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The Truth of Sensor-Activated Plumbing

The world is being taken over by robots. Or at least it feels that way. It seems like every single day there is some new technological advancement or new gadget that makes our lives easier and sees dull and meaningless parts of our lives handed over to machines. You may have noticed this trend when it comes to commercial or industrial plumbing in Sydney and other cities. Every second bathroom seems to have sensor-activated toilets and taps. These sensor systems are advertised to commercial property owners as a way of saving water, and therefore money, so people call up the first plumbers they can find in Sydney and fit out every bathroom with these devices. But what if sensor-activated toilets and taps don’t actually do what they say they do?

sensor tapA study in Florida that lasted from February 2007 to January 2009 found just that. In this study they looked at the demand for water in the bathrooms of an office building with all manual fittings, including toilets, urinals and taps. They then replaced the manual fittings with sensor-activated ones, and though the people conducting the study expected to see a rise in demand for water, they were shocked by how great it was. With the manual fittings the demand had been 2,475 litres per day, but after the sensor-activated plumbing was installed the figure almost doubled to 4,700 litres a day. Most shockingly, sensor-activated toilets used 54% more water than their manual companions. This possibly partly caused by a very unsettling habit of phantom flushing – everyone has used a sensor-activated toilet and found that it’s been a little too keen to flush.

The only real reason that could be argued for installing sensor-activated taps is for hygiene purposes, but it is a question of personal taste and what range of people will be using the bathrooms that will tell you if you really need to be bothered with any sensor-activated plumbing.

If you’re interested in commercial plumbing in Sydney, call G.F. James Plumbing on (02) 9649 1099, or go online to

Geoff James
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Geoff grew up in Berala near Lidcombe in Sydney and attended Birrong Boys High School where he finished his Year 10 school certificate. Geoff was encouraged by his uncle to consider plumbing as he had done a bit of plumbing work on weekends during his school years. DJ Childs Plumbing in Canterbury offered him a plumbing apprenticeship and he spent most of his time working on plumbing maintenance and new roofs on commercial sites. Geoff on Google+.