Travelers to West Los Angeles are likely to see two recent innovations in the city's newer and more posh hotels: water-free urinals and a new generation of colorful, fragrant urinal screens.
The switch to water-free urinals has almost become mandatory. Southern California has wrestled with water shortages and droughts for decades. Because just one waterless urinal can save as much as 35,000 gallons of water per year, they are fast becoming one of the most effective ways to reduce water consumption. Some regional water utilities even offer generous incentive to install these urinals, in the form of tax rebates.
However, water-free urinals must be properly and frequently maintained or they can develop odors. The uric salts in urine can build up in the base of the urinal. Whereas in a traditional urinal this buildup can be flushed away with water, in a water-free urinal it can collect and, as it does, release odors. This is where the new generation of colorful and fragrant urinal screens comes in.
The first urinal screens were developed to help prevent debris such as cigarettes, paper, and other refuse from working its way into urinal drains. This is why they are designed to fit directly over the base of the urinal.
For decades, building administrators installed urinal screens along with white urinal blocks—hockey puck-shaped deodorizers—that sit on top of the screen to help eliminate odors and emit a slight fragrance. However, some of these blocks contained ingredients that were later found to be harmful to small animals. As a result, some states started banning their use.
Today's urinal screens no longer use harmful ingredients, and puck-shaped blocks, while still available, are installed less frequently. Instead, many building owners and managers, including those at posh LA hotels, are installing urinal screens that use fragrance ingredients that are proven safe. These next-generation urinal screens release what one manufacturer describes as a "premium" fragrance that lasts up to 30 days. Some are also available in a variety of colors, adding to the restroom's décor.
As to changing out the screens every 30 days, some custodial operations install them on specific days of the month, for instance, the first or the fifteenth. That makes it easy to remember when they should be replaced. Further, most of these new urinal screens can be disposed of with regular trash. No special steps must be taken.
When selecting one of these new urinal screens, check to see if it is also designed to prevent what is called "splash back." This helps protect the user as well as ensuring no urine is splashed onto floors, walls, or surrounding partitions, further helping to reduce odor and making the custodial worker’s job a lot easier. For more information on Impact's complete line of washroom care products, contact an Impact representative.