Everyone knows what water is.
Our bodies must have it to live. We drink it every day. Just about any business can benefit from providing some type of water service at their office.
Whether it’s a water cooler dispenser for your customers or water service delivery for your employees or both, office water services can provide you with fresh, clean, filtered water.
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What is the best source of drink water? Everyone’s opinion is different. Before you start looking for an office water service for your company, it’s important to understand the different types of water out there.
Tap water, also known as running water, city water or municipal water, is water that is supplied to a tap or valve. In most developed countries, tap water is considered suitable to drink. But in areas where tap water is not suitable for drinking, the water can be purified by using a filter or by boiling or distillation.
Spring water comes directly from an underground source. It flows from beneath a natural aquifer of rock beds and soil up to the surface. A common misconception about spring water is the belief that it has no impurities. In reality, spring water often contains many of the same impurities as tap water. When spring water is bottled, it may go through some kind of filtration to improve the quality, but it must still be naturally rich in trace minerals. Overall, spring water is an excellent choice of water to drink. Many consider it the best choice to stay healthy and hydrated. However, it is important to note that many manufacturers of spring water do not bottle the water at its source, but rather, transport it to an offsite facility where it is treated with many of the same chemicals that are used to treat regular tap water.
Mineral water originates from a spring or a well but must contain certain amounts of trace minerals such as salts and sulfur compounds. It is usually effervescent (bubbly) due to gases that are contained within the water. Traditionally, mineral water was bottled at its source. But today, like spring water, most mineral water is bottled at a distribution center for mass production. Therefore, it can often contain similar contaminants to that of tap water.
The majority of mineral water in the U.S. is imported from Europe, which means it is more expensive. And, while the minerals create an added health benefit, the taste is harsher than what most people are used to. Mineral water is not typically consumed on a daily basis.
Well water is water that has been stored in permeable rocks and soil. It is extracted using a drill. The water has been enriched with natural minerals, making well water an excellent type of drinking water. However, it is possible that the soil could have been contaminated at some point, requiring the water to go through some level of filtration. In order to be sold as “well water,” the water must pass FDA standards and come from a protected water source that is located underground.
Distilled water has been boiled at a high temperature to remove contaminants before drinking. Water is boiled until it turns into vapor. Once in a vapor state, the vapor is collected and cooled. The vapor then turns back into a liquid state. Minerals weigh too much to be carried up into the vapor state, which means when the vapor cools back into water, it no longer has any minerals. Distilled water is useful for machinery and cleaning products, such as a steamer or coolant for a car engine. Water with minerals in it can cause stains or build-up. The lack of minerals in distilled water eliminates that problem.
Can you drink distilled water? Or rather, should you drink distilled water?
The answer is no. Ironically, distilled water could be considered the cleanest version of water, but it has a tendency to pull minerals out of the bloodstream. It’s not good for human consumption.
Purified water is a loose term applied broadly to different types of water. In fact, all of the above filtered options could be considered “purified water.” To say water has been “purified” simply means it has been filtered by removing contaminants and/or minerals through some sort of filtration process. The range of filtration varies greatly and is discussed in the next section. Many bottled water companies advertise their water as ‘purified’ when in fact, it may have undergone the same chemical treatment that tap water goes through. Just know that ‘purified’ can mean very different things to different people, so it’s always helpful to clarify its meaning.
In order to meet the legal definition of “purified water,” a certain number of impurities must be removed or reduced. Purified water is considered to be purer than spring, mineral or tap water. And, there are a number of different filtration processes that can be used in order for water to be labeled “purified.”
The type of water filter you’ll need is dependent on the quality of your water. If your office is located within city limits, the source of your water will already be undergoing some kind of treatment. In that case, any of these filtration options will be sufficient. A qualified supplier can help you determine which option will be best for your office.
Perhaps you’ve seen a glass of water that appeared foggy or had an “off” odor. That water had a high level of total dissolved solids, or TDS. TDS are small organic and inorganic particles that are suspended in the water and include salts, calcium and phosphates. If your tap water has TDS levels of 400 ppm or higher, or if your water source is not municipally treated, filtration is necessary and reverse osmosis is usually recommended.
Carbon filtering removes impurities and contaminants from your water with a bed of activated carbon. The carbon is basically a type of charcoal with a very high surface area. The activated carbon uses a process called chemical absorption. As the water passes through the carbon, various impurities and contaminants are trapped and removed from the water. Carbon filtering is common in bottleless water systems and successfully removes a large percentage of potential contaminants in the water.
Pros and Cons of Carbon Filtration
Ultraviolet water filtering uses a high frequency of UV light to kill any bacteria or organisms in the water. UV water filtering is an option for bottleless water systems. It has been proven to kill 99.99% of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Pros and Cons of UV Water Filtration
Reverse Osmosis is the most comprehensive filtering option. RO uses a semipermeable membrane to remove dissolved solids, impurities and contaminants from your drinking water. In this process, external pressure is applied in order to push the water through a membrane to catch the particles and reverse the natural flow of the solvent, which is why it is called reverse osmosis. The downside to this process is that it often removes many of the desirable minerals from the water along with the harmful contaminants.
Pros and Cons of Reverse Osmosis
Another common filtering process is called deionization. This type of purified water is often referred to as DI water, DIW or de-ionized water. It can sometimes be confused with demineralized water (DM water), which is water that has had most of its mineral ions removed, such as sodium, calcium, iron, copper, chloride, and sulfate. But deionized water has undergone a chemical process that uses ion-exchange resins. Hydrogen and hydroxide ions are exchanged for dissolved minerals and then recombined to form water. This process softens the water by exchanging the natural mineral ions with its own ions.
Deionization is known to produce a high purity water, similar to distilled water, by removing dissolved salts and impurities. However, it cannot remove uncharged organic molecules, viruses or bacteria.
There are generally two types of office water services:
In a bottle delivery service, the water is purified at an offsite manufacturing plant, then packaged into jugs and shipped to your office. Your water service provider will deliver bottles of water ranging in 2, 3, or 5-gallon bottles. The water bottles are placed into a dispenser that can deliver the water hot or cold. Filtered water is popular in workplace settings since it tastes better than tap water and produces better-tasting coffee or tea.
Care and use: Before replacing an empty water jug with a new one, be sure to wash your hands and wipe down the new bottle. This will prevent contamination in the reservoir. The reservoir should be cleaned every 3 to 6 months.
If price is your main concern and you have a smaller office that drinks less than 50 gallons of water a month, delivered bottle service is probably the most affordable option for you. But if your office consumes more than 50 gallons of water per month and price is your main concern, bottled delivery service is not a wise financial investment.
Additionally, if reducing our carbon footprint is important to you, this is not your best option. Unfortunately, bottled water dispensers negatively impact the environment by filling up landfills with empty plastic water bottles and polluting the air throughout the manufacturing and delivery process.
Pros and Cons of Bottled Water Dispenser Service
A point-of-use water cooler, also known as a bottle-free or bottle-less cooler, is a convenient alternative to delivered bottle service. Instead of using jugs that are delivered to your business, point-of-service water coolers can tap directly into your water supply. In some point-of-use coolers, a filtration process using UV light is used to kill contaminants and remove impurities from your water.
Point-of-use service can be more economical and environmentally friendly by taking out the middle man, who is manufacturing and delivering the big plastic jugs. It is also much more convenient – you no longer need extra space to store empty jugs and you don’t have to lift, carry and replace the jugs when they are out of water. Some suppliers offer a countertop point-of-use water service, which is helpful for offices with minimal floor space.
Depending where you live, it’s no secret that tap water usually doesn’t taste that great. Tap water isn’t dangerous to drink because it’s mostly regulated. However, it may contain minerals or particles that affect its odor, taste, and even color.
If you want to provide water for your employees or customers, you won’t win any awards if you simply provide tap water. You want an Office Water Service. There are 2 common types of water service:
Point-of-Use dispensers are just what they sound like. Instead of having the water filtered off site, the water is filtered at the point of use (where it is dispensed). The dispenser hooks directly into your water line and filters the water as needed. This means there is no need to store water bottles or deal with having water bottle deliveries.
If price is your main concern and your office drinks more than 50 gallons of water a month, then a point-of-use dispenser will probably be the least expensive option. If your office drinks less than 50 gallons a month, a point-of-use dispenser may actually cost you more than a bottled water service.
If your main concern is the environment, this is a great option for you. Point-of-use service reduces our ecological footprint by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles being produced and eliminating the need for trucks to pollute while making deliveries.
Like the bottled water service, a point-of-use dispenser is convenient and mostly affordable.
Pros and Cons of Point-of-Use Dispenser Service
Both delivered bottle service and point-of-use service provide clean, filtered water. The one you choose will depend on your specific needs and concerns: what you are willing to pay, and which service will best serve you based on the size of your business.
With bottled water, you generally pay based on the number of bottles you use per month plus the monthly service fee your supplier charges. Prices will vary by supplier, but you can estimate about $6-$9 per bottle each month. The price you ultimately pay will depend on the size of your office and the amount of water your employees drink.
Suppliers typically charge a monthly rental fee for a bottle-free cooler system. Depending on the supplier, the average cost of a point-of-use water cooler is about $35 a month.
Keep in mind that there may be other fees associated with your water service. Additional fees will depend on your supplier, the terms of your contract, and the type of service you select. Additional fees may include:
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are shopping for an office water service for your business:
The type of water and water filtration system will vary depending on the supplier. Be sure to read up on the different filtration processes so you can know about your range of options before you start shopping for a supplier.
Contract lengths will vary depending on the supplier. Typically, they offer a 1-2 year contract or month to month. If you plan on using a water service for the long-term, you can save money by signing a longer contract. But before you sign any contract, find out what is (and isn’t) covered under maintenance and repairs. You want to know the supplier will stand behind their product and take ownership of technical and service issues on your behalf.
Depending on the supplier, annual preventive maintenance may or may not be included. Some suppliers only include certain maintenance updates, but others come at an additional cost. Ask potential suppliers about their maintenance policy in advance.
If you are having bottled water delivered to your business, you will need to set up a delivery schedule. The frequency of delivery will affect the number of bottles you will need to store at your business. Depending how much water you go through, you may have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly delivery. Make sure you have the storage space available for multiple jugs of water before scheduling the delivery.
When you speak with potential office water suppliers, pay attention to the service they provide. Are they helpful? Knowledgeable? Able to answer your questions and timely in responding to your needs? Often times, you can get a good feel for their customer service with a brief conversation over the phone. Find out what current clients say about a supplier’s service through testimonials and site reviews.
It is also helpful to read customer reviews and ratings for the water suppliers you are considering. Look for comments regarding their service, product reliability, maintenance policy, and taste of their water.
Before you spend a ton of money on a fancy water filtration system, find out the quality of your local water. If there is a minimal level of sediment or chemical residue, you may not necessarily need the most advanced filtration system to purify your water. But if your local water has a high percentage of contaminants, then it might be worth spending the money on a more complex filtration system, such as UV-radiation or Reverse Osmosis.
For information on the water quality in your local area, visit the Environmental Protection Agency website and choose the appropriate city and state.
Bottle or No Bottle?
Many companies are moving to a bottle-less water system. This is because they no longer want to deal with the hassle of storing and moving huge plastic jugs in and out of the office. A bottle-less system is much more convenient and eco-friendly.
Note: a water filtration system may be more expensive than a bottled water service. If your office is small and/or your water consumption is low, then a bottle service may be more cost-effective. Be sure to ask your local suppliers about pricing.
In some cases, bottled water suppliers offer the choice between jug or 20 oz. bottle delivery. Similarly, bottle-less system suppliers may offer the option of direct filtration through the water line or at a stand-alone dispenser. It is helpful to know all the possibilities within your price range before signing a contract with a supplier.
What Type of Filtration System Do I Need?
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a water service supplier is knowing what kind of filtration system is right for you. Remember: your water is only as good as its filter!
Some suppliers offer a range of filtration systems at different price points. Many of the standard water filtration products use reverse osmosis. Some suppliers offer an upgraded version of this system by combining it with an additional UV-treatment. Depending on the nature of your local water supply, you may or may not need to spend the money on a complex system.
Interested in a water service for your business? Now that you know about the different services available and their approximate cost, are you ready to get free price quotes? You can fill out our form and we will put you in touch with up to 5 office water suppliers who will give you free price quotes and answer any further questions you may have. There is no obligation to buy.