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Plumbing Tips for Hands-Free Faucets

Electronic, hands-free faucets not only help reduce germ spread, but also conserve water usage.

Hands-free electronic faucets are a smart choice to help reduce the spread of germs in healthcare facilities. So it’s no surprise that professional groups give these fixtures good grades: a joint statement issued by the American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in April 2011 praised electronic faucets because they “lessen risk of recontamination of hands after washing.”

However, achieving the desired sanitary benefits depends as much on good plumbing as on product choice. In fact, plumbing professionals point out that the installation is a key element. Some suggestions:

  • Keep supply water hot. Some hospitals keep water at around 115 degrees F. to reduce the chance of scalding, but a recent draft standard from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) aims to change this practice by recommending that water circulate at a temperature of at least 124 degrees F., a recommendation echoed by the Centers for Disease Control. Thermostatic mixing valves need to be installed to guard against scalding.
  • Use a recirculating hot water supply. Not only does this ensure instant hot water at the tap, but the water can’t get cold in the pipe, which reduces the chance of bacteria growth.
  • Choose fixtures with a sentinel flush feature. If the fixture has been idle for a number of hours, it will flush in order to clean any water out of its internal workings. This, too, reduces the chance of bacterial growth due to stagnant water.

The point is that smart plumbing procedures optimize the function of any faucet, whether electronic or manual.

Sanitary control isn’t the only benefit offered by electronic fixtures. They also help conserve water and reduce the chance of flooding. At Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., hands-free electronic faucets have been used for the last seven years with great success, according to the plumbing management team. They install electronic faucets in public areas so there’s no worry about visitors turning something on and walking away with it still running.

In other words, these fixtures are a win for everyone: patients and staff.

For details on commercial hands-free faucets from Moen, check out moenpro.com.