Simplifying Urinals

Date posted: 4.08.2021

How do you title a blog about Men’s Urinals to grab someone’s attention? Most businesses will have them, maintain them and if truth be told, not really understand how they work or the true cost of them. In basic form, a Urinal is a solution for collecting urine and taking it out of a building out to sewage. Not a pleasant thought, however a necessary process that will be completed billions of times a day around the world. In reality, it is not always simple, efficient or well managed. What we want to do is talk about the variations to that process, and the pros and cons that come with the different solutions on the market today.


Let’s start from the top, literally…

If you have ever frequented a male washroom and looked up, you will have seen a large trough like container that is the source of water to flush the urinals - this is the cistern. One cistern may look after 1, 2 or even 3 urinals. These are sometimes hidden behind a false wall, so will be what we call an exposed or concealed cistern.

Exposed Cistern Urinal

An exposed urinal is when the cistern is visible to the user (usually placed above head height on the same wall as the urinal). This means that the pipework connecting the cistern to the urinal is also visible.


  • Easier to work on if any problems arise with the relevant pipework or cistern
  • Leaks and issues are immediately visible


  • May not appear as aesthetic to some businesses wanting a more premium look
  • Open to vandalism or tampering of fittings

Concealed Cistern Urinal

A concealed cistern means that the cistern and the relevant pipework is hidden behind wall panels.


  • Gives a sleeker appearance without the ‘messiness’ of the exposed pipework
  • Less likely to be damaged or vandalised


  • More difficult to carry out repairs when needed
  • Can’t always see leaks or issues immediately

Direct Water Feed

This option doesn’t require a cistern to be in place, so rather than have a cistern fill and flush water, some installations will have a direct feed of water from the mains. This solution requires a clever water management system to control the flushes, otherwise, you would essentially be running a tap straight through the urinals.

Waste Removal

A bottle trap is the most widely used trap for urinals as they are the easiest to clear when blocked. They are not recommended to be used in conjunction with a waterless system though as urine will store in the bottom portion of the trap and cause smells and create blockages.

The other main method of controlling the urinal waste is by using S and P traps. As these are free flowing, the water stored in there after flushing will mostly be clean. However, due to the smaller diameter than a bottle trap there is more chance of an S and P trap getting blocked when an incorrect flush frequency is used - while also being more difficult to clear.

Flushing and Water Management

On average, over 85% of wasted water in a building can be attributed to the men’s urinals - that is a shocking statistic.

An average cistern holds around 9 litres, and with most flushing up to 96 times per day, the daily water usage can be upwards of 850 litres! That water comes at a cost, both monetary and environmentally. We need to be mindful of the two, as its regulation is now governed by law – with a water management solution required to be in place in all washrooms.

This expansive amount of water will often clock up some unexpected and unmonitored costs, therefore a few measures can be put in place to reduce the water consumption.

PIR Sensor

One of these options is to use a PIR Sensor. This works on a basis of only being activated once someone has been in the washrooms and triggered the sensor, ultimately, they may not have even used the urinal.

Once the sensor has been triggered, that starts a process where the valve will open to the cistern to let water in for the pre-set fill time. Once the cistern is then full, it will automatically flush and the sensor will then start to look for another trigger as the cycle is continued.

The cistern can also be set to flush if it hasn’t been triggered for a set period of time, for example, every few hours. This will keep the bowl hygienically clean and wash away any urine or small debris from the bowl.

Water Manager (Flush Controller)

Another method of managing water use is via a flush control system.

Without a flush control system, a cistern will continuously fill and flush unnecessarily wasting water, energy and money. When a flush control system is fitted, the regularity of flushes can be set to specific cycles throughout the day. In partnership with a good urinal sleeve, the daily flushes can be reduced from up to 96 per day, to as low as 4.

A system like this is often viewed as the best way to regulate water use to maintain a hygienic washroom environment, while also being able to vastly reduce your water usage. Standard controllers are set to a specific cycle per 24 hours, however the Uretech Water Manager from HSG is the only controller on the market to feature a real time clock – which allows you to mirror flushes to business hours, down to the exact day and hour of when you choose.

Our Queens Award winning Ureco allows our Uretech Water Management system to be set to just 4 flushes per day. When paired together the live bio enzyme in the Ureco is able to break down the uric salts and limescale, stopping them from hardening in the pipework. Each flush then washes that soft residue away and the cycle starts again. This allows us to vastly reduce water usage, whilst maintaining clear and free flowing pipework – and with the patented odour lock we can eliminate urinal smells from the washroom. You can learn more about how this works here, or by watching the video below.

Want to learn more?

Get in touch with our team at or on 0800 032 7760 for some urinal based technical help and assistance.

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