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How to change a 5-gallon water cooler bottle

Learning the technique to change the 5-gallon water cooler bottle reduces the risk of injury, spills and contaminated water. Correct lifting, cleanliness and the method and timing of placement can make changing the bottle a safe, smooth operation. By practicing a safe method for lifting and positioning the bottle in an unhurried manner, you'll master the technique so that future bottle changes are trouble-free, and your cooler remains free of possible contaminants.

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  1. Remove the empty water bottle. Lift the bottle straight up or hold the bottle and pull it toward you, depending on the water cooler's design. Set the empty bottle out of the way so that it won't present a tripping hazard when you position a new bottle.

  2. Wash your hands. Use a clean cloth to dry the rim of the water cooler where the bottle rests. This makes the surface more secure for seating the bottle. Wipe down the neck and top of the new 5-gallon bottle of water to remove any dust and debris to keep your water and water cooler clean.

  3. Place the new water bottle near the water cooler, preferably on a chair or table so you won't have to lift it from the floor. Remove the cap from the fresh water bottle. If it has a tab, give the tab a firm tug to separate the cap from the ring that seals it to the bottle's neck. Pull the cap off the bottle.

  4. Grasp the bottle's neck with your dominant hand. Support the bottom of the bottle with your other hand.

  5. Lift the bottle, using your legs, not your back. Tilt the bottle and allow the water to trickle into the cooler. Pour slowly to prevent splashing and spilling. As the water flow increases, straighten the bottle, with the neck in the cooler and the bottom of the bottle pointing up. Adjust the bottle so that it's centred.

  6. Tip

    Check to make sure you can lift the full 5-gallon water bottle without strain before attempting to change the bottle. Get help if you need it.


    Avoid storing water bottles in sunlight to prevent algae growth.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dish towel or other clean cloth

About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.

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