Jargon Buster:

Like most industries, water cooler and drinking water boiler suppliers sometimes lapse into a language that seems all of their own.

This Jargon Buster hopes to help you clearly understand what on earth it all means!

If you find any terminology you don't immediately understand, tell us and we'll add it in.
  • Ambient: Surrounding temperature, neither heated or chilled.
  • Bottle Water Cooler: As the term suggests a water cooler which is fed by a bottle (usually large 19 litres). The bottle is inverted onto a hollow spike in the top of the machine from where it feeds a reservoir.
  • BWCA: British Water Cooler Association. Trade association for those involved in the water cooler business. www.bwca.org.uk
  • Counter Top: This can apply to either a water cooler or drinking water boiler. See also Table Top Water Cooler
  • Direct Chill: Is a water cooling system. The water passes from the mains into the water cooler within a pipe, which is then tightly coiled together and finally runs to the outlet. The refrigeration system is attached to the outside of the coil and the cold transfers through the pipe walls to chill the water in the coil. When the taps are operated the chilled water is dispensed at mains pressure, the advantage is that the water never comes into contact with the atmosphere. It means that the volume of cold water available is usually less than other systems, but because of this it will get cold again more quickly. (See also, Reservoir water coolers and Pressure vessel water coolers.)
  • Drip Tray: Fitted beneath the Taps or outlet to catch any drips. Usually removable for cleaning, also useful to rest things on when filling.
  • EDWCA: European Drinking Water Cooler Association. www.edwca.org
  • EPDWA: Former name of the EDWCA.
  • Floorstanding Water Cooler: As the name suggests, a water cooler that stands on the floor, usually about 1 metre tall with the water dispensing area roughly two thirds of the way to the top, at a convenient height. 
  • Food Grade Tubing: Flexible plastic tubing suitable and approved for carrying food & drink products.
  • Fused Spur: Often used in kitchens, it is like a plug socket without the holes for a plug. It is a spur from a ring main with a fuse fitted. Items such as water boilers are wired directly into the spur. Sometimes a switch is also included.
  • In-cup drinks: Plastic beverage cups (Tea, coffee, soup, etc) with pre-dispensed ingredients already inside. So just add hot or cold water for your drink. Commonly used in vending machines.
  • KIWA: A company offering Testing & Certification of water products.
  • Leak Detector: Fitted at the bottom of the machine these activate an automatic shut off of the water feed if they get wet.
  • Micron: A description of the size of the holes in a filter. 1 micron = one thousandth of a millimetre. Obviously the smaller the holes, the finer the filtration.
  • Potable: Drinkable!
  • POU - Water Cooler:
    "Point of Use". Used to describe water machines that are fed from the water mains rather than by a bottle. It originally stems from American descriptions of water supplied to buildings being filtered at the POU (point of use) instead of POE (point of entry)
  • Pressure Reducing Valve: Exactly what it says on the tin! A valve fitted onto the water cooler inlet in the case of high mains pressure. Particularly useful with Direct Chill water coolers to prevent the water blasting out of the taps.
  • Pressure Vessel Cooler: Operates in a similar way to Direct Chill but instead of the water passing through a coiled pipe, it fills a sealed "Football" within the water cooler. This gives water which has not been exposed to atmosphere, at mains pressure, but allows a larger amount to be dispensed in one go than the Standard Direct Chill System.
  • Reservoir Cooler: A water cooling system where the water is held in a reservoir or tank within the machine fed from a bottle or from the mains. The refrigeration system is wrapped around the mains. When the taps are opened the water is dispensed by gravity. They usually provide a higher amount of water in one go, but take longer to chill through. This system is used in almost all bottled water coolers. It requires a hygienic tank, with an air filter and usually some float mechanism to prevent over-filling.
  • Sanitisation: The process of sterilising and cleaning the water contact surfaces within a water cooler. Can be typically achieved by pumping Ozone into the machine or sterilising solution (such as Milton). Vital for ensuring hygiene.
  • Table Top: Also known as Counter Top. A smaller water cooler or water boiler that is essentially the top third of a floorstanding machine with all the workings crammed in. More convenient where worktops & counters are the best place for the machine. Popular in kitchens.
  • Trunking: Generally a plastic conduit used for cables, but also particularly useful for running flexible food grade water tubing down or across walls. 
  • UV:Ultra Violet - Direct exposure to UV light can eliminate bacteria.Some water coolers bathe their own oulets in UV light to help kill bacteria.
  • Water Block: A specific valve which is set to allow a certain quantity of water to pass through it in one go before shutting the supply off. Designed to prevent catastrophic floods they are usually set to allow enough water that anyone might drink to pass through, but if the flow is constant & extended, they will kick in. 
  • Water Boiler: A Drinking Water Boiler, another name for Drinking Water Heater. The industry struggles to decide upon which terminlogy to use. Not to be confused with a boiler to run your central heating!
  • Water Heater: In this case a "Drinking Water Heater" either counter-top or wall mounted to dispense virtually boiling water for hot drinks. Not for hand washing!...(See water boiler above)
  • WEEE: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. This is a European Community Directive and, since 2007, UK Law. It requires manufacturers to establish and infrastructure for disposing of electrical equipment at the end of its useful life. It compels the manufacturer to collect and re-cycle in an ecologically friendly manner. Obviously this carries a cost, so frequently "WEEE" charges are built into the cost of items to cover the eventual disposal.
  • WRAS: Water Regulations Advisory Scheme 
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