Sarah on March 11, 2014 9 Comments What is a Water Cooler? We all know it’s true – we read about it in the news, feel the consequences when we don’t have enough, and reap the benefits when we’re fully hydrated – water is essential for our bodies to function. Apart from needing water to survive, maintaining hydration has many benefits which can improve your life on a daily basis. Consuming 8 ounces or more of water daily can help increase your energy, flush out toxins, improve complexion, maintain regular digestion, enhance the immune system, promote a healthy weight, and even relieve headaches. Why Would I Need A Water Dispenser? Having a water dispensing system in your home, office, gym, or business has many benefits as well. They produce clear quality water, are convenient, encourage everyone to drink more, save money, eliminate waste and reduce your carbon footprint by using less bottled water. Some people may need a water cooler due to lack of sanitary drinking water while others may shop for a dispensing system out of water taste preference. Whatever your reason may be, here’s everything you’ll need to know to choose the best water cooler option for you. What to Consider While Shopping for a Water Cooler If your area is limited or you’re looking for a large capacity system with refrigeration for an office, there is a perfect option for your space. First in your search, it is important to understand the difference between a water cooler and a water dispenser. While both options technically dispense water, one uses electricity to cool the water as the other simply dispenses from the bottle. Types of Water Coolers: Additionally, here are a few other water cooler application types: Point of Use: Normally the highest in cost, these units are beneficial if you have an available water line to tap into. Point of Use water coolers also save some time and cost with handling 2, 4, or 5 gallon water bottles. Top Load Bottled Water Cooler: Top loading bottled water coolers are generally less costly than point of use coolers, and save some time and work with initial set up. Instead of tapping into your home or office water line, you simply place the 2, 4, or 5 gallon water bottle you have purchased or filled from the store, on the unit and plug it in! Bottom Load Bottled Water Cooler: If you prefer the taste and quality of the store bought gallon water bottles, but like the look of a bottleless cooler, this option is perfect. Instead of sitting on top of the cooler, which can take up some space, the 2, 4, or 5 gallon cooler sits in a cabinet in the lower part of the unit. Countertop Water Cooler: If you are in a small space like an apartment, vacation home or place without potable water a countertop water cooler is a suitable choice. The countertop units are space and cost saving. Countertop Water Dispenser: Similar to the application above, these units are the least costly and work perfectly in situations where electricity is either unavailable or unnecessary to you for cooling the water. Other Factors to Consider: Aside from the type of water cooler and the features that come along with it, here are a few other factors that you should consider as you consider your options. How You Plan to Use It — Will you be purchasing and refilling your 2, 4, or 5 gallon water bottles or is a point of use system which taps in and purifies from your water source a better fit? Your Space — There are options for small spaces like RVs and boats or large spaces like offices and homes. The Price — Water cooler prices range due to size, aesthetics, special features and application. Extra Features to Look for When Shopping: Hot & Cold Feature — Some models, in addition to cooled water, have a device producing hot water for tea, cooking, etc. Purification System — Filtration Kits are designed to remove small particles, sediment, lead, and chlorine from the water source connected with the POU system. Cup Holders — Various models offer internal or external space for drinking cup storage. Drip Tray — Removable drip trays helping in clean-up and preventing mess. Conversion Kits — This is a must-have feature to help aid POU systems in dispensing water from existing water lines. Hot Water Safer Faucet — This feature will help prevent accidental dispensing of water by children while still making it simple and easy to dispense by adults. How to Install Your Water Cooler: Installing your water dispenser is a relatively simple task that the majority of buyers should be able to accomplish. It’s recommended that you follow the installation instructions that came with your unit, but in case you don’t have access to your manual, we have listed some general instructions down below. Installing a Point-of-Use Dispenser: First, place the unit on a level surface in an area, at least 4 inches on the sides and rear, with proper ventilation, maintaining temperatures above freezing. Carefully clean the cooling tank, faucets and baffle (divider for hot/cold water applications)* Install the Filter (Optional) with Manufacturer’s Instructions. Connect blue tube to cold water supply line at the back of the cooler. Turn water supply on and plug power cord into correct outlet. Turn OFF hot tank switch, for models with hot & cold option. After the reservoir is full, check all connections for leaks and turn on each faucet making sure water flows freely. Turn back on the hot water by depressing the switch toward the “RESET” position. *Be careful not to remove the cold water baffle, as cold water will mix with hot water and not be produced adequately. Note: A pressure regulator, such as a Slow Flow regulator, should be installed in front of the unit’s water inlet if the water pressure could exceed 100psig (690kpg). Installing a Bottled Water Cooler: First, place the unit on a level surface in an area, at least 4 inches on the sides and rear, with proper ventilation, maintaining temperatures above freezing. Remove tamper seal from top of bottle cap. Do NOT remove plastic cap. Clean the bottle top and neck with warm soapy water. Lift bottle and insert onto the probe. Apply slight pressure until the plug inside the cap pushes in and the bottle is level. Water will begin to flow into the reservoirs causing some air bubbles in the bottle. Lastly, if you have a water cooler, plug the unit into the wall outlet. Water Cooler Cleaning & Maintenance There are many ways to make sure that your cooler or dispenser remains sanitary and working properly. The best and most important way to do this is by cleaning the cold reservoir and water lines every 3 months. Here’s how to do just that: Unplug power cord from wall outlet. Remove water bottle. Turn dispenser around so backside is facing away from the wall. Place a 2 gallon+ bucket under the drain plug at the back of the dispenser. Remove any left over water from cold reservoir by dispensing from both taps into a pitcher. Remove probe assembly by turning it counter clockwise. Remove plastic baffle from inside reservoir. Clean probe assembly and baffle with a soft cloth using a mixture of one gallon tap water and 1 tablespoons unscented household bleach, then rinse. Wipe inside reservoir and area around both taps with a soft cloth using the same mixture. If mineral build-up (white chalky deposits) appears, use a calcium, lime or rust removing product. Rinse system by pouring 1-2 gallons of tap water through the dispenser and into the bucket. Remove remaining water from reservoirs by dispensing from both taps into a pitcher. Replace all parts: silicon plug, drain cap, baffle and probe assembly. Turn unit around, install new bottle of water and plug power cord into grounded wall outlet. We hope this eases your water cooler shopping experience and helps you find the perfect water dispensing option to meet your needs. If you have any lingering water cooler questions, leave us a comment below.