ADA Hand Dryers and Guidelines for Restrooms

If you decided to upgrade to an ADA paper towel dispenser ten years ago to be compliant, you might need a refresher.

Times have changed. Complying with regulations isn’t just a competitive advantage now, it’s a requirement. Every public restroom must meet ADA standards. So why not follow the law and accommodate all your guests at the same time? 

Switch to an ADA-approved hand dryer solution. Whether you own a restaurant, small business, or any type of facility with a public restroom, it is crucial to keep all ADA guidelines regarding hand dryers in mind.

What is ADA Compliance for Restrooms? 

ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against those with disabilities in public spaces. This includes public stores, restaurants, schools, transportation, workspace, and much more. Private areas in these locations, such as a restroom, must also comply with ADA guidelines. In 2010, there were updates made surrounding ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Specifically, it helps folks construct or renovate public restrooms to meet all ADA guidelines. Refusing to do so can result in fines and the possibility of being shut down completely.

ADA Hand Dryer Solutions

ADA compliance for restrooms can be a bit more complicated than you might think.

It’s not as easy as simply tearing down the paper towel dispenser and installing a hand dryer in the same place. There are several things you’ll want to consider. 

Browse ADA Hand Drying Solutions   

Excel Dryer ThinAir ADA Hand Dryer Installed

The Height of ADA Hand Dryers

The ADA states that paper towels must be accessible from 15 inches to 48 inches above the ground. They must also allow both forward and side reach for people in wheelchairs. To be more precise, the operable part of the dispenser must be no higher than 48 inches. This could include the handle or lever, a touch-free sensor, and more – it all depends on what type of dispenser is present. The height of ADA hand dryers, therefore, must meet the same guidelines. All buttons and touch-free sensors must fall between a height of 38 inches to 48 inches off the floor. Push buttons must be operable with one hand and should start the hand dryer with a force of no more than five pounds.

Lefties, Righties and the Visually-Impaired

The ADA also states that hand dryers must be accessible for both right-handed and left-handed users. This allows for various wheelchair approaches in the bathroom, ensuring that every person can successfully dry their hands without a problem. Hand dryers also should be visibly different than surrounding materials so the vision-impaired community can easily access the dryer. Hand dryers must protrude a certain length from the wall, as well, so visually impaired visitors can feel them easier too.

ADA Hand Dryers and Excel Dryer

Excel Dryer is committed to ensuring ADA adherence through innovative technology as the manufacturer of the original, high-speed, energy-efficient, and now EPD Certified XLERATOR® Hand Dryer. We developed the first ADA compliant recess kit for a high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer, an accessory that instantly makes any XLERATOR an ADA hand dryer. We then created our XChanger® Combo Kit for retrofitting paper towel dispensers to the XLERATOR Hand Dryer. This combo kit allows for a seamless switch without causing any damage to the existing space or wall.

Excel Dryer also introduced the ThinAir® Hand Dryer, part of an expanded and enhanced line of high-efficiency, EPD Certified hand dryers. ThinAir is a surface-mounted, ADA-compliant hand dryer that dries hands fast, using only 950 watts or less. Following ADA guidelines for the visually impaired, ThinAir protrudes less than four inches from the wall and is fully ADA compliant when installed at the recommended height of 37 inches above the finished floor (AFF).ThinAir, like all high-efficiency hand dryer models from Excel Dryer, now comes with new enhanced standard features, including adjustable sound, speed and heat controls, multi-voltage options, and an externally visible service LED. In addition to the original ABS polymer cover, ThinAir is available in brushed stainless steel and features a washable pre-filter to extend the unit’s life.

Concluding Thoughts on Why ADA Hand Dryers are Essential

Every architect, builder, and facilities manager in the U.S. should be familiar with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. 

ThinAir hand dryer chrome ADA hand dryer

Established in 1991, these outline technical requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which mandates that all workplaces, government services, places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities do not prohibit access and use by persons with disabilities. Anyone involved with new construction since the ADA’s enactment should know how restrooms should be designed in order to improve ADA compliance. Excel Dryer can help. Our ADA hand dryers are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and high-performing while helping your facility meet ADA bathroom requirements.