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Office Water Coolers

Melissa Haveman

Water coolers offer surprising benefits in the workplace

Employees love bottled water dispensers for many reasons, and you should too. Although you may think gatherings around office water coolers are a waste of your employee's time and your money, consider the benefits that one can provide to your business and its employees.

The benefits of an office water cooler dispenser include:

  1. More productivity since your employees won't need to leave the office for a beverage.
  2. The potential for a positive workplace culture to develop and grow.
  3. Free water may be viewed as an added perk by employees.

Whether you want a basic model, a bottle-less water dispenser, or one that can provide different water temperatures, a water cooler dispenser will benefit your business as you provide for your employees.

Do Your Research on Bottled Water Services

You'll need a steady supply of fresh water once you buy a water cooler. If the retailer that you bought the water cooler dispenser from doesn't provide water delivery, you'll need to find a company that will bring bottled water to your office. As with other services, make sure that you know what the final price is for each delivery.

Measure Your Space for Water Cooler Jugs

Although most office water coolers don't take up a lot of space, be sure that the one you choose will fit in the space you have available. If you're short on space, think about using a counter top unit, which will save you floor space. Remember that you'll also need space for extra water cooler bottles, unless you choose a bottle-less option.

Select Water Coolers That Cool or Heat Water

While most people think of cold water when they think of water coolers, you can also find bottled water coolers that provide a steady supply of hot water along with the cold. Tea drinkers will love having on-demand hot water ready and waiting for them. Consider room temperature bottled water dispensers as some individuals are sensitive to the cold water in regular units.

Consider Office Decor When Selecting Water Coolers

Bottled water coolers don't have to be boring or ugly. Rather than having an eyesore in your office, consider stainless steel, wood grain or other fashionable options. You can even find units that hide the water bottle from sight in a clean, modern looking unit.

Go Bottle-less

Some manufacturers now offer bottle-less filtered systems. You'll get the same convenience of regular water coolers without the bottle-and without the storage hassles that come with keeping extra bottles on hand between deliveries.

  • Have at least a few employees sample the water you are thinking of using to get their opinions on the water's taste. If that's not feasible, try the water yourself before deciding. Water from different locations can have a slightly different taste depending on mineral content and other factors.
  • Ask your water delivery service whether they provide coffee or tea service as well. The coffee and tea supplies will be delivered to your office along with the water bottles. Employees will love the extra options.
  • Look for Energy Star approved office water coolers. A standard unit with hot and cold water can use more energy than a refrigerator. You'll save money in the long run by purchasing an energy efficient water cooler dispenser.

Pricing Workplace Water Solutions

Pricing will vary depending on whether you prefer to lease or own your water cooler and the services that support it. It's not simply an issue of which costs more, although that is certainly a consideration.

Pricing Bottled Workplace Water Systems

You can always buy bottled water. Even though it is expensive compared with other workplace water systems, the water is still pretty cheap. You can buy 24-packs of water at a grocery store or convenience store for as little as $5.00, or about $1.50/gallon.

When you price it, take into account your own time and labor buying the water and transporting the water. If your time is valuable - or your back is weak - you might want to hire a service to help you.

Pricing Jugged Workplace Water Systems

The price depends on the number of jugs and frequency of servicing, but contracts can start as low as $9.95 a month for three jugs, including initial installation of the water cooler. That's about 66 cents per gallon - less than half the cost of bottled water.

Some companies offer the option of buying the cooler stand itself, and they merely supply the jugs as needed. In most cases, the number of jugs, as well as delivery frequency, can be adjusted as needed.

Pricing Filtered Workplace Water Systems

The common starting point for monthly rental rates, not including installation, is around $30 a month. That includes cleaning the system and replacing the filters for one cooler. If you're using 40 gallons or more of jugged water per month, you'll likely benefit cost-wise by installing a filtered water system.

Glossary of Terms

  • Acidic: Water that contains a sufficient amount of acid substances to lower the pH below 7.0.
  • Activated Carbon: Adsorptive granules of carbon (obtained by heating) that remove certain trace and soluble materials from water.
  • Alkaline: The presence of salts (primarily sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) that raise pH levels above 7.0. These salts are added to counteract high water acidity (pH below 7.0) to neutralize water.
  • Aqueous: Something made up of water.
  • Calcium Carbonate: Commonly called "scale," it’s a white precipitate that forms on water lines to indicate the presence of hard water.
  • Chlorine: Added to disinfect water, high concentrations of chlorine in drinking water will leave an aftertaste.
  • Distilled Water: Water that has been boiled and condensed to remove solids, inorganics, and some organic chemicals.
  • Fluoridation: Added to drinking water systems to protect against tooth decay.
  • Hard Water: Contains high levels of magnesium and calcium salts such as bicarbonate, carbonate, sulfate, chloride, and nitrate. Excessive hardness causes objectionable taste in drinking water.
  • Inorganic: Minerals.
  • Organic: Substances of plant or animal origin; always contain carbon.
  • Osmosis: Passage of liquid through a semi-permeable membrane that allows passage of water, but stops dissolved solids.
  • PCBs: Polychlorinated Biphenyls, a banned substance once used in the manufacture of plastics.
  • pH: Measure of acid or basic (alkaline) conditions in water, on a scale of 0 to 14. The neutral point is halfway between those numbers at 7.0. Levels below 7 indicate acidity and levels above indicate alkalines (bases).
  • Potable: Safe water.
  • Precipitate: A solid, such as iron, present in the water.
  • Soft Water: Contains few or no dissolved minerals.
  • Spring Water: Water that "springs" from a natural fountain or other body of water in the earth.
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Melissa Haveman