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Lately, high profile campaigners and the media have raised our awareness of the ever increasing disposal of used plastic and the dramatic impact it is having on the environment. Even government is finally sitting up and taking notice and has vowed to take steps to reduce the problem.
As a result, many local authorities, schools and amenities, both public and private are now fitting water fountains and bottle fillers in an attempt to curb the dramatic rise in the use of disposable water bottles.
Understandably so, when confronted with the thought of a public drinking resource, hygiene is one of the first considerations which spring to mind. Modern water fountains are a far cry from the antiquated ones found in the old town square. Improved water jets with angled nozzles and a spout design to discourage contact, combined with improved filtering and maintenance means infection transmitted by water fountains is now an extremely rare occurrence.
While regular cleaning of the entire fountain is important, particular attention should be paid to cleaning handles and knobs as they are far more likely to harbour bacteria than any other area.
A purpose built water fountain will obviously cost more than a bottled water chiller by the time you factor in instalation costs, but by how much and what are the long term costs ?
The answer may surprise you. A quality make, wall mounted mounted drinking fountain can cost less than £200 (excl. Vat) to purchase and a floor mounted model with bottle filler at around £315 (excl. Vat). That's less than most bottled water coolers.
Installation costs will vary considerably depending on a number of factors. The proximity of a water supply and drainage being the most obvious. A straightforward instalation means you could have a water fountain up and running for less than £500. If you are using a chilled water model there will be added plumbing costs the addition cost of electrical instalation.
A quality, Franke, floor mounted water fountain. Only £314.99 + Vat
For non chilled water fountains the only ongoing costs are the cost of the water, cleaning and maintenance, this type of fountain is basic in design and the maintenance costs would be no more than you would expect on a conventional sink.
In a study conducted into drinking fountains in schools in 2000, it concluded that toilets are not considered a suitable location for fitting water fountains in schools. https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/00346650210412132?journalCode=nfs
For chilled water fountains in addition to higher capital and installation costs there is also added running costs. They use electric power to cool the water and are also fitted with a filter cartridge which needs replacing periodically. However the chillers only use around 200W of power and with using mains water, that still works out around an 80% saving on running costs over using a bottled water chiller (source Franke sinks).
A Franke, wall mounted water fountain. Only £199.99 + Vat
Powered, chilled water fountains are available. As well as cooling your drinking water, lower temperature decreases the prevalence of any bacteria, in theory at least.
This chilled, water fountain from Cosmetal has a list price of £634.98 + Vat.
Available now from Nisbets at a Reduced price for web sales of only only £584.98 +Vat ( £701.98 including Vat)
Includes Installation Kit.
Modern water fountains are a far cry from the antiquated ones found in the old town square.
Cost. Water fountains can cost as little as a few hundred pounds and rise to many thousands.
Location. Is the fountain for internal or external use ? Is it expected to be attached to a wall.
Users. A fountain for use in a school or public area will need to more robust.
Features. A bottle filler tap can be a popular addition. Do you require the water to be chilled.
Normal mains water temperature can be as low as 4 degrees in winter and up to 20
degrees centigrade in summer. Fountains with water chillers deliver water at
between 4 and 8 degrees centigrade.
Compliance: Any water fitting connected to the mains supply or drainage must ensure it complies
with regulations on a number of factors including contamination and wastage.
The easiest way to ensure compliance is to purchase a water fountain marked WRAS
approved (Water regulations advisory scheme) This conforms to all UK regulation.
Halsey Taylor, stone aggregate, outdoor drinking fountain.