water heater contains impuritiesYour water heater may contain contaminants!

Was reminded about impurities that can come from water in the hot water heater while cooking dinner last night (yes, I do cook!), so thought I’d pass this along.

Never use hot water from the tap to cook with.  The water in your hot water heater very likely contains contaminants that shouldn’t be ingested.  Your water heater contains metals that will corrode over time, and can leach into the water in the tank.  Also, certain contaminants, like lead solder, can be found in older pipe systems.  The lead ban wasn’t enacted until 1986, and even today many plumbing parts contain small (“acceptable”) amounts of lead.  Some contaminants will dissolve more rapidly in hot water than in cold, so the hot water you’re drawing from your water heater might contain some lead, metal from plumbing fixtures, or other impurities. 

Your water heater may also be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Bacteria can also build up in the water as it sits in the water heater tank.  Even though the water in the tank is heated to 140 degrees, the temperature isn’t constant – the water has periods of cooling down which allows bacteria to grow.  And all that bacteria may, or may not, be killed in the cooking process. 

A water heater also contains sediment, rust and other impurities.

Check out this picture of water being drained from an older hot water heater.  The person who posted the picture (see http://tinyurl.com/mt3xo55) states the water heater had been drained twice each year, but was still full of rust and sediment.  Do you really want to cook with water that looks like this?

And, what about contaminants in the water supply coming into the water heater?

Any water supply, whether it’s from a private well or a municipal water source, will contain some impurities and these can accumulate over time as the water sits in your water heater.  (Look up perchlorate and/or trihalomethanes sometime if you’re curious about what might be in your water supply.)  Even if these impurities are not considered a health hazard or are at “acceptable levels” that are not considered a threat to your health, they can still alter the taste of the water, and consequently the food you’re cooking.

Cold water can also have impurities.
Of course, cold water from the tap will also contain some impurities and contaminants, but at lesser levels.  So, even though it takes a bit longer to bring cold water to a boil, starting with cold water is safer and better for your health – and probably the taste of your food!

Consider a Reverse Osmosis unit.
Even better, consider installing a reverse osmosis system.  Purified water will improve the taste of food, coffee, tea, etc. as well as being a healthier choice for your family.

Questions? Give us a call!  An experienced plumber is always available during business hours to answer your questions.

Stevens Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning
(602) 273-7473

For more information about the lead ban, see http://tinyurl.com/7t5562o