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Smart toilets: regulatory and safety difficulties when installing them if purchases outside Europe

Isabella Smith

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At the end of the 90s, smart toilets seemed exotic and futuristic. People who traveled to Japan returned marveled by that technology that combined the functions of the toilet and bidet without the user having to get up from the toilet bowl. However, when they looked for this type of toilets in our country they discovered that there were hardly any suppliers and that the sale prices were exorbitant.

Today these circumstances have changed a lot and users can find a wide range of smart toilets , also called Japanese style, with prices ranging from a little over a thousand euros for full toilets to approximately two hundred, of some toilets .

Thus, the offer is wide, but the user who wishes to make such an installation in his home must be careful, because not all toilets that currently exist in the market comply with the legal requirements of European Union security . This may mean that they are prohibited from installing them or, if they are placed, that incur an illegality and jeopardize the integrity of their homes.

“There are products that arrive from external markets to Europe and that do not comply with the regulations that must be respected in European markets. These requirements are the same in all member countries and our products are developed and manufactured according to these regulations, ”explains Josep Congost, director of Design and Innovation at Roca .

Among those standards, which include sanitary ware standards or for the non-contamination of drinking water, those that can bring more problems to the user are those related to the safety of household appliances and electromagnetic compatibility .

These requirements, Congost notes, are the same as any other household appliance, although with special attention to protection against access to water inside and the type and place where the plugs can be located in a bathroom.

What regulations should smart toilets comply with?

The norms that affect any WC are aimed at maintaining hygienic conditions and respecting the environment. In general, all toilets on the market are subject to rules that control the consumption of water, hygiene or the discharge power of solids and papers , among others.

Likewise, they must comply with the regulations against contamination of drinking water , so that the materials that compose them do not alter their purity conditions.

In the case of Japanese-style toilets, these hygiene and anti-pollution standards must be added to others regarding the safety of household appliances , since they operate with electric current and electromagnetic compatibility.

In this sense, the standards that are followed regarding the safety and compatibility of household appliances are those of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC, although better known by its acronym in English: IEC). This organization is responsible for setting safety standards for electrical and electronic goods internationally.

Specifically, the IEC standards that every intelligent WC must comply with are IEC 60335-1 on the general safety requirements of household appliances and the like, IEC 60335-2-84 on particular requirements for electric toilets, IEC 60695- 10-2 about the fire hazard test, and IEC 61000-6-2 and IEC 61000-6-4 on electromagnetic compatibility.

If the Japanese-style toilets do not meet some of these safety standards, the user may have problems when installing them at home .

What toilets can cause problems?

The manufacturers and distributors of Japanese-style toilets in Spain consulted by Xataka agree that the toilets that can lead to regulatory or compatibility problems are those that are manufactured outside Europe, especially if they have been made for other countries and brought to ours . Since those that have been created within the community borders are subject to rigorous controls **.

“Before acquiring these toilets manufactured outside Spain, different characteristics must be taken into account, mainly that the electrical connection coincides with the European regulation of 220V with a frequency of 50Hz , that the shape of the plug is normalized in Spain and the output the drain on the floor is 20 centimeters from the wall ”, underlines Vicente Chanzá, general director of the company specialized in smart toilets Nashi .

Another problem “that usually exists is that those who sell these toilets are importers, not distributors, and lack technical service in Spain, ” Chanzá explains. Therefore, even if they comply with the regulations, they may not be installed correctly and, in addition, in case of any inconvenience, the client will not have anyone to turn to.

The success of Japanese style toilets

“We have customers who are authentic hostages of this type of toilet. Once you use it, you don’t want to do without it, ”says Chanzá. And it is that the popularity of this type of WC has grown exponentially since those 90s when it was an exotic product from Japan to become an appliance with high demand today.

From Roca, Congost attributes the success of this type of toilets to the optimization of the bathroom space, by combining WC and bidet, and to a better experience of personal hygiene of the user , since the latest models of intelligent toilets incorporate “innovative washing systems and drying of intimate areas that allow maximum cleaning, comfort and well-being to be achieved ”.

An opinion shared by Chanzá, who recommends that Japanese-style toilets have at least the functions of subsequent washing, female washing, enema function, eco mode, children mode, drying function, massage with pulsation or sweeping, number adjustment of water pressure levels, water temperature adjustment, automatic unloading of the WC without touching, position of the injectors and saving mode of the WC when the user is not.