I remember when I was about six or seven, automatic sinks and flushers were the coolest things ever. “No hands!” I remember the Beavis & Butthead episode when they stand in front of a urinal, move to the next one, and laugh while the urinals flush in a line.
If only automatic flushers worked as well as that. I walked into the bathroom today and stepped up to the urinal when it flushed. I did my deed and it flushed again as I exited the area. That’s twice as much water as if I just did it myself. Ostensibly, automatic flushers/sinks were implemented for three reasons: to save you the trouble of pushing the handle, to save yourself from germs on the handle, and to save water. To paraphrase Cal Naughton from “Talladega Nights,” these are three pretty good things. Problems arise in implementation, with the sinks being a bigger issue than the toilets. On about a third of sinks the sensors don’t work, and on the ones that do, you usually have to keep your hands about an inch from the sensor for the sink to release water, which comes out in a lukewarm dribble. Until we can get automatic sinks that work reliably I’ll pass on the benefits and gladly incur the small cost of getting germs for a tap that works.