A water cooler effect is a phenomenon, occurring when employees at a workplace gather around the office water cooler It is a synonym for gathering and connecting people in a certain environment (e.g. the office). When a television program, like a soap-opera or series, is talked about among many people (mostly related to guessing what will happen in the next episode) it can be said that the program has a water cooler effect.
Cooling and heating methods
Usually units offer a refrigeration function to chill the water, using Vapor compression refrigeration or Thermoelectric cooling. Some versions also have a second dispenser that delivers room-temperature water or even heated water that can be used for tea, hot chocolate or other uses. The water in the alternate hot tap is generally heated with a heating element and stored in a hot tank (much like the traditional hot water heaters used in residential homes). Additionally, the hot tap is usually equipped with a push-in safety valve to prevent burns from an accidental or inadvertent pressing of the lever. POU water coolers have two cooling mechanisms. In the reservoir version, a tank is filled with water which is then cooled, which results in variable water temperature. In the other version the water is passed through a coiled pipe, which resides in an ice block, leading to a more consistent temperature of dispensed water: there is no industry-standard term for this, but is frequently referred to either as ‘Ice Bank’ or ‘Direct Chill’. The latter type of POU water cooler is considered more hygienic due to the lack of air exchange and no tank of water which may become stagnant.