Monday, August 18, 2008

I Survived a Category 5...sort of...

Today I found myself in the men's room of a local restaurant. In spite of my non-employee status, I washed my hands before leaving, and immediately looked for the paper towel dispenser.

Hands dripping wet, I found neither paper towels nor the standard electric hand dryer. What I did find was the XLerator, a supercharged electric hand dryer. The XLerator delivers a blast of air so intense, the skin on my palm was visibly pushed into a perfect circle for the six or seven seconds it took to completely dry my hands. I couldn't believe it, to the point that I returned to the sink to wash my hands (and dry them) again. With the nifty foamy soap, to boot.

With the possible exception of a visit to Taco Bell, it's rare that I find a reason to use a piece of public restroom equipment more than once on a single visit, let alone dive into it's technical specs. But here's what I've learned about the XLerator:

The air velocity where your hands should be, four inches below the nozzle, is 14,000 feet per second. Some quick calculations translate that into a wind speed of 159 miles per hour, or a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

If you've never lived through such an intense storm (combined with a 135 degree air temperature to boot), this is your chance. For a brief instant, as the sole occupant of the restroom, my inner child even thought about moving my face under the nozzle to feel the sensation of a Cat 5 on my face. Then, I thought better of it--what would I tell the opthamologist who did my recent LASIK when he asks how my corneas wound up on the floor of a men's room (not to mention lightly toasted)?

If anyone is interested, I did find an XLerator on eBay. It's on my wishlist for Chanukah, along with a urinal and bathroom-friendly TV. 125 days to go...


OhMyHeart said...

Ah this is amazingly good news! I hope they get more popular. I never liked those wimpy hand driver much. I always just end up wiping my hands on my pants.

B and T Crowd said...

Who washes their hands anyway after using the bathroom?...oh wait, I meant to ask, did you have to hit a button to start it or did it have a motion sensor?

MoCoLotion said...

Sorry, I should have mentioned--there's no button, but there is a hand-crank you need to operate to get the turbine up to 20,000 RPM and then dry your free hand. Then you need to build a small fire (they provide kindling and matches) to heat the blast of air up to 135 degrees.

It should take about 10 minutes to do all this prep work. Turns out that what you're drying off your hands isn't actually water, but rather sweat.

GreenWatcher said...


I ve used the XLerator too. Its pretty fast. I saw it in one of londons airports, then i saw the BIOJET in another (Gatwick or heathrow or vis versa). They are available from a website o3 solutions.
They give all the dryers a green rating depending on how environmentally friendly they are, so if they are quick and use little energy thay get a good rating. Didnt realise there was as many of these 'new generation' dryers.

Definitely a long way from the boring, unhygienic, messy, expensive, deforesting hand towel !!

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