Keeping Hydrated: Adding Drinking Fountains to Commercial Establishments


People are getting healthier across the country. They are improving their diets while drinking more water. However, it can sometimes be difficult for workers to stay hydrated while on the job as they don’t want to constantly run out to buy bottled water. Also, customers at your Chicago establishment may want to get a quick drink just to soothe their parched throats without lugging around water with them everywhere they go.

Drinking fountains are making a comeback in public spaces and building facilities as a free way for people to stay hydrated. In the past, people were afraid to take a sip from a drinking fountain due to health concerns. Yet a new white paper prepared by the non-profit group Pacific Institute has determined that there is limited evidence in regards to people getting an illness based solely on a drinking fountain. Most problems occur with poor maintenance and cleaning efforts, as well as contamination occurring from the pipe infrastructure in the building itself. By employing a maintenance and cleaning schedule, as well as updating plumbing and equipment, drinking fountains can keep your workers hydrated while guests will linger and enjoy their time in your commercial building.

Types of Drinking Fountains in Public Spaces

water fountainWhen it comes to drinking fountains, there are numerous types available. Select the one based on how it will be used and where it will be placed. There are drinking fountains that allow for people to refill empty water bottles, fountains with refrigeration to keep water cold, and ones that have filtration devices. If the water fountain will be located outdoors, you can also get a fountain that is vandal resistant and freeze resistant so it can handle the cold months in Chicago. You should also decide on how the drinking fountain will dispense water. Some fountains are bubblers, double bubblers, stations that have pet fountains and hand washing capabilities, and drinking fountains that self-seals to prevent contamination from getting inside the fixture.

The weather and location will play an important factor when the drinking fountain will be outside. If your commercial establishment will deal with constant harsh weather, you want the material to stand up to corrosion. Cast iron fountains are great to withstand variable weather, while stainless steel is ideal in places where there are constant high-moisture levels such as the beach.

Plumbing Tips for Drinking Fountains

Commercial establishments should consider installing two drinking fountains. A tall drinking fountain will accommodate standing people, and a shorter drinking fountain will accommodate people with disabilities who may be sitting in a wheelchair. The lower fountain should have a spout that is positioned no more than 36 inches from the ground.

The Safe Drinking Water Act also requires that all potable water runs through pipes, fittings, and fixtures that are lead-free. The statute defines “lead-free” as containing 0.25% weighted average of lead along the wetted surfaces of the fitting and pipe. When using solder or flux, it is considered lead-free when containing 0.2% lead.

Installing a drinking fountain can bring in business without hampering your water costs. On average, people will spend more money on bottled water, anywhere from $1 up to $5, while adding more plastic waste to landfills. You can keep your guests and workers hydrated while helping the overall environment by installing a drinking fountain.