Over the past 15 months, the water cooler sat in the corner of the office, or canteen has probably not had as much use as it used to in pre-Covid times. With reduced staff levels, social distancing, and working from home, day-to-day office items like water coolers have been largely forgotten about.
As your staff is starting to return to work, some of us now have a little more time to focus on office admin. If you notice that the water in your cooler tastes a bit “off” or “funny” then it might be that it needs a good clean. Follow our quick troubleshooting guide to help get your machine clean and fresh in no time.
My cooler has been being used regularly but the water tastes bad?
- Firstly – has it recently been serviced by a water cooler engineer or wiped over by an office cleaner? If it has, then there may be some cleaning residue left on the taps – simply get a clean single-use cloth and wipe these down with hot water to remove any traces.
- If your machine hasn’t been cleaned recently – do you know when it was last cleaned? Mains-fed water coolers should be cleaned internally and have their filters changed every 6 months, and bottled water coolers should be cleaned 4 times a year. These are the guidelines set down by the trade association and should be adhered to. If you rent your water cooler contact your provider to see if it is due a service.
- Mains-fed water coolers are connected to the mains water supply in your building. If you have had any new pipework a temporary chemical reaction between new copper pipes and chlorine can give off a very strange taste indeed – it tastes like antiseptic! Things like this and other taste issues can easily be remedied by adding a 1-micron carbon block filter to the machine or adding an even stronger filter to remove unwanted matter or odours.
- If you own your water cooler outright and your machine hasn’t been serviced – it’s a good idea to get this arranged ASAP. Bacteria can build up in the filters and in the taps and lines of all types of machines – bottled fed coolers or mains fed dispensers. This bacteria and mould, if left unchecked can cause a taint to the water and become harmful to health – contact us now as we can provide this service for you anywhere in the mainland UK.
My cooler hasn’t been used for a long time and the water tastes off?
Please do not use a cooler that has been out of use for a long time. In the panic of people being sent home in March 2020, many offices locked their doors and didn’t have time to plan for turning off things like water coolers. Most of us thought we would be back at work in a few weeks, and so it was easy for things like water coolers to have slipped under the radar.
- If you have recently returned to work and your water cooler has been left for many months full of water you need to ensure the machine is professionally cleaned as soon as possible. The water will be stagnant and bacteria can have grown within it giving it an “off” or even foul taste. If you rent, please contact your service provider to get this arranged.
- If you own your water dispenser, you will need to arrange to have this serviced as soon as possible before drinking from it again. We can provide this service for you.
However, we can also supply you with your own service kit to do this in-house – please contact us to discuss your specific requirement.
How can I clean my own water cooler?
You should always ensure that your cooler is cleaned by someone who has been trained correctly. However, there are many things you can do day to day, to keep your water cooler clean and in the best condition.
- Firstly ensure it is wiped over regularly with single-use cloths to remove bacteria, germs, and viruses from contact points like the taps. Wipe down the front of the machine as these can get covered in splashes of tea and coffee if you have a hot water cooler. Secondly, wash the drip trays in hot soapy water once a week and ensure people don’t tip coffee dregs into the tray! Most mains-fed water dispensers aren’t connected to the mains waste and so will just fester in the bottom of your drip tray.
- If the cooler hasn’t been used for a few days over a long weekend or a week shut down, flush through the tank before using it again. Simply place a jug and depress both taps. If you have a mains fed cooler you will want to drain off around 3 litres to ensure the tank fills with fresh water.
- If you have a bottled water cooler rather than a mains-fed dispenser, try flushing through a similar amount. If the water from your bottled water cooler continues to have a taste and the cooler has been cleaned it would be worth changing the bottle for a fresh one.
If you have any questions or queries about what’s the right course of action for a water cooler that tastes bad, please do not hesitate to contact us – we are always happy to help.