Choose the workplace water solution that best fits your situation. If you think your employees will not be able to comfortably handle pickup of the 42-lb., 5-gallon jugs of water maybe you should look into a filtration solution.
Unused water bottles should be stored in a clean area that is cool and well-ventilated. Do you have room to store enough 5-gallon jugs to last until the next delivery date? If space is at a premium, a filtration system might work better for you.
How many 5-gallon jugs will you need per week or per month? That depends on the weather and the preferences of employees, but here are some good rules of thumb. You'll want at least one dispenser per 25 employees. You might need as much as one gallon per week per employee. For five employees, that would be 20 gallons/month or four 5-gallon jugs per month.
Is it a problem keeping the water cold? Will the water cooler be placed in a warm location? Larger floor-standing models have bigger compressors, and thus are more likely to provide water at colder temperatures than countertop models.
Office water systems need to be kept clean. The need for regular cleaning and maintenance will help you determine whether to hire a service or buy the equipment you need and maintain it yourself. Keep the exterior clean; dust and dirt that naturally accumulate on the outside surface can lead to mold growth. Empty the drip tray (the shelf beneath the dispensing spigots that traps excess water drops) regularly. Stagnant water that sits in the tray may be prone to mold creation.
While you could clean the internal parts of the unit yourself, an advantage of leasing is that the water cooler provider will do that for you. If you've purchased the unit and prefer to do your own cleaning, follow the manufacturer's instruction on how to properly sanitize the unit. If you are not mechanically inclined, or you can't designate a person in the office who is, then, again, it is best to leave this task to the water cooler professionals.
Are you renting your workplace space or do you own it? If you rent the space, you might need permission from your landlord to install a water filtration system. If you own your facilities, it might be a good investment to install a filtration system rather than purchasing water in jugs, which is usually more expensive per gallon.
Are you in a secure facility, where water deliveries could be a security threat or disruptive? Will water delivery service people have to sign in to gain access to your storage area? Will their loads have to be inspected? Secure facilities may want to purchase water in larger amounts to reduce the number of deliveries required each month or year.
Jugged water coolers might be best if:
- There is sufficient storage to keep extra jugs.
- One or more employees are capable of lifting filled jugs to replace empty jugs and can perform some minimal maintenance.
- There is a special need for demineralized, distilled, or fluoridated water.
- The office or workspace is at a temporary location and/or does not have easy access to water lines and/or electricity.
- Building owner does not permit plumbing modifications.
- Water usage doesn't exceed 25 gallons a month (equivalent to five 5-gallon jugs) at a single location.
- The location of the water cooler is not permanent and likely to change, or for any reason the simplicity of dispenser is preferred.
Filtered water coolers might be best if:
- Space is limited; there is little or no room to store extra jugs.
- Normal water usage exceeds 40 gallons a month.
- Easy access to water lines and electricity.
- Office or workspace is owned or under long-term lease.
- You wish to avoid making employees lift heavy jugs.
- Office or workspace easily disrupted by regular servicing visits.
- Hot tea/coffee service is also offered; filtered water units can be connected directly to brewing machines to make coffee/tea with upscale water filtration similar to leading marquee brands.
- Water cooler is located in a harsh environment; jugs can develop pinhole leaks that not only lead to leakage, but let outside contaminants in and pollute the drinking water, defeating the whole purpose of having the water cooler.