When bottled water sales boomed in the mid-1990s, food service and hospitality operators and distributors learned that leasing point-of-use (POU) water vending products that offered fresh cold water and hot water-based beverages could be very profitable.
Treating Vending Water
There are two common types of water cooler vending systems: mains-fed from the tap and bottled water coolers. In any environment, it is important to know how to select the right type of filtration.
Bottled cooler water is treated at the bottling plant, often using the same POU technology that is implemented in mains-fed coolers, so the output is similar but is done on a larger scale. Although these water bottles are reused and recycled each month by a bottled water supplier, a mains-fed cooler system eliminates the need for delivery on a consistent, frequent basis, as well as any stopgaps in water availability while waiting for a delivery.
For mains-fed coolers, the type of filtration used can vary. Some systems are integrated into the cooler, and some are mounted near the cooler. These technologies can include carbon filtration, ultraviolet disinfection, ozone, reverse osmosis (RO) and ultrafiltration.
Carbon filtration removes many chemicals and organic compounds that affect taste and odor, including chlorine and chloramines. High-end carbon filters also maintain water safety by reducing excess levels of herbicides and pesticides.
Mechanical filtration removes sediments from the water. If water is particularly dirty, a prefilter can be used in front of a system. Prefilters typically allow removal of the larger particles that might prematurely plug a system.
RO systems remove more than 96% of total dissolved solids (TDS) from water, purifying it and giving it a neutral pH, reducing the amount of scale that tends to build up.
UF systems can remove small particles, including cysts, bacteria and viruses.
The type of water treatment system applied can depend on the manufacturer, the condition of the incoming source water or a dealer recommendation. It also depends more specifically on the type of contaminants that need to be removed. These filtration solutions can be customized to a user’s requirements.
Hot Water Filtration Products
Because a cup of coffee is 98% water, filtration is an important part of hot water dispensing. Point-of-service filtration products can deliver filtered water directly to coffee brewers and other water-using appliances.
A great example of a company that is providing quality cold and hot water for its customers is Coffee Ambassador, a San Diego-based company whose mission is to meet customer demand for better-tasting and cleaner water and coffee in the workplace. Everpure helped Coffee Ambassador develop a smarter water filter, which Coffee Ambassador private labeled the Smarter Filter—a filter created to transform ordinary tap water into premium filtered water, while also appealing to a growing eco-friendly population.
Through the use of the Smarter Filter coffee and water appliances, Coffee Ambassador customers have seen the following benefits:
- Improved filtration. The pleated surface of the water filter increases water’s exposure for more sediment removal, and the cartridge design has more consistent performance and improved efficiency (40 times finer filtration) than other filtration systems on the market.
- Cost savings. Coffee Ambassador’s customers are seeing cost savings of up to 40% on their drinking water needs.
- Space savings. Everpure’s design is only 12 in. wide and 17.75 in. tall, which saves valuable floor space and storage for bulky water bottles.
Whether hot or cold water is being provided, filtration is a necessity for both taste and the health of consumers. There are a number of products on the market that can be customized to the needs of any office, restaurant, hotel or industrial site.
Filtration options to provide the best water