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Choosing your water cooler: bottled vs. plumbed-in

Office water coolers come in two basic forms: bottled or plumbed-in. Bottled water coolers have an integrated refillable water tank or the water bottle is fixed directly to the unit and must be replaced when empty. Plumbed-in water dispensers are connected to your premises’ mains water supply and draw drinking water to the dispenser, filter it and pass it on to you.

bottled water cooler

Bottled water coolers at a glance

Bottled water comes in standard sizes of 19, 15, 12 and 10 litres. If you have more than 10 employees you will probably want to stock 19-litre bottles; they’re heavier, but won’t need to be replaced as often.

  • Bottled water coolers require a power supply to operate: attach the bottle, plug in the dispenser and go.
  • There is no lime scale so you won’t need an electronic descaler or filtration system.
  • Refill bottles must be stored out of direct sunlight and away from chemicals
  • Staff members must be able to lift the bottles, which weigh about 1kg per litre.
  • Once opened, a bottle should be used within two days for sanitary reasons.
  • Bottled water dispensers should be disinfected regularly to prevent bacterial buildup

On a lighter note (no pun intended), bottled water coolers require a degree of physical commitment from office staff, especially in hot weather when bottles empty quickly.

Plumbed in water dispensers at a glance

Plumbed-in water dispensers are more economical than bottled water coolers because there is no need to calculate your needs and order and store the bottles. Your drinking water is essentially free, unless you have a metered water supply.

  • Plumbed-in water requires no transportation, storage or heavy lifting
  • It also reduces your business’s carbon footprint (no delivery lorries or empty bottles)
  • Plumbed-in dispensers usually include lime scale filter and a purifier to ensure that your water is free of additives like chlorine.
  • Units must be positioned within five metres of the mains water supply pipe, though your water cooler supplier will assess your premises and advise on the possibility of flexibility.

Perhaps one of the most important advantages of plumbed-in water lies in the fact that it is a constant source that taps infrastructure already in place, eliminating the back-breaking (pun intended) work of hauling around and storing heavy water bottles.

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