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The Pros and Cons of Waterless Urinals

Because we are the oldest manufacturer of no-water urinals in the United States, we know probably better than any other restroom manufacturer of the "pro's" and "con's" of no-water urinals.  So, we thought we would discuss some of these with you, especially for those building owners and managers now considering the installation of waterless urinals in their facility.

First, the pro's

Least Expensive Non-water urinal

Water Savings

Of course, this is the primary benefit of waterless urinals.  In most facilities, more water is used in restrooms than any other area of the building.  While most of this water is used for flushing toilets, water consumption used for flushing urinals is not far behind. While the annual amounts can vary depending on where the urinal is located, the frequency of use, the number of males in the facility, and other factors, waterless urinals can save anywhere from 30,000 gallons to 40,000 gallons of water per year, per urinal.

Low Maintenance

Urinals, whether they are water using or no-water urinals, are very hardy and durable and can last for years and years. However, the same cannot be said for the flush handles.  In a restaurant, bar, or school, the flush handles frequently are tampered with or need service and maintenance just due to use and wear.  This is true whether they are sensor-controlled or manual. The absence of a flush handle, as is the case with a no-water urinal, eliminates this problem.

Further, we have found, and our findings are shared with other manufacturers of no-water urinals, that hard encrustation pipe clogging happens less often with waterless urinals.  It is the mixing of water and urine in flushed urinals that causes encrustations to form in pipes. With the absence of water, only soft sediments remain.

Improved Hygiene

As noted in some of our earlier blogs waterless urinals can actually be more sanitary than water using urinals.  For one thing, they stay dry.  Bacteria need moisture to grow and survive.  Further, when a urinal is flushed, it can release airborne pathogens that can coat floors, walls, and land on people's hands. This can result in cross contamination.  And of course, there is the problem with touching the flush handle.  Flush handles, like all fixtures, handles in a restroom, can collect all types of germs and bacteria.  With a waterless urinal, which has no flush handle, this means there is one less thing that needs to be touched, helping reduce the potential for cross-contamination.

Odor Control

We mentioned earlier that bacteria need water to develop and survive. So do odors, typically released by the bacteria.  This means fewer bacteria/less odor.  We should also mention that with the Waterless system, a trap or cylinder is placed at the bottom of the urinal.  Then it is filled with a sealant.  This keeps sewer odors from being released into the restroom, further keeping the restroom clean and odor free.




While it is less a problem today than years ago, there remains some user resistance to using no-water urinals. However, time and a bit of education have helped eliminate this resistance. When men realize how much water is being saved, any opposition to using waterless urinals soon dissipates.  We should also mention that some cleaning professionals are reluctant to remove the cylinder/trap at the bottom of the urinal. Because it is so crucial that these cylinders/traps be changed when necessary, some manufacturers have introduced specially designed tools to make the entire process as safe and easy as possible.


While many waterless urinals are designed to have the same footprint and convention water-using urinals, some adjustments may be necessary.  For instance, in about 50 percent of retrofits, the drain pipe may need to be lowered for proper mounting height, especially if older flushed urinals were installed.  However, when facilities realize how much water is being saved, and the return on the investment, any opposition to using waterless urinals soon dissipates


Local Approvals

Over the years, this has virtually become a non-issue.  At one time, code officials in many states, even Texas and California, which have some of the most serious water problems in the country, were reluctant to allow for the installation of waterless urinals.  Now, these states and many others offer tax rebates and other credits, encouraging building users to install no-water urinals.

Improper Cleaning

Once waterless urinals have been installed in a facility, cleaning professionals are often not taught how to clean them properly.  While it is not much different than cleaning a traditional urinal, too much water used in cleaning or the use of certain cleaning chemicals, for instance, can harm the cylinders/traps used in waterless urinals. In most cases, the distributor marketing the waterless urinal will advise cleaning professionals how they are to be cleaned and what products to use, many of which are made by the waterless urinal manufacturer.

For more information on waterless urinals and their many benefits, contact a Waterless Co. representative.