All dispensers should have filters to remove impurities, chlorine, and organic compounds. Water-borne bacteria has been a problem in the past, so if you select a dispenser with any type of water tank, check on the method used to disinfect the water as well. (Usually that is a ultra-violet unit.) There are some brands with other technologies that claim to kill an array of diseases that have become a concern over the last few decades—MRSA, ecoli, listeria, and salmonella are particularly dreaded in water supplies. Even with all of these options any water unit needs to be sanitized at least twice a year.
Traditional water coolers require a large plastic bottle of water, which is replaced when empty. If you do choose this, you will need a place to store the bottles, and a routine for full replacements. (In addition, keep in mind that these bottles will remain intact in a landfill for hundreds of years—not a good thing.) Many coolers are now fed by tap water coming through a filter. Fed by your water lines, there is no additional environmental damage caused by delivery trucks. Either of these is available in freestanding or countertop models.
Hot Water Dispensers
Chances are that your thirsty public will also want hot water. More than just coffee service, hot water makes tea, hot chocolate, and soup available as well. One big advantage of hot water units is that there is no waiting for a beverage, no cleanup of pots or carafes, and a big variety of drinks from which to choose. (Selections of various types of tea are greatly appreciated by everyone.) Since heating water on demand takes time, you will save wasted employee time as they wait for the microwave to finish.
Many work and waiting situations can benefit from a combined chilled and hot water dispenser—often with an ice machine. These are usually countertop appliances, and have become quite compact. A combined unit limits the places you can expect spilled drinks, allows you to keep all of the supplies in one place, and can be serviced by one vendor on a regular basis.
Just as you can pick the dispenser you need, you can select the type of service that will keep it reliable. If you elect to rent a dispenser from a service firm, check all of their options for maintenance. Before making a choice between renting and buying a water dispenser, consider the cost of service needs and repairs. The units definitely need regular maintenance to keep them clean, and with service packages you can let the vendor handle it. Water coolers also require a supply of cups and various holders. Making this part of your service contract will make things a lot easier for whoever does the purchasing in your workplace.
Access to some type of water dispenser is expected by just about everyone. Selecting the right type and the best service firm can be relatively easy if you consider all of the options.
Connie Williams is an information junkie who lives to ferret out fascinating ideas for her readers. She writes blog posts on a variety of topics such as water dispensers. She has been lucky enough to work in many buildings where the management recognized the benefits of a hot water dispenser, and has become accustomed to have hot and cold water whenever she wants it.