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.      

January 5, 2021

Why Smart Plumbing Shouldn't Use Bluetooth

Bluetooth comes up short with range, analytics, bandwidth, security and more. Imagine this: You’re confronted with a DIY project or some serious cleaning you can no longer put off. You pop in your wireless headphones to get in the zone. It’s working its magic. You’re feeling productive, enjoying a podcast you’ve been meaning to check out. You quickly run outside to throw out the garbage and...(signal lost). The problem is Bluetooth can only take you so far. That is, unless you’re willing to carry your device with you from task to task (which is a no). Bluetooth falls short in other areas aside from limited proximity, such as bandwidth, security, and data mining.   Leverage LoRa for a Smart Restroom True IoT-enabled, Cloud-enabled products rely on LoRa devices for their intelligent data analytics and far-reaching range. In fact, LoRa literally translates to Long Range. Its function is in the namesake. How much so? Your entire ecosystem of plumbing products should only require this single gateway device. LoRa covers a 1,000-ft spherical radius and can communicate with up to 900 products—you can acquire loads of restroom insights from that! What’s more, you get a lot of gusto from the gateway. LoRa has a very persistent signal. As mentioned, with Bluetooth you must be close in range. Even when you put a mesh network together, you are limited by distance and the number of products that can communicate to one device. LoRa, on the other hand, manages an entire building of products, great distance and far fewer disruptions, while cutting down on power consumption.   Whether it’s hardwired or battery operated, Zurn has the largest number of smart plumbing products that will keep you connected anywhere in your building. Connected Faucets Connected Flush Valves Connected Backflow Prevention

December 10, 2020

Earn and Prove LEED Points with Your Existing Building

New construction tends to organically LEED the way to increased energy and water efficient measures. More and more commercial operations innovate through technologies, and contractors design smarter and leaner every time they break ground. Customers expect businesses to be more environmentally aware, which adds even more motivation. Still, you don’t have to go back to square one to reduce your footprint and achieve your LEED certification. Existing buildings can earn points (and prove them) by upgrading to IoT-enabled technology. LEED recognizes green buildings across the world with approximately 70,000 building projects rated and registered as LEED in the US alone since the program came out. For existing businesses that may not want to rebuild, data helps them find opportunities and prove efficiencies. LEED rating systems for existing buildings Building owners have options for pursuing LEED certification, depending on their goals, such as cost savings, increased productivity or operational enhancements: LEED Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) – used to certify the operations and maintenance of a building project – rates both the physical systems and the way the building is operated. You can work towards LEED O+M for the entire building or simply approach a specific area within the building, such as a cafeteria or exercise room. LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C) centers around improving the interior for people’s wellbeing, not just the environment’s. This option works well for shared spaces, especially ones in metropolitan areas or that experience high traffic over long periods of times, such as office buildings.   Smart water solutions for both certification options In both cases, the Smart Water Systems help owners score points for certification (and score points with customers). Connected products, enabled by IoT technology, improve, measure and verify a building’s water consumption and water system efficiency. The LEED Smart Water Systems credit focuses on data collection, analysis and data-driven efficiency improvement. This is where smart technologies come in. Connected plumbing fixtures and devices gather data to alert owners of leaks and dive deeper into water usage insights. From there, facilities teams can better control water consumption, performance thresholds and preventive maintenance. For example, with connected faucets and connected flush valves, facilities teams can closely track fixture usage patterns and water consumption metrics and trends. They can set customized alert parameters to detect issues and repairs needed, and reminders to perform preventive maintenance at low-traffic times. They can also learn more about the restroom environment itself, allowing them to lower flow settings, etc. Connected backflow preventers can monitor flow, pressure and allow for remote shutoff. Maintenance and facilities teams can also view relief valve discharge over periods of time. That way, they can get a better handle on total water used from your municipal water supply and segregate those metrics from your building’s use of other water sources. Backflow preventers dually work towards LEED by conserving indoor greenspaces. Bottom line: Monitoring is the key to gaining a better understanding of an existing building’s water system and usage patterns and data takes you to the certification finish line. Connected products allow facilities management teams to identify opportunities to reduce water consumption and make data-driven decisions that can prevent major issues or water loss. Top 3 Reasons LEED certification is much more than a rubber stamp to show your commitment to sustainability. There are measurable operational benefits and economic impacts. Here are the top three: Higher building occupancy and lease rates According to data analysis by the S. Green Building Council, LEED-certified buildings attract more tenants at higher rents than non-green buildings. Reduced energy and water use A year-long assessment of 22 sustainably designed US buildings, revealed the LEED-certified buildings used 25% less energy and 11% less water than industry average. What would that mean for your utility bills? Competitive market advantage and improved financial performance Real estate investors look for a faster return, making the property more valuable. On top of that, building owners may experience local and federal tax breaks, greater profits from a boost in productivity, and lower energy and water consumption costs.  Interested in connected products to improve your building’s efficiency? Visit zurn.com/plumbsmart to start your path to LEED Certification without a complete rebuild.

November 26, 2020

K-12 Schools: Simple Solutions Promote Trust and Comfort

Virtual, split schedule, or in-person with safety measures—however you’re back to school, you’re doing what’s best for your students, staff and community. There’s the physical aspect to promoting hygiene. There’s also the emotional aspect. You want everyone to feel comfortable within your environment. K-12 education faces unique challenges, depending on age and structure. By nature, younger students want to be social and interact and play. At the middle and high school levels, students engage in collaborative learning. They also frequently flood the hallways throughout the day. How can you maintain positive interaction for development while adhering to safe measures?   Take steps that make sense for your community As school facilities reopen, many are encouraging handwashing education, social distancing strategies, and cleaning and disinfecting best practices. Many are also addressing fluctuating building occupancy levels and density of traffic flow. Here are a few of the practical steps school administrators and facility managers plan to integrate to offer some peace of mind and help minimize the spread of germs. Implement alternating schedules to reduce student volume during the school day. Reorganize desks in a pattern that encourages socializing from an appropriate physical distance, such a circle with the teacher’s desk included. Reduce the frequency students switch classrooms or enter the halls for breaks to control traffic flow. Add temperature stations at all entrances, which can be run by staff or automated. Upgrade HVAC air filters, and supplement HVAC systems with portable air cleaners. Install HEPA filtration. Increase ventilation by keeping classroom windows open, even a few inches, when appropriate for temperatures. Add handwashing stations or make hand sanitizer easily accessible throughout your building, especially around entryways with doorknobs or handles.   Make restrooms the ultimate sanitation station School restrooms are the epitome of shared-surface, high-traffic areas. Consider updating restrooms with touchless technologies that contribute to a cleaner environment. Touchless solutions that are IoT-enabled (connected) allow facility and maintenance managers to monitor and understand restroom usage so they can adjust traffic patterns and cleaning protocols. Touchless and smart technologies for restrooms include: Connected sensor faucets – a concealed sensor lens enables hands-free operation to reduce the spread of germs, while wireless monitoring technology tracks data on usage, water consumption, and preventative maintenance No-splash handwashing systems – sensor-operated faucets and soap dispensers mounted in a wide, shallow basin enable students to complete handwashing quickly and effectively in school restrooms without touching surfaces, bumping elbows or splashing water Handwashing scorecard – connected solutions capture students’ handwashing ratio, frequency and duration in real time to promote hand hygiene Connected sensor flush valves – enable facilities managers to monitor flush valve usage count, water consumption, and preventative maintenance for toilet systems and urinals—all while students and staff go through the motions without manually flushing.  Investment in upgrades to smart, sensor-operated restrooms will create value for schools over the long term no matter what the new normal looks like. Zurn offers a range of connected solutions, depending on your budget and desired results. If you’re looking for a more immediate ROI, Zurn’s touchless solutions (without smart capabilities) also enhance the restroom experience, helping to reduce germs on surfaces and hands.  For additional information and best practices for cleaning and disinfecting, visit the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a division of ISSA.

November 12, 2020

World Toilet Day: Learn, Share and Act

Did you know there’s a global observance today? It’s nothing to do with pumpkin spice or bubble wrap appreciation (that is indeed a real designation). No, today we draw our attention to something more critical and relevant than ever—sustainable sanitation and public health. November 19 marks World Toilet Day—an awareness and actionable campaign spearhead by the United Nations. Just how critical is WTD? Currently, 4.2 billion people around the globe do not have access to safely managed sanitation. 673 million lack any form of toilet systems and 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities. Untreated human waste can spread diseases into water supplies and the food chain for billions of people, and an estimated 432,000 people diarrheal deaths occur every year. World Toilet Day aims to tackle this global problem and achieve sustainable sanitation and water for all by 2030. Since commencing in 2001 and an annual observance starting in 2013, its reached great milestones through working with public and private sectors, including hygienic programs and toilet system installations in healthcare facilities in wide-reaching developing countries. Last year, we were fortunate enough to donate our solutions and monetarily for future projects underway this year and beyond. We look forward to hearing more about the progress after installation and will keep our audience updated. Here are some ways you can join the movement and raise awareness on your own. Straight from the UN—here’s how YOU can recognize WTD Learn: Read up As strange as it is to say, the history of the toilet, and plumbing in general, is a fascinating read. From the ancient Romans to the Middle East to John Crapper and today’s futuristic thrones, there’s plenty to learn about. A Brief History of The Flush Toilet Share: Post something From facts to inspirational stories, share posts from the UN-Water, Plumbers Without Borders, or even Zurn. You can find stories, data and social media content from the UN website. Don’t forget #WorldToiletDay! Act: Act on it With the help and guidance of UN-Water and its partners, you can host an event to raise for the cause. You can even virtually connect with others interested in making a difference. Whether it’s simply educating yourself on this global crisis, posting for others to learn too, or taking action, no measure is insignificant. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can find community during challenges and personal growth after problem solving. Above all, we are thankful for our health.