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A Guide to Cold Water Dispensers for Offices

Authored by: Adam Tuson, Director
The CWS b3 Mains Fed Water Cooler
CWS b3 Mains Fed Water Cooler

With so many water coolers to choose from where do you start? You can always call us, and we will be happy to help, but by considering a few of the key elements early in the process, this will help fine tune your search and ensure you end up with a dispenser ideal for your specific requirements.

Firstly, if the question is ‘should I or shouldn’t I provide chilled filtered water?’ then let’s look at a few of the benefits:

It is well known that a hydrated workforce is much more efficient as even minor dehydration can reduce levels of concentration, cause headaches, tiredness and irritability. An office water dispenser which provides chilled, filtered drinking water is always well received, particularly if from a unit where colleagues can fill reusable bottles or use supplied glasses, removing the environmental impact of single-use bottles.

Machine Types

Units come in a variety of shape and sizes. They can be floor standing, counter top or under sink with a separate tap. In terms of water provided, the options are cold, ambient, sparkling and hot. Many machines offer all types, but mostly a combination of cold and ambient. Providing sparkling water tends to be the most expensive option and will require additional CO2 cylinders.

If you are looking to provide chilled water - the most popular option, then you will need access to a power supply to run the cooler. The other question is about whether to have a filter fitted. Once again, most units are installed with a filter. While UK tap water is of an excellent standard; a filter will improve the taste and remove any odours that may be present.

Considerations

‘Design’ or ‘function’ led – where the look of the cooler is important, to fit in well with a smart reception area, for example, then there are many ‘design-led’ coolers available. Where the need is more about giving colleagues access to great tasting water there are many cost-effective solutions which do just as good a job.

Do consider how the water will be drunk – this may sound an odd question, but if colleagues fill bottles make sure the unit has a sufficiently tall dispense area - from the water spout to the drip tray - to accommodate water bottles.

The CWS Arctic Revolution 70 water dispenser
CWS Arctic Revolution 70

Do I have space for a unit?

Units are not large - on average they are about 350mm to 400mm square so don’t take up much space. However, if there is insufficient floor space, there are other small water dispenser options. Very popular in small offices are table top bottled water dispensers. These provide the same functionality as floor standing water cooler dispensers but from a compact unit. Similarly, effective where there is access to a kitchen, under sink chillers can be very suitable. With just a tap visible, the chiller is kept out of sight in a cupboard.

Where can I install the unit?

When thinking about where to install the unit, it is not just a question of the size of the unit, but also the connections. The two considerations are access to power and potable water supply. Units connect to the power supply via a standard 3-pin plug, and the socket needs to be within 1 metre of the unit.

Access to water is much more straight forward as water can be taken to the unit from many metres away, the primary consideration will be that there is sufficient water pressure at the point at which the water is taken. In many cases, installations are 5 to 10 metres away from the water supply. The pipework to the unit is kept out of sight as much as possible and runs under ducting.

If installation does not appear straight forward, then ask us to carry out a survey. We are always happy to arrange a time to come to your office to better understand your requirements, look at the options and technical considerations - then provide a quote for work to be done. We can talk you through the many options available from table top dispensers, specialist taps to mains fed water coolers for offices.

How many people will use the cooler?

To make sure everyone has access to chilled water, it is necessary to make sure the unit you choose has sufficient capacity. There are two main ‘systems’ for chilling water – tank fed or direct chill. Generally, units with a tank have a smaller capacity – 2 to 3 litres.

Direct chill units, which chill the water on demand can dispense 15 to 20 litres per hour. For an office up to 10 - 20 people with average water consumption, a tank machine will generally be enough. With more colleagues consider a direct chill unit although it is more expensive, or of course, 2 units perhaps positioned at different points around the office.

Finally, a word about maintenance…

Once you have your new unit installed, don’t overlook the need to keep the unit well maintained. The industry standard is a filter change and unit sanitisation every 6 months. If you have a high level of usage from a unit you may want to consider increasing the frequency to 3 times per year.

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