Over the sink hand dryers.  Do they exist and what should you be aware of?

Knowing where to install a hand dryer can be a task in itself.  It can be dependant on a number of factors including:

What’s the floor layout?

Where does the washroom traffic flow? You will have been in a washroom where you are using the hand dryer and others are having to push past you to get in or out.

How big is the washroom?

If there’s limited room it may be worth considering a hand dryer with a slim depth so that you can maximise the space you do have.

Where are the sinks located?

How far does the washroom user have to travel from the sink to the hand dryer?  You’ll have a few issues that need addressing. Will the person with wet hands leave a trail of water on the floor? The water could also go over themselves or other uses. This becomes a health and safety matter with wet floors and also an annoyance if peoples clothes and shoes are getting wet moving from one location to another.

Is there a better way?

Keeping the hand washing and hand drying in the same location makes a lot of sense.  But can it be done?  The answer is yes and here is how.

You can install a hand dyer over the sink.  This will ensure:

  1. People stay in the same location, decreasing movement in the washroom and minimising potential collisions
  2. It keeps the water over the sink so any residual is blown straight down the drain.  It never reaches the floor.
  3. Space in the rest of the washroom is freed up

Here’s one thing to consider when installing a hand dryer over or near to a sink:

Ingress protection

This has been discussed in more detail in another post.  But to summarise, it is good practice when installing a hand dryer close to a sink to:

  • Make sure you make a note of the IP rating
  • If the hand dryer has an IP rating lower than IPX4 then it should be located 60cm away from the water source (tap)
  • If it has an IP rating IPX4 or above it is ok to locate it within the 60cm radius of the water source

To understand this better please review the blog post here where it describes this is greater depth

So, you can place a hand dryer over the sink if you follow the recommendations

Is there a better solution?

Yes, there is!

You may have already seen the soap, water and hand dryer all in the same unit.  These are great at keeping people in the same place and very convenient for the user.  They are however large units, which usually need to be recessed.  So, they take up a lot of room and create a lot of installation problems regarding plumbing, electrics and where you are actually going to fit them in the washroom area.

An even better way of keeping a hand dryer over the sink is to install a hand dryer tap.  These are an extremely compact way of keeping the wash and dry methods in the same area and you can get them as close to the water source as possible.  They take up hardly any room on the wall, if any, depending upon the type of finish required.

You can locate them on the counter top or extending directly out the wall.  In wall mounting the area taken up is tiny.  Leaving loads of wall space unoccupied and making sure the area doesn’t become cluttered.

Dyson have invented the Airblade Tap , available in a wall mounted, short neck deck mounted and long neck deck mounted version.  These are superbly crafted and great performing, everything you would expect from a Dyson product.

They also have the water and hand drying source coming from the same unit.  Providing a 2 for 1 if you like.

This does mean that you have to replace the water source and the hand dryer at the same time.  This is of course fine if you do not mind doing this and you were replacing the taps anyway.  But what if you already have brand new taps?  Or indeed you want to invest in some fancy designer taps you have seen?

There are other options out there where you can retrospectively fit this type of hand dryer next to the original water taps.  You also have the option to totally renovate the washroom with taps of your choice and still add this type of hand dryer to the sink area.

The Dryflow Dri-tap allows you to add this type of hand dryer to any current sink and tap area, without the need to replumb the water taps if this isn’t desired.  These are available in a deck mounted or wall mounted option and provide dry times that will not disappoint the user.  They are a little less powerful than the Dyson Airblade Tap, however this can also be an advantage.

Firstly, they can be used with any current sink.  Dyson recommend certain types of sink are used with their model.  This is mainly due to the splash back that can occur using other sinks.  The water in the sink can be blown back on the user and everywhere else if the right type of sink isn’t used.  The gentler airflow of the Dri-tap minimises this concern at most regular sinks.  We’d still recommend a trial at first to make sure any hand dryer tap is compatible with your current type of sink.

The Airblade Tap will certainly provide you with a faster dry time.  But as stated, the Dri-tap makes sure every user leaves with fully dried hands without getting frustrated.  If you’ve used the Warner Howard Airforce, then the dry time of the Dri-tap is comparable with this.

Both the Airblade Tap and the Dri-tap are robustly made from the finest materials. You will not have a problem with either in terms of appearance and vandal resistance.  We would recommend that the Airblade Tap be placed in high traffic locations (up to 500 uses a day).  Mainly because it has a motor life superior to the Dri-tap, but also in these types of locations, the quicker dry times will certainly help with washroom traffic flow.

The Dri-tap is still good for up to 300 uses a day so can cope comprehensively with medium traffic.  These are a great option for lower traffic locations that would like this type of hand dryer but don’t need the slightly enhanced properties of the Dyson.  They’re also quieter in operation, so office blocks may prefer this to minimise noise transfer into working areas.  The Airblade Tap certainly isn’t the quietest due to its performance capabilities.

In terms of energy use, both units are very energy efficient.  The Dri-tap can run between 500W – 1000W.  The Dyson Airblade Tap runs at 1600W.  The faster dry times of the Airblade Tap, and the lower energy consumption of the Dri-tap, balance out the costs to run both units.  On average you are looking to spend about 38p – 77p per 1000 dries using the Dryflow Dri-tap and around 64p per 1000 dries for the Airblade Tap.

Matching water taps and soap dispensers can be purchased alongside the Dri-Tap, so you really do have a lot of choice of how you want your washroom accessories to look.

In summary

Placing a hand dryer over a sink can have a number of benefits in terms of health & safety, space available and user experience.

This can be achieved by locating a standard hand dryer over the sink but factors need to be considered relating to the suitability of that hand dryer. This includes its IP rating and how close it should be installed next to the water source.

Hand dryers specifically designed to be placed next to water sources have come to the market.  Having the soap, wash and dry in one area is certainly not a new phenomenon.  These have been seen before, however they were all situated in one large unit so took up a lot of space.  These also certainly couldn’t be retrospectively fitted to existing taps and sink units.

Modern hand drying taps are now available to take this convenience concept further.  You can now fit these compact units very close to sinks which take up minimal space, yet still provide the same benefits.  Each hand dryer tap has its own unique advantages, relevant to the individuality of location they are to be fitted.

Whether it is a complete refit or an upgrade, there’s an option out there to suit every budget and requirement.

Can you install a hand dryer over the sink?  You certainly can and we hope you now know how!

For more information or for help in finding your ideal hand dryer or washroom product, please call us UK offices: North: 0114 3540047 South: 0203 3270448; Eire office: +353 19036387, use our contact us page by clicking here or click to visit the website.  You can also use our Intelligent Search Tool that helps you identify the perfect dryer for your location by clicking here.

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