Gone are the days of waiting for what seems like eons for hands to dry under the lukewarm, misdirected and often bacteria-riddled air of hand dryers from yesteryear.
Water clings to skin both as a thin film and as loose droplets. Instead of trying to evaporate those droplets — the means to an end employed by outdated dryers — touchless high-velocity hand dryers blow away water droplets using a focused, high-velocity air stream. The high-velocity air also breaks up the layer of water vapour between the air and the skin, causing the thin film of water to evaporate more quickly than it would using a conventional dryer.
Over the last 40 years, numerous scientific researchers have valued the hygienic safety of warm air as a drying medium. The new generation of touchless, hands-free, high-speed hand dryers proves to be the leader in efficient, hygienic hand drying. In addition, they are the most cost-efficient and environmentally sound drying technique.
NSF International developed a protocol that provides for evaluation and testing of commercial hand dryers to certify that they dry hands hygienically. NSF P335 – Hygienic Commercial Hand Dryers establishes health and sanitation requirements for hygienic hand dryers.
This includes requiring hand dryers to dry hands completely within 15 seconds using air filtered with high efficiency particulate air filtration, thereby removing 99.9% or more of airborne bacteria, according to NSF International.
Additional requirements include:
• Hands-free operation.
• Water disinfection.
• Resistance to burns.
• Product cleanability.
• Noise levels.
Hygienic hand dryers that meet all protocol requirements will bear the NSF mark.
When compared to traditional methods for drying hands, high-powered hand dryers offer considerably less waste; in fact, waste is virtually non-existent. And, because hand dryers leave no refuse behind, germ-causing bacteria are not given an opportunity to breed in damp receptacles.
But, aside from the hygienic and environmental benefits of high-speed hand dryers, they are also proving to be far more economic.
JetDryer, for example, claims that with an old unit it takes 30-45 seconds to reach a dry finish running at 2400 watts compared with a third to quarter of the time at 1150 watts with their ultra high speed dryer.
Similarly, the Dyson Airblade uses up to 80% less energy compared with conventional hand dryers. Using high velocity sheets of unheated air, hands are dried in just ten seconds, while at the same time 99.9% of bacteria and mould is removed from the air using HEPA filtration.
Dyson claim, from a cost perspective, for the price of a single paper towel one of their high speed hand dryers can dry 29 pairs of hands. This is based on average paper towel cost of $0.01 and an electricity charge of $0.155 per kWh excluding GST.
Noise is another factor. Older hand dryers typically run at 85dba – a level that Australian and New Zealand Standards would require the use of earplugs for a sustained period of time. JetDryer, for example, runs at only 65dba.
The Dyson hand dryer was reviewed by Australian food technologists, in accordance with HACCP Australia’s Food Safety Certification Program and approved as the first and only hand dryer endorsed for food safety excellence and use in food handling areas.
Cost efficiency also runs into the use of labour. In addition to producing less waste, today’s hand dryers are hygienic and essentially maintenance-free – except for a recommended annual cleaning, a quality hand dryer will need little to no maintenance.
The savings made possible by a high-speed hand dryer are absolutely quantifiable: For example, a high-speed hand dryer can deliver up to 95% cost savings when compared to traditional means if you calculate what you would have to spend on supplies and dispenser maintenance versus a one-time installation.