If you’re considering switching to waterless urinals then it’s worth knowing something about the different types of waterless urinal technology that are available and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
There are essentially four types of waterless urinal technology.
- Oil-based barrier systems
- Chemical-based barrier systems
- Sleeve technology
- URIMAT ActiveTrap technology
Oil-based barrier systems
Replaceable cartridges are installed in the urinal and an oil-based seal forms a barrier through which the liquid urine cannot pass back. However, the biggest problem with this method is that the oil seal can easily be damaged if any water at all ends up going down the urinal. All it takes is a cleaner to sluice a bucket of water down the urinal and the oil seal is broken irreparably, requiring the cartridge to be replaced otherwise the washroom quickly begins to smell as the seal is no longer able to trap odours. Hence maintenance costs for oil-based systems tend to be very high and washrooms using them can be smelly.
Chemical-based barrier systems
These systems work on the same principle as the oil-based systems but using chemicals instead of oil in their cartridges. This means that they tend to be a bit more robust as the chemical barrier isn’t damaged by water in the same way as the oil would be. However, these systems tend to struggle in washrooms with high footfall. The chemical cartridge dissolves as it is used and in high footfall washrooms the the cartridge can need replacing at least monthly, sometimes even more often. If the cartridge is not replaced as soon as the chemical runs out then odour will immediate start to re-enter the washroom. Hence maintenance costs tend to be high for these systems as well, although they can work effectively in washrooms that do not experience such high footfall.
There are two different versions of sleeve technology: those that are retrofitted into existing urinals and those that require the installation of a new urinal.
Retrofit sleeve technology
This option uses an insert into your existing urinal. The insert contains a short membrane that acts as a one way valve designed to prevent odour from entering the washroom. Typically these membranes tend to be short and do not have any pinch points so they struggle to sustain performance in heavy footfall washrooms.
A major issue with retrofit products is the fact that installers often come in and simply turn the water supply off and install the cartridge into the existing urinal without replacing the waste pipework. This pipework already has urine stains within in that will cause odour in the washroom.
This approach to installation can also leave the client at serious risk of legionella. It isn’t sufficient to just turn off the water supply as that leaves you with a live cold water supply that quickly begins to stagnate and can become a breeding ground for legionella. So, although retrofit options are often promoted as being cheaper than installing new urinals, the price difference between the two is much less when the cost of a proper safe and hygienic installation of the retrofit option is taken into account, as well as the higher cost of maintenance.
URIMAT ActiveTrap membrane
The URIMAT ActiveTrap also uses a membrane, but its membrane is 90mm long, much longer than the membranes one typically sees on retrofit solutions. The membrane also includes two pinch points meaning that there is no way that any odour can be released back into the washroom.
This makes URIMAT urinals much more robust than any other waterless urinal on the market. They are well able to handle high footfall environments like shops, hotels and football stadiums, and maintenance costs tend to be much lower than for any other option.
URIMAT technology has a worldwide patent so there is nothing else like it on the market. We offer both new install and retrofit options although our recommendation would always be to install new urinals wherever possible rather than opt for the retrofit solution.
This is because of the issues that can arise when capping off your water supply for retrofit solutions, as discussed above. A new, clean installation gives your whole washroom an aesthetic upgrade, removes the risk of odour from lingering urinal stains in your old waste pipes, and ensures that your cold water supply is ‘dead legged’ safely.
Find out more
- More detail about how URIMAT waterless urinals work plus a video demonstration
- The Ecoprod Waterless Urinal Guide is a 48-page ebook with everything you need to know, from purchase and installation through to operation and maintenance
- URIMAT offers self-cleaning waterless urinals as part of its range
- Payback can be achieved in as little as 4.5 months – here are some examples
- Use our Urinal Payback Calculator to estimate your own payback period