what’s next for PEX. But seeing as it’s the most versatile solution in the plumbing world, we can only expect another advancement or discovered use in time.
June 10, 2021
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
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
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
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
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
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.