A large device containing bottled water, typically cold though luxury models feature hot water as well.

A plastic or metal pedestal, usually white in colour, with an inset piece containing one or two taps for dispensing water. Usually there is a clear, blue plastic bottle inverted on the top containing the water, but often water coolers are hooked straight into a water pipe and cools the water as it flows to your cup. On the side is a circular, wire metal cup holder for holding a stack of plastic or polystyrene disposable cups , but is more often than not empty.

In order to use a water cooler, one must place a water receptacle under one of the taps and either push or lift the tap handle to start the flow of water. Upon reaching the desired level of water required (preferably prior to exceeding the volume your receptacle is capable of holding) release the tap and the flow will stop.

The use of the water is entirely up to you. Most people drink it, or water plants, but the uses for the old H2O are numerous. Remember, you are only borrowing it, you never own water, as it is constantly being returned to the great cycle of water belonging to the planet.

It is a little known fact that on the two tap variety, the right-hand tap dispenses cooled water, whilst the left-hand tap dispenses uncooled water at room temperature (on some models).

Often a water cooler is used as a site for impromptu meetings and to catch up on office gossip, being that it is a place where people gather, or “run into” one another for no other reason than simultaneous thirst.

It is not a good place for holding goldfish, or other cold-water aquatic species as feeding and cleaning becomes an issue.

There has been documented scientific studies into the hygiene of water coolers, and there is a common thought that bacteria in the water build up to large quantities as the water is stripped of chlorine and other chemicals during the filtration process which would normally keep these under control. The cooling of the water is not to a low enough temperature to kill of these microbes either.

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