Watch Out! Avoid these 4 Hidden Dangers of Hot Water Dispensers

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If you don't use your hot water dispenser properly, this handy home or office appliance can become a safety issue. Thousands of people each year suffer minor injuries because they aren't using their kitchen hot water dispenser properly. Keep reading for a few helpful tips that can allow you and your family or work colleagues to enjoy a safer environment and avoid potential injuries.

1. Replenishing the Water Bottle

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Most injuries occur when you're refilling your kitchen water dispenser. This is because you're lifting approximately 40 pounds of plastic and water. Additionally, many people don't use the proper lifting technique. To correctly lift heavy objects, experts agree that you shouldn't bend at the waist. Instead, squat and use your knees for power.

The Mayo Clinic has a very helpful slide show that demonstrates Proper Lifting Techniques. Here's a summary of the tips they provide:

  • Start in a safe position
  • Maintain the natural curve in your lower back
  • Use your legs
  • Squatting instead of kneeling
  • Let your legs do the work
  • Avoid twisting

While carrying the large water cooler bottle, be sure to carry it close to your body. By following the correct lifting techniques, you can easily avoid any injuries to your lower back and spine that can occur when you're refilling your dispenser for your home or office.

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2. Slipping on Puddles

Other common injuries are caused by people slipping on spills and puddles that accumulate on the floor near your water cooler. These accidents are easily avoided if you are diligent about cleaning up water that accumulates on the floor.

Typically water spills occur when you replenish the large bottle for your floor or countertop dispenser. It's also common when the drip tray hasn't been emptied for a significant amount of time because it causes water to spillover on to the floor. To prevent these problems, mop up water that accumulates on the floor and regularly empty the drip tray.

3. Germs and Bacteria

While a hot water dispenser is convenient, it's also an appliance that many people use. This means that it's very easy to spread germs. One study found that there are over 2.7 million germs per square inch on the spigot of a dispenser. Therefore, it's necessary to keep it clean in order to avoid getting sick.

It's best to clean the communal dispenser once every 2-4 weeks or every time you change the bottle. Check your user manual for a cleaning process that the manufacturer recommends. Also, be sure to unplug your electric hot water dispenser from the wall before you begin cleaning it to avoid receiving an electric shock!

There is a helpful article on wikiHow.com about How to Clean a Water Dispenser. It also includes a video demonstration.

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4. Keeping Your Children Safe

Unfortunately, there are several instances of children getting injured when using a hot water dispenser. These injuries are especially common when they are able to easily access the dispenser without supervision. Common injuries include burns caused by kids playing with the hot water spigot, a leaky water spigot or a malfunction with the child-proof mechanism.

Thankfully, these risks can be easily avoided if you're diligent about maintenance and keep an eye out for any malfunctions with the unit. It's also important to teach older kids how to safely use the dispenser and keep small children away from it unless they're supervised. Also, you can look for models with safety features like child safety latches.

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