When electric hand dryers first started to appear in washrooms there was only one system; push button. Sure it did the job but they were less than hygienic. Today there is no problems with hygiene because there are automatic hand dryers readily available that work using infrared sensors, the sensors detect when hands are placed under the nozzle and when they are taken away.
Advantages of automatic hand dryers:
There are numerous advantages to automatic hand dryers, the most obvious is hygiene. There is absolutely no need to touch the dryer with your hands, there is no push button. As a result of infrared technology which turns the dryer motor and element on and off on demand, these units save energy which means they save money. Traditional hand dryers operate based on programmed time, perhaps the setting is 30 seconds. If the user should walk away after 10 seconds, the remaining time on the cycle is wasted energy. If, on the other hand a user needs 40 seconds to dry his or her hands properly, there is a need for a second cycle with the same result; wasted energy.
Another advantage is also a misnomer. There is a perception that an automatic hand dryer is less durable than the old push button type. Perhaps there was a modicum of truth to this when they were first introduced and infrared technology was in its infancy. Electronic technology has improved by leaps and bounds and rarely encounter problems that lead to failure, today the shoe is on the other foot, now push buttons fail more often as they are a mechanical device subject to wear.
The convenience, hygiene and durability is well worth the small extra cost. People who use public facilities would much rather not have to touch anything, especially a push button touched by thousands of hands.
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