We are regularly asked if installing a wall mounted drinking fountain is easy and I’m afraid the answer always has to be, it depends.
In principle, wall mounted fountains are very straightforward, they simply need water in and waste away, but ‘it depends’ is down to the location of the unit and how the unit is to be used.
Choosing a Location
When thinking about location, the primary consideration should be the structural integrity of the wall onto which the unit is to be mounted. Ideally, this would be a flat surface; brick, block or concrete are all suitable as long as they can take the weight of the unit and accept the mounting screws. If the location perhaps has an irregular surface or is not wide enough for the chosen unit, then a pattress could be used - this is a mounting board which itself is secured to the wall and then the unit secured onto the mounting board.
Where the construction of the wall surface/mounting point is not obvious, perhaps the chosen location may have decorative panelling, then it is essential to remove the panelling to see exactly what is available to support the unit before going ahead. This would be revealed by a survey, which we would be more than happy to carry out on your behalf.
These location considerations are normally more complicated outside but similarly if looking to fit a unit indoors, then the structural integrity of the mounting surface remains of key importance. One final thought, to minimise the risk of vandalism to an outdoor unit, if possible, locate them in full view and in a lit location.
Is there ready access to a supply of potable water? Ideally, access to the supply would be at the point where the unit is to be installed, but if there is good water pressure then water can be taken from a source a number of metres away to the unit.
What sets a water fountain apart from a water cooler is the fact that they usually, although less so at the moment, have water bubblers where the user takes a quick drink of water – splash and dash - and as a result, there is a fair amount of waste.
Rather than collecting in a drip tray or in a tank, this wastewater is usually plumbed back into the mains waste or in some cases may go to a local soak away. So, when installing the unit consider the intended height of the unit and the position of the waste pipe as these units have a gravity drain. For indoor locations, pumped waste may be a possibility but of course, a power supply would be needed.
The next main consideration is power. This is not an issue for an outdoor fountain nor simple basic style fountains used indoors such as the CWS WM DFBF 462.
Should you wish to provide chilled water this can often be done via a remote chiller (i.e. not actually part of the fountain) with the water supply coming through the chilled unit and then into the fountain. For the more sophisticated units, the chiller may be integrated such as the CWS HT HydroBoost Combination.
Drinking Fountain Unit Choice
Okay, so you have chosen the location, you have identified a reliable supply of potable water at a good pressure and know where the waste will be plumbed in to. Now is the time to consider the unit itself.
Simple drinking fountain units can start from £145 whilst the more sophisticated units can be anything up to £2500 to £3000. Budget is obviously a key consideration but equally important is thinking about how many people are likely to use the unit, will there be peaks in demand for example break times, and particularly important at the moment, how will you manage multiple users whilst maintaining suitable distance and of course the cleanliness of the unit.
Drinking Fountain Maintenance and Cleaning
Once installed most water fountain units do not require specialist cleaning, it would be part of the organisation’s standard cleaning routine. For outdoor units, as part of the maintenance routine, bear in mind that it is always best practice when freezing weather is forecast for the unit to be disconnected and drained down to avoid water freezing in the bubbler and causing it to crack. Whilst these are relatively cheap to repair, it is still a cost which could be avoided
Summary of Installing a Drinking Fountain
So, in summary, wall mounted drinking fountains are usually easy to install, can be suitable for indoors or outdoors use, but the main considerations are where the unit will be mounted, the ease of access to a portable water supply and access to mains drainage.