April 27, 2022

Should I Repair or Replace My Restroom Fixtures?

Learn the Basic Guidelines for When to Repair or Replace Your Restroom Faucets and Flush Valves. Are you wondering if you should repair or replace your restroom fixtures? Let’s cover some guidelines about when it is time to choose the repair or the replace option for your restroom faucets and flush valves. Ultimately, the decision revolves around time, money, and organizational priorities. You may have other factors that affect your repair or replace decision today, so take this input for what it is, guidelines that help you think through your own situation. In general, you want to ask yourself three questions: How old are the current fixtures? Do the current fixtures help to create a good restroom experience? Do the current fixtures help you comply with local laws and organizational sustainability initiatives? How Old is the Fixture? Fixtures in commercial restrooms work hard, and after ten years in a moderate to heavy use restroom, many fixtures are getting to the end of their life expectancy. In a busy restroom, some valves can easily see over half a million activations in ten years, so it is not hard to see why ten years is a good, long run for a commercial faucet, flush valve, or other fixture. In general, you will be better off replacing a faucet after the ten-year mark, because several of the parts are probably at or near the end of their life. You may replace one part to find another part breaks next week. Even with gentle use, eventually valves will start to leak, clog, or corrode. The age issue is especially true if you live in an area where the water is hard on the valve. Flush valves less than ten-years old are normally in the repair category, unless the valve has given you a lot of trouble over the last few years or it has been damaged due to an accident or vandalization. When you get to the fifteen-year range, generally you can repair it and get at least another five or more years of use from the fixture unless it is in an extreme environment. If your flush valve is over 20 years old in a moderate use restroom, it is a good time to change out the whole unit. Does the Faucet or Flush Valve Create a Positive Experience? Beyond ensuring the faucets and valves function properly, you need to ask about whether or not they create a good experience. It may sound like a silly idea, but after the pandemic, people feel uncomfortable with old, corroding valves, and people really do not like to touch the manual faucets and flush valves. When people feel you have a clean, hygienic restroom, customers spend more, and employee satisfaction is likely to be higher. If you don’t have the budget to completely redo the restroom, upgrading one valve at a time when they no longer work properly may be an acceptable alternative. When it comes to improving the restroom experience, you may also choose a flush valve retrofit kit over replacing the whole valve assembly that goes with the toilet. Kits are available that reduce the time and cost of going from a manual flush valve to an automatic flush valve making an upgrade worthwhile compared to a full fixture replacement. Do the current fixtures help you comply with local laws and organizational sustainability initiatives? Some states and municipalities require low flow fixtures, so replacing outdated fixtures is an obvious choice. Beyond local laws, many organizations have made sustainability an organizational initiative, which often includes a water conservation component. If water conservation is important to the organization, then an early upgrade to reduce water usage makes sense. With those guidelines, you should be well on your way in the decision to repair or replace your fixtures. Remember to consider your unique situation and include things such as expiring budgets, limited time government incentives, or labor availability. Find links below for long lasting replacement parts or water saving fixtures for whatever decision you make. Long Lasting Repair Parts New Products that Conserve Water Water Savings Calculator  

March 10, 2022

Why Building Owners Want the Restroom of the Future Today

Plumbing continues to make technological advances including in today’s restrooms. Building owners want to give people what they want in a restroom, and they want to save money at the same time. Restrooms today can notify janitorial and maintenance staff of needs long before someone complains, create a feeling of safety, and lower ongoing costs compared to earlier designs. Newer designs and technology create higher satisfaction for both restroom users and building owners, making these restrooms an easy choice for both new buildings and remodeling projects. Building Users Want Better Restroom Experiences Technology has brought every industry into the future, and plumbing is no different. Modern restrooms can help people feel safer and be ecologically responsible, yet what people want goes beyond what was expected just a few short years ago. Stating the obvious, it is the minimum bar for today’s restroom to be clean and in good working condition. It is no surprise that post-pandemic, people have a heightened awareness of hygiene and germ transmission. More than half of the population (55%) now has concerns with touching sinks or sink fixtures in a public restroom, and almost the full population (94%) will avoid a business with a dirty restroom. People want a clean and functioning restroom where they feel safe. A restroom that is dirty isn’t just annoying or gross, it assaults the feeling of well-being of those using the restroom. A person starts questioning if their health is affected just by being in a restroom when the restroom is poorly cleaned or maintained. Since perception is as important as reality, even things such as lighting, color choices, and restroom features can affect how users feel about the restroom, and all the elements should be used together to create a feeling of a safe environment. Going Beyond the Minimum Bar in Today’s Restrooms Restroom users want as touch-free an experience as possible. Sensor-activated faucets, flush valves, and hand dryers are already standard for most public restrooms. Door free entryways remove a final touchpoint after people just finished washing and drying their hands. Eliminating touchpoints gives people confidence they are in a safer environment. Users want surfaces that are antimicrobial. You can now obtain handwashing systems and toilet partitions that discourage the transmission of germs. Similarly, hand dryers are available with HEPA filters. Make sure signs or labels clearly tell people how the bathroom surfaces protect them. Comfort from users increases knowing the restroom has layers of protection defending them from germs in every way possible. They want to feel there is room for their “personal space.” With increased sensitivity to the spread of disease, people no longer find it acceptable to use a public restroom shoulder to shoulder with strangers, especially if someone is coughing in the room. Creating a perceived sense of space allows people to feel comfortable in your restroom. Creating perceived space may be from adding physical space, but it may also be from the creative use of partitions, sinks, and other architectural features to create a feeling like someone’s personal space is kept. They want environmental responsibility that does not trample on their comfort. People would like to know your restroom uses less water and energy, but they don’t want to hear about how great your restroom is if it is at the expense of their experience. Water conservation is great, but the faucet must still give a good handwashing experience. People want a good restroom experience that is also ecologically responsible. Building Owners Want Less Maintenance and Lower Costs There has never been a time where a building owner has said, “I wish I had more expenses for my balance sheet,” and we can expect building owners will continue to look for the lowest total cost of ownership. What has changed with the tighter labor market is an increased wage rate for people who clean and maintain the restrooms, especially with skilled trades such as plumbers. The easy part of the equation is reducing water and paper consumables. Water-saving devices have a direct effect on costs and so does reducing the use of paper products. Today’s hand dryers use less energy to dry hands in less time than older models. New hand dryers often cost less than two to three years of paper towels in a moderate use restroom. We can add, with HEPA filters in today’s advanced hand dryers, users can again have confidence they are safe.   Yet, today’s restrooms need to go beyond reducing water and paper products. Preventive maintenance needs to happen based on fixture use, not an estimated time based on estimated use. It should come as little surprise that some stalls and some sinks in a restroom get higher volume than others. If you scheduled maintenance assuming every fixture received even use, you are swapping parts on some units too early. Heavier use fixtures in the same restroom may fail before PM is scheduled because actual use of the fixture may exceed average or expected use. What if the restroom could go beyond these obvious savings? What if cleaning schedules were based on actual use of the restroom rather than a rotational schedule based on estimated use? What if the restroom could let you know when there is a fixture problem, while now maintenance staff only find out if there is a customer complaint? How Zurn Delivers the Restroom of the Future It is no longer a zero-sum game choosing between costs or a better experience. Modern technologies allow building owners to supply a better experience AND save money. One of the largest airports in the United States recently completed a pilot project and is now installing “restrooms of the future” based on Zurn’s connected products platform. Since Zurn supplies every plumbing fixture needed, the fixtures gain cumulative knowledge feeding AI-powered insights giving early indicators something needs intervention. During the pilot project, the airport staff learned about 46 restroom problems over the 107-day trial period before anyone reported a problem to airport staff, which created a better user experience, and the maintenance and janitorial staff responded to real needs rather than blind schedules. Zurn’s connected restroom also supplies insights into which restrooms need to be cleaned when, as well as staffing insights from actual user data. Staffing can be matched to the actual day of week and hour of day use rather than treating every day the same. Scheduling to actual restroom use almost always creates a reduction in janitorial staffing hours because staff no longer clean low-use restrooms as often as higher use restrooms nor are they cleaning during lower use periods as if it is a higher use period. These insights can be real-time. As an example, janitorial staff at an airport won’t find out about every flight cancellation, but a flight cancellation can create a spike in use for what may normally be a low-use restroom. A connected restroom can inform janitorial staff when there is unexpectedly high use that creates a need for janitorial services earlier than expected.   How does Zurn’s connected restroom know when there is a problem? Connecting all devices together lets the system learn and understand restroom use at a deeper level than ever before. As an example, when the system sees the restroom is busy but one of the sinks is not getting used, a notification goes out to staff so staff can check on that sink and possibly find out the sink was filled with debris. Only when several devices in the restroom are connected into a single system can AI create the insights needed to accurately report problems. AI-powered restrooms also create new opportunities. Architects and engineers can get insights into how many restroom fixtures are needed in buildings so they can right-size future restrooms for similar buildings. Facility managers can provide hard numbers to justify staffing levels. Healthcare facilities can now measure the effectiveness of handwashing campaigns to show campaign efficacy. Building owners with dispersed locations can minimize travel time by planning out preventive maintenance schedules that concentrate work at nearby facilities or by doing preventive maintenance during a visit for a repair. In the end, the connected restroom creates a better user experience because you have a cleaning schedule that matches actual use, and all fixtures are likely to be in good working order. Building owners love it because they save money while giving a better user experience. And we find facilities maintenance and janitorial staff also appreciate it because they are doing the right work, not running around from one emergency to another nor are they working on something that doesn’t really need to be done, like replacing a perfectly good valve just because a calendar said it is time. We are pleased to provide building owners and users with the restroom of the future. To learn more about the restroom of the future, be sure to check out the Smart Restroom Innovations Whitepaper.  

December 15, 2021

HEPA Filtration: Clean Air Takes Flight

Today, HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter technology can be found everywhere, from buildings spanning private, healthcare, and public spaces to product systems beyond air purification. Of course, in modern days, the demand for quality air supply has never been higher. While on the topic of higher, one of the most critical spaces in which HEPA filters help clean the air can be found inside an oversized steel tube that travels at a speed of 500+ miles an hour. Yup, travel continues to lead the way for innovation and sanitation.   HEPA filters in flight Before you board your next flight, consider this. HEPA filters and efficient air circulation work together to ensure fresher air for passengers. In fact, the air is typically purer than what is breathed in at restaurants, bars, stores, or even at home.   Now, you may be doubting that assertion since you can’t really open a window or door. But, it’s true. Let us explain with expert findings. National Geographic recently consulted air-purifying experts and found that around 40 percent of cabin air is filtered through a HEPA system, while the other 60 percent is brought in fresh from outside the plane.   Cabin air completely changes over every three minutes, while the aircraft is cruising to someplace hopefully filled with umbrellas, sun rays and sound waves. The air is pumped from the ceiling into the cabin at a speed of about one yard per second and sucked out below window seats, raising the air quality level above that of a normal building. To sum it up, the air is filtered 20 times in one hour—now that’s a refreshing stat!   Certified HEPA filters “block and capture 99.97 percent of airborne particles over 0.3 microns in size,” says Tony Julian, an air-purifying expert with RGF Environmental Group. With increased efficiency of HEPA filters for the smallest particles and added ventilation, the number of particles in the air is quite low — even comparable to a heavily sanitized room. According to Liam Bates, CEO and co-founder of air-quality monitor manufacturer, Kaiterra, “[Planes] are actually safer than virtually any other confined space.” This air-handling system design of a commercial aircraft makes it unlikely someone will breathe in air from anyone located more than a few rows away. A 2018 study examined the transmission of droplet-mediated respiratory illnesses during transcontinental flights and found that an infectious passenger with influenza or another droplet-transmitted respiratory infection was unlikely to infect passengers seated farther away than two seats on either side or one row in front or in back. A little dirt won’t hurt It is important to note, HEPA filters should be changed out frequently. However, even if an airline changes its filters less often than recommended, the International Air Transport Association states that although airflow through filters may be reduced, the filters’ particle-trapping capacity would not be. (Translation: dirtier filters can operate just as effectively as clean ones.) Filtration alone isn’t foolproof The good news? Most viruses and germs don’t spread easily on flights because of how quickly and efficiently air circulates and is filtered. The meh news? Air travel also involves spending time in shuttle buses, taxis and rental cars, busy security lines and airport terminals, which can put people in close contact with one another and frequently touched surfaces. In addition, social distancing can be difficult on crowded flights, which means passengers may have to sit in close proximity of one another (less than 6 feet) for hours at a time. That’s why consistent mask-wearing, wiping down high-touch surfaces and regular handwashing are all also vital with any kind of air travel today. Flying to hand drying Back on the ground and in a public restroom, what to do after washing your hands? Sensor hand dryers remove the “touch factor” (the grabbing, shared touching, watershed, more waste) and added costs that come with a paper towel dispenser. HEPA-filtered hand dryers take it a step further by purifying the air before it reaches hands. Beyond HEPA filtration, look for solutions with fast dry times, energy efficiency and antimicrobial features. According to the CDC, completely drying hands can reduce germs up to 1000 times. An energy-efficient hand dryer speeds up the process while using less power and leaving zero paper trail. Look for models that dry hands in 12 seconds or less to meet user expectations. Finally, antimicrobial features help protect the integrity of the system for longer lifespan and a cleaner environment overall. From flying to hand drying, HEPA filtration leads in sanitation. Learn more at WorldDryer.com.

November 24, 2021

Plumbing Pro Spotlight: George Karoubalis, Genitek

George Karoubalis can handle the heat, whether it’s in the kitchen or solving a plumbing problem. Seven years ago, he traded his kitchen utensils for pipe wrenches and faucet keys. “Prior to Genitek my work revolved around the restaurant industry,” Karoubalis explains. “I’ve been a plumber for about seven years now, and I’ve never looked back. The career change may seem like a leap, but both require quick thinking under pressure. I work hard and can handle challenges steadily. Above all, I love helping people. Plumbing is a trade many don’t know, and I can step in to fix their problems.” Genitek has served the Montreal area for two decades, from new construction projects and restroom renovations to plumbing maintenance and emergencies. Not only does the company retain certified plumbing professionals; it offers 24/7 coverage. Customers know they’re getting competent assistance when they need it most. Thanks, George and Genitek, for your community support and plumbing expertise.  

October 21, 2021

Rain, Snow or Shine, Keep Customers Coming Outside, Comfortably

Tips on how to expand your outdoor space and keep it open during off-seasons The Upside Of Outside A connected yoga practice in the park. Cozy wool sweaters purchased at a sidewalk sale. A lovely dinner for two in an alley outlined by twinkling lights and a prismatic brick gallery. Commercial and small businesses’ outdoor spaces continue to be a cool trend in spring, fall, even some tolerable winter days. A few years ago, shops, gyms, and even offices began to extend their everyday operations outdoors. And now more than ever before, opening your doors to the outside allows customers and employees a breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief. “Outdoor living has become the fastest-growing segment within the landscape industry for quite a few years,” shares Paul D. Wait, National Irrigation Sales Manager at Zurn Engineered Water Solutions. “Right now, we’re seeing requests for outdoor upgrades and new builds in commercial spaces and small businesses taking off. The growth has been incredible and critical.” Businesses are adapting in part because they must. Yet, many are seeing this change as a positive for businesses, employees, and customers. These businesses are cultivating unique, mood-boosting experiences through their outdoor setups and sanctuaries. And you can too!  A Fresh (Air) Way Of Thinking  As social distancing guidelines and mandates pervade the new normal, businesses see outdoor spaces as their opportunity to follow recommendations and keep customers coming back. A trend likely to have staying power. From restaurants, farmer's markets, and coffee shops to gyms, garden centers, offices, and boutiques, businesses are setting up shop alongside their brick and mortar buildings and finding ways to sell goods and services. All of this means getting creative and innovative. By expanding your businesses’ existing footprint on the patios, decks, lawns, sidewalks, and even the streets around you, customers can dine, exercise, sip, shop, or relax where fresh air is abundant and free for all to enjoy. Besides providing open air and a lot more spaciousness, this shift outdoors can greatly lessen consumer fears around crowded stores and interior ventilation. “Right now, commercial demand is so large, and local governments are developing business codes that allow for quick outdoor expansion. However, if you’re thinking about an outside build, take a pause and remember to expand wisely by choosing low-maintenance, cost-effective water solutions that will complement your own design plan,” explains Wait. Think Sustainable Water Solutions  Any landscape architect or contractor can help you find a variety of product(s) to suit your unique build or upgrade needs. Here are three essential water solutions that can make your outdoor expansion an all-around success. Install Irrigation Solutions   Exterior irrigation solutions offer many reliable water safety and water control features for outdoor landscaping, water fountains, and planters. These irrigation solutions will protect your non-potable water supply, manage water pressures and prevent backflow to promote water conservation. Look for backflow preventers and pressure-reducing valves that offer control and extend the life of your system for low lifecycle costs and easy system winterization. Consider Linear Trench Drains   Worried about possible runoff pooling or looking to outline a fountain? Trench drains help ensure proper water management, prevent mud, and lower the risk of flooding or customers slipping. Trench drains can withstand years of heavy foot traffic and outdoor elements, like rain and snow. Plus, they filter debris, meet ADA compliant, feature heel-safe grates, and are easy to install. If you care about long-lasting performance, high-density polyethylene material is likely your best choice. Try PEX for Radiant Heating   Never worry about salting again. Radiant heating under concrete pavers low-cost, low-maintenance solution for preventing ice or snow accumulation. Shoveling and sanding driveways, walkways and patios is so early 2000s. Here’s how it works...it’s melting magic. PEX is filled with water or a mix of water and anti-freeze. As heat transfers, fluid in a closed-loop circulates between the floor and boiler. This construction is environmentally sound (recyclable), highly flexible, and resistant to high temps. Plus, it doesn’t require post-curing, which reduces energy during the manufacturing process. Now Think About The Details  No matter what exterior design or functionality you choose, you want it to hold up over time. Your other concern comes down to the details. When your outdoor environment has the right finishing touches (furniture, fabrics, pots, planters, décor, and accessories), it will set the tone and create those experiences customers desire now more than ever.  Here are a few ideas:  If you’re part of a farmers’ market, be strategic with your heat lamp placement to keep customers warm on chilly days.   Own an eatery? Entice guests to linger outdoors a little longer by adding some benches, low walls for seating, or even a lounge area with a firepit or lawn games.   Salons, barbershops, and studios can install big planters with bountiful greenery to offer more privacy to their customers and employees.   Setting up an outdoor sound system lets you set the mood and adds value without having to overspend. (Music hits the right note for practically any type of business!) Set Up Smart  As you finalize design features for your outdoor space and finish up your project, make sure your permits are in order and set up hand sanitizer stations. Then, once your space is open to the public, establish social distancing practices, do routine cleaning as you would indoors, use contactless payment methods and train your employees. You want this outdoor space to be a continued success down the road without any second-guessing. Even if some requirements and concerns fade away, customers will always appreciate outdoor spaces and sanitary best practices. Communicate to Your Customers Of course, remember to spread the word and let new and existing customers know that you’re moving outside using a consistent message across multiple channels. Post it on your website, social media platforms, and customer email/snail mail distribution lists. Reach out to local media for some free press and community engagement.  As you take it outside for greater ROI, consider these tips. Visit zurn.com to find wide-ranging product options for your next project.  

September 9, 2021

Smart Restrooms: Adopt Faster with Answers

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

Myth Busting: What You Should Know About Backflow

Image: Zurn Wilkins 375AST Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Preventer Myth Busting: What You May Not Know About Backflow Prevention Did you know the majority of water illnesses could be avoided with a properly working plumbing system? High-performing backflow preventers can help protect the integrity of your system and drinking water. Clean water is mission critical, whether protecting residential, commercial, or irrigation systems.   What is Backflow? Backflow is the undesirable reverse flow of water or mixture of water and other liquids, gases, and contaminants into the potable water system.   When Does Backflow Occur? Backflow is caused by pressure changes, including conditions of gravity, vacuum, or other pressure changes. There are two factors that contribute to reversal of flow in pipelines. One is backsiphonage and the other is backpressure.   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.   Myth:  Assemblies vs. Devices:  These are the same Mechanical backflow prevention devices and assemblies offer the best protection against cross-connection hazards, but they are not the same. Backflow prevention assemblies consist of an inlet and outlet shut-off valve and test cocks to facilitate testing of the assembly while it is in its functional in-line position. Backflow prevention devices prevent backflow by stopping the reversal of flow and are not testable once installed because they do not have inlet and outlet shut-off valves or test cocks.   Myth:  Backflow Assemblies cover all hazard applications You must understand the degree of hazard in your system to determine the proper solution and backflow assembly device you choose.   Low-hazard application: potential backflow can pollute the drinking water.  Pollution refers to undesirable effects to the water that will not cause illness, such as discoloration, smell, or taste. The Zurn Wilkins Double Check Backflow Preventers provide low hazard protection from backsiphonage and backpressure for all water application.   High-hazard application: potential backflow can contaminate the water supply.  Contamination refers to any impairment to the quality of water that can result in illness. The Zurn Wilkins Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Preventers provide high hazard protection against backsiphonage and backpressure for all water applications   Myth:  Zurn Wilkins Backflow Assemblies model numbers don’t help me identify the assembly type  By just looking at the last two digits of our backflow preventer model numbers you will be able to understand if this assembly is a Double Check Assembly (DC) or a Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly (RP).   Zurn Wilkins Double Check Assemblies (DC) and Zurn Wilkins Double Check Detector Assemblies (DCDA) always use the number 50 in the model number. DC Models include:  950XLT2, 950XL, 350XL, 350, 350A, 350AST, 450, 450ST.  DCDA Models include:  950XLTDA, 350DA, 350ADA, 350ASTDA, 450DA, 450STDA   Zurn Wilkins Reduced Pressure Principle Assemblies (RP) and Zurn Wilkins Reduced Pressure Principle Detector Assemblies (RPDA) always use the number 75 in the model number. RP Models include:  975XL2, 975XL, 375XL, 375, 375A, 375AST, 475, 475ST.  RPDA Models include:  375DA, 375ADA, 375ASTDA, 475DA, 475STDA   Myth:  Innovation does not happen in Backflow Prevention due to the required standards, approvals and listings needed. Approval agencies, representing many diverse geographical areas and levels of government, require performance criteria regarding the function, manufacturing, installation, and testing and maintenance of backflow prevention devices and assemblies. These standards ensure the integrity of the drinking water by addressing each mechanical function, and materials of the backflow preventers *Design*. Although this testing is quite rigorous and intense our engineering team continues to be inventive in designing backflow assemblies.  Any new backflow preventer assembly that comes to market with the required approvals and listings has been thoroughly vetted and in development with Zurn Wilkins engineers for multiple years before it has come to the market.   Speaking of innovative, check our video on the Zurn Wilkins 300 Small Backflow Series to hear more about how our engineers and product management are designing products to set us above the competition.        To learn more about Backflow Prevention and Zurn Wilkins Backflow Preventers check out the following brochure: Principles of Backflow Prevention

July 29, 2021

Pressure Reducing Valves Increase Landscape Watering Efficiency

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

The Expansion of PEX

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

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.”