Can You Boil Tap Water To Make It Safe To Drink
Drinking tap water isn’t necessarily dangerous. Most cities pump their drinking water from lakes or streams rather than wells. This means they don’t have to filter out contaminants. But if you still have doubts, you can boil your water, no worries. For boiling tap water,
you should let the pot sit on the stove until it returns to a rolling boil before pouring it into a glass. That way, the water won’t cool off too much during heating. Is boiling water make it safe? Umm, sometimes yes, sometimes no. Why? Let’s find out-
Which tap water can be safe after boiling?
Suppose you live somewhere where the tap water has high levels of iron, fluoride, copper, manganese, arsenic, nitrates, or other heavy metals. In that case, you may want to consider buying bottled water instead. In some locations, well water contains elevated amounts of radon gas.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says you shouldn’t drink tap water if it exceeds certain levels of these chemicals or radioactive elements. In that case, you can surely boil water before drinking it.
Which type of tap water can’t be safe even after boiling?
Your tap water contains various heavy metals, chemicals, dissolved solids, and other contaminants, such as HAA5, Fluoride, Lead, Arsenic, Barium, Nitrate, Chromium, Pesticides, Perchlorate, Pharmaceuticals, and PFAS.
That is because these hazards do not evaporate in the heat. Heat doesn’t kill them, but evaporation concentrates them. Most people are unaware of this unpleasant surprise. Click here to know How long do you boil water to sterilize.
What do if tap water contains heavy harmful bacteria?
It’s important to note that boiling water does nothing to remove harmful bacteria. You’ll need to run the water through an effective water filtration system. Some systems even add chlorine to kill pathogens.
However, there are ways to use boiling water safely without buying a new water treatment system. It’s just important not to rely on boiling alone to make tap water safe.
The most common reason people claim to boil their water is that it makes it safer. While this is true for some types of contamination, like lead, it doesn’t apply to all. To learn which ones are worth worrying about, check out our guide to toxic contaminants found in tap water.
So, now the real question does boiling tap water make it safe to drink?
It depends on the reason why it wasn’t safe to drink. The water will be safe to drink if you believe bacteria, parasites, viruses, and nothing else contaminate it. If you boil it and cover it while it cools, it will become safe to drink.
It is possible that boiling the water might worsen by concentrating the toxins through evaporation if the water is contaminated with arsenic or pesticides.
To break down the toxins, you may need to strain the water first (to get rid of those rocks). Without specialized equipment, you may not be able to make it safe to drink.
When you ask the water utility how you can make tap water safe at home, they will usually tell you whether boiling or other methods can be used. However, if they have said otherwise, tap water is usually safe to drink without boiling.
Reasons why boiling doesn’t make some water safe
The second reason many people think that boiling water will make it safe to drink is that they’ve seen it done on TV. They assume that since the show could get rid of bad stuff in time, it must also work with real-life situations. Unfortunately, this is false. There are several reasons why boiling water doesn’t make it safe to drink:
You’re leaving behind dangerous chemicals in the water. Look at the EPA’s list of contaminants found in public water supplies.
You’ll see that boiling water actually increases the concentration of some substances while decreasing others. For example, boiling reduces the amount of bromide in water.
Still, it also creates hydrogen bromide gas when you do so. Hydrogen bromide is extremely poisonous and can cause brain damage, convulsions, coma, and death. Boiling also removes fluoride from the water, leading to dental problems.
You’re diluting the toxins. When you heat water, it expands. As a result, the water molecules move closer together and become less dense. This causes them to spread out across larger areas of space.
Dilution happens naturally when you drink plain tap water. So, it stands to reason that boiling would also reduce the toxicity of any contaminants present in your water supply.
You’re missing out on important nutrients. Many minerals and vitamins dissolve in hot water. These include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, phosphate, silica, and various amino acids.
All of these things are vital to good health, but they don’t stay dissolved long enough to be absorbed by your body after being boiled off the water.
To ensure that you have clean drinking water, no matter how you treat it, it’s best to go straight to the source. This means finding a local water provider who provides reliable service.
By doing so, you can rest assured knowing that you’re getting the safest possible water for yourself and your family.
But no worries, if it doesn’t contain that heavy harmful chemicals or bacteria, tap water is usually safe enough to drink it. But if you still have doubts, you easily boil your water. Here is how you should boil your water-
Steps of boiling water
- Suppose you live at an elevation higher than 6,500 feet. In that case, you should boil the clear water for 3 minutes (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 1 minute).
- It is important to let the boiled water cool down.
- Make sure the boiled water is kept in sanitized, tightly covered containers.
How Long to Boil Water, and at what temperature?
So what does “boiling temperature” mean? 212 degrees Fahrenheit is the boiling temperature of the water. So, you’re looking for a rolling boil. When water boils, bubbles form around the edges of the pot. These are called “steam blisters.”
When you see steam blisters, you know the water is boiling. However, the water isn’t boiling. What happens next depends on how much water you’re boiling.
If you’re boiling just one quart of water, you’ll see steam blisters within three to five minutes. You’re ready to drink the water once you’ve reached the boiling point.
However, if you’re boiling multiple quarts of water, you might need to wait longer. For example, if you’re boiling 10 quarts of water, reaching the boiling point’ll likely take closer to seven minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
1. Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Drinking Water Contaminated With Pathogens?
If you wish to consume water that is boiled (and then cooled) or bottled water that is certified for sale in New York State, it is recommended that you use it.
It is not recommended to rely on home water treatment devices to protect you during a boil water event since they are not designed to remove pathogens.
2. Boil Water Notices: What Causes Them?
Biological water contamination is commonly the cause of boil water notices issued by public water systems.
3. Why is a Boil Water Notice Issued?
In addition to problems with water quality, distribution system pressure loss, and lack of disinfection, several factors can prompt boil-water notices.
4. What is the Problem With the Water Supply?
As a precaution, water utilities and health agencies issue boil water notices to notify consumers that their water may contain disease-causing organisms (also called pathogens).
5. Contaminated Water Poses What Risks?
It is rare for waterborne diseases to cause serious illness, but they do exist. Infants, the elderly, and those with immune deficiencies are more susceptible.
Water is a very important element of our life. So we must ensure that we consume safe water to be healthy. Boiling is surely a way to have safe water, but be sure if the water contains heavy bacteria or not. I hope this article has given you a clear idea.
As an accomplished author and expert in water filtration and mineral content, I have dedicated my career to understanding the intricacies of water quality and its impact on human health. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for sharing knowledge, I have written extensively on the subject, covering everything from the differences between hard and soft water to the benefits of using a water filter at home.