Ever notice that crusty white gunk inside your water cooler? Don’t worry, it’s probably not mold. More likely it’s just built-up mineral deposits. Still, it’s not the most appetizing sight and it could be harboring some nasty bacteria. You use that water cooler every single day to fill up your glass or water bottle, so you definitely want to make sure it’s clean and working properly. Those mineral deposits and bacteria buildups can negatively impact the taste of your water and, in extreme cases, even make you sick. Not cool. The good news is with some regular maintenance and cleaning, you can eliminate harmful mineral deposits in your water cooler and keep your H2O fresh and contaminant-free. Here are some easy tips to de-crust your water cooler and safeguard your health.
The Dangers of Calcium Buildup in Your Water Cooler
The Dangers of Calcium Buildup in Your Water Cooler
Have you noticed strange noises coming from your water cooler recently? Maybe gurgling sounds, decreased water flow, or a musty smell. Chances are you have mineral buildup in the system – and that’s bad news.
Calcium and limescale deposits are common in water coolers and can wreak havoc if left unchecked. As water evaporates from the cooler’s reservoir, the dissolved calcium doesn’t disappear. It attaches itself to the sides and parts of the cooler, accumulating over time. This buildup eventually clogs the cooler’s tubes and parts, preventing water from flowing freely.
Not only does this reduce your water cooler’s performance and lifespan, but it also creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to grow. Those strange smells are microbes festering in the trapped, stagnant water. Gross! These contaminants pose health hazards like Legionnaire’s disease, especially in immune-compromised individuals.
To avoid these dangerous calcium deposits and keep your water cooler safe, have it professionally descaled and sanitized at least once a year or if you notice a drop in performance. As an alternative, you can install a water filter and softener to minimize minerals in the water before it enters the cooler.
By properly maintaining your water cooler, you’ll keep it running efficiently for years to come and ensure the water you’re drinking is clean, contaminant-free, and most importantly, safe. Your health and safety are worth the investment! Stay hydrated – and be well.
How to Identify Harmful Mineral Deposits
Have you ever noticed strange mineral deposits in your water cooler reservoir or dispenser spout? Those crusty white or green flakes could be harmful contaminants that have built up over time. It’s important to properly maintain your water cooler to avoid issues like bacteria growth, plumbing clogs, and potential illness.
To determine if you have harmful mineral deposits, inspect your water cooler reservoir and spout for crusty white, green or brown flakes or stains. Shine a flashlight into the reservoir for a better view. If you see anything suspicious, it’s best to thoroughly clean your water cooler to eliminate the deposits and sanitize the system.
To clean mineral deposits from a water cooler reservoir, unplug the unit and empty all water. Scrub away any flakes or stains with a commercial limescale remover or a natural solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. For tough buildup, fill the reservoir with the solution and let it soak before scrubbing and rinsing with water. Clean the spout and dispenser in the same way.
Sanitize the entire system with a bleach solution of no more than 8.25% sodium hypochlorite before refilling with fresh, filtered water. Run a few cycles of just water through the spout to rinse before using. These simple cleaning and sanitizing steps should restore your water cooler to a safe working condition and ensure you have healthy, mineral-free water for your office or home. Staying on a regular maintenance schedule is the best way to avoid harmful contaminants in the long run.
Using Vinegar to Remove Calcium and Other Deposits
Vinegar is a natural and inexpensive way to remove harmful mineral buildup in your water cooler. Over time, calcium, limescale and other deposits can accumulate in your water cooler, potentially releasing toxic chemicals into your drinking water and damaging the cooler components.
Using Vinegar to Clean Your Water Cooler
To flush out your water cooler, you’ll need white distilled vinegar, water, and a few basic tools. Here are the steps:
Empty and unplug your water cooler. Remove any filters or components that can be taken out.
Fill the water cooler reservoir about 1/3 full with equal parts white vinegar and water. For a standard 5-gallon cooler, use 2 to 3 gallons of the solution.
Let the solution sit in the reservoir for 2 to 3 hours so it has time to dissolve the built-up mineral deposits. The longer it sits, the more effective it will be at dissolving stubborn buildup.
Flush the solution out of the reservoir with several rinses of water. Run a cycle of plain water through the spigot as well to rinse out the vinegar.
Scrub any visible mineral stains in the reservoir or spigot with an abrasive sponge or scrubber.
Reassemble your water cooler, replace any filters, and run a final rinse of water through before using.
The vinegar will naturally break down the mineral deposits without leaving behind any chemical residue. For tough buildup, you may need to repeat the cleaning process a few times. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to deep clean your water cooler with vinegar every 3-6 months to keep your drinking water fresh and prevent the growth of bacteria. Keeping your water cooler properly cleaned and maintained will allow you to enjoy clean, great-tasting water for many years to come.
Maintaining Your Water Cooler to Prevent Future Buildup
To prevent harmful mineral buildup in your water cooler that can make you sick, regular maintenance is key. Staying on top of a few simple tasks will help keep your water dispenser clean and the water safe to drink.
Change the Water Bottle Often
Don’t let the same bottle of water sit in your cooler for weeks on end. As water sits, minerals like calcium and magnesium can build up on the walls of the bottle and eventually end up in your drinking water. It’s best to replace the bottle at least once a month, or every 2-4 weeks for the freshest, purest water. Some people with sensitive stomachs may need to change bottles even more frequently.
Clean the Drip Tray and Spigot
The drip tray and spigot (water spout) are breeding grounds for bacteria, mold, and other microbes. Wipe down the drip tray and spigot at least once a week with a disinfectant like diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). Pay extra attention to any cracks or crevices where grime can collect. For tough stains in the drip tray, scrub with an abrasive sponge or scrubber. Rinse well with water after disinfecting and dry completely to prevent future buildup.
Sterilize the System
Every 3-6 months, do a deep cleaning of your water cooler system using a sterilizing solution. Either purchase commercial water cooler sterilizer tablets or make a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 5 parts water). Follow the directions to run the solution through your cooler’s entire system, including tubes, valves, and the water tank. Flush with 2-3 bottles of plain water after sterilizing before adding a new bottle of drinking water. Sterilizing kills bacteria, mold, algae and other microorganisms that can thrive inside your water cooler.
By taking a few minutes each week and month to properly maintain your water cooler, you can have peace of mind that your drinking water is clean, contaminant-free and safe for your family. Be sure to also consider additional filters or purifiers if your tap water quality is questionable. Your health and safety should be top priority, so don’t skimp on water cooler maintenance and care!
Choosing a Water Cooler That Reduces Calcium and Mineral Accumulation
The type of water cooler you choose can have a big impact on the buildup of mineral deposits that may accumulate inside. When shopping for a new water cooler, consider the following factors:
Look for a model that includes a multi-stage filtration system, especially one with a mineral removal filter. These specialized filters help reduce minerals like calcium and magnesium that can form scale and buildup in the system. The fewer minerals in the water, the less opportunity for accumulation in your cooler’s tank, tubes, and spigot.
Easy to clean design
Choose a water cooler that is specifically designed to be easy to sanitize and descale. Look for features like removable drip trays, spigots that unscrew for cleaning, and non-corrosive materials that won’t harbor bacteria. Some models even have self-cleaning functions that flush and circulate a cleaning solution through the system. The easier it is to clean, the less hospitable it will be for mineral and microbe buildup.
Quality, food-grade materials
Higher quality water coolers are made of food-grade, non-toxic materials that won’t leach chemicals into your drinking water. Stainless steel is an excellent choice as it inhibits the growth of bacteria and is very durable. Some plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene are also safe and resistant to mineral buildup. Avoid coolers with parts containing BPA.
By choosing a water cooler designed with mineral reduction, sanitation, and high-quality materials in mind, you’ll have clean, great-tasting water for years to come. Your water cooler will function more efficiently and require fewer repairs or part replacements due to buildup. And most importantly, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your drinking water is as fresh, pure and contaminant-free as possible.
So there you have it – now you know the risks that can come with that seemingly innocent water cooler in your home or office. While water coolers can provide a convenient source of chilled water, it’s important to properly maintain them to avoid nasty mineral buildups and bacterial growth that can make you sick. By following the tips in this article like frequently cleaning your cooler, using distilled or purified water, and replacing old filters, you can keep enjoying refreshing water from your cooler without worrying about what might be growing inside. Your health and safety are worth the small investment of time and money. Make sure to spread the word to family, friends and coworkers so everyone can stay hydrated and healthy.