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Beware your water heater?


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Ok this is something that's been bothering me since I've learned that a lot of people use pythons and temp match using hot tap water. I stopped consuming any kind of hot tap water years ago, for fear of the bacteria water heaters have been known to harbor that affects humans, but what our goldfish? This is just a half baked theory I kinda have, but could one of the reasons pond fish seem so much healthier is that they get cold water from a hose? Why some peoples fish get sick and some don't? In the article I've linked it says to turn up you water heater to make water safer, but then in a pdf I've read it says thermophilic bacteria can live in super high temps. I'm just throwing this out there, because I don't pretend to have any answers.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/37933/description/The_Case_for_Very_Hot_Water

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC271717/

Edited by smegypsiren
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I don't know how you guys have your water heated/stored but I know at my mum's house we do not drink water from upstairs since both hot and cold are kept in giant water tanks in the attic whereas the kitchen cold is connected straight to the mains pipe (hot still comes from the tank). However, in my flat I don't have a tank for cold OR hot, all my water comes straight from the mains pipe but my combi-boiler heats the water immediately upon request from turning any hot tap on.

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We have always had our water heater dialled way up despite the cost savings and constant harping that we risked having scalded children if they played with our taps. No health reason for this, I just like hot showers and feel better when the dishes are washed in super hot water.

I do think that luke-warm water is a dicey matter. People come down with legionnaires in Scandinavia by sitting in warm wooden rooms and warm wooden tubs - sure, its hot when you get in but it cools down later and the wood is a great medium for the growth of nastys.

Fish, I don't know. Our tanks are colder than most peoples because our ambient air is cold (we do not have a central heating system). Last night, when I changed water, the tank was 68F. I have wondered if temps had any bearing on fish health (temps within the range normal people are likely to have a goldie tank) but I've never thought about bacteria introduced through adding lukewarm water.

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Smegy, this is a very good point that you raised, and it is one that I don't have a very good, or reassuring, answer.

Here is what the New York Times said a few years ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/health/29real.html

My conclusion has been this:

1. There is a risk of danger with hot water, given that it's not recommended that we drink or cook with it.

2. The risk is not big, but it is there.

3. To be safer, you can use only cold tap, which you age over night (and can even warm) to let the temp go up.

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I haven't heard of the bacteria issue but when I got into keeping shrimp it was stressed to use only cold water and let it warm up before putting it into the shrimp tank. Because warm water that goes though the hot water heater contains some metals that are harmful to shrimp. This is why I got the Kold ster IL water filter.

For your drinking water it's important to have a water filter. There are things in our water that you don't even want to know about. If you don't have a water filter YOU ARE the water filter.

I also have a filter on my shower head. Have you ever took a hot show and felt a little light headed and thought it was because the was hot? It wasn't the temperature of the water. The steam from our chlorinated water contains chlorine gas which is what the Nazis used to exterminate millions of Jews.

http://homewaterfiltersheadquarters.com/

http://harmonyhealth.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/hot-showers-are-very-dangerous-to-your-health/

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I think you're looking at Hot water tank vs On demand style heater.

Hot water tanks heat a large volume of water and it sits there. On demand style heaters are like adding a blow torch to the cold water pipes.

I can see bacteria building up in a tank style heater. We have an on demand one here, water is never sitting in a giant vat. Seems safer to me. But I still fill up buckets because I make such a bloody mess with anything python styled. Plus adding water directly from the sink to the tank even with temp matching, means I didn't get to add a buffer prior to it going into the tank.

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Oh, relax! There are problems enough with keeping fish without manufacturing new, highly improbable ones.

I don't think that I'm "manufacturing" problems, thank you very much. When we're warned not to drink hot water from a tape, I think worrying about our fishes health is a valid concern. To be honest I find your response condescending and quit rude.

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Oh, relax! There are problems enough with keeping fish without manufacturing new, highly improbable ones.

I don't think that I'm "manufacturing" problems, thank you very much. When we're warned not to drink hot water from a tape, I think worrying about our fishes health is a valid concern. To be honest I find your response condescending and quit rude.

Smegy, I don't think that's what shakaho means. I think she was pointing the finger at the people who made this an issue to begin with. :)

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I intended it to be reassuring, but I apologise for not sounding that way. Who told us not to drink hot water?

I think it's not so much hot water in general, but hot water from a hot water tank.

This is from our Drinking Water Inspectorate:

"Remember that you should only be using cold water from the kitchen for drinking and cooking. Water from the hot tap is not recommended for drinking as it often contains elevated levels of metals such as copper which makes the water taste astringent. Cold water in bathrooms and wash rooms is not recommended for drinking as it may be from a tank that is not suitable for drinking water purposes."

http://dwi.defra.gov.uk/consumers/advice-leaflets/index.htm

(it's in the 'Taste Odour' leaflet)

And also from 'Which?' who do investagations on loads of stuff here:

"Contamination is rare, usually caused by local pollution, such as old pipes, not the water supply. However, don’t drink or cook with water from a hot-water system or bathroom taps. It usually comes from a storage tank and isn’t as fresh or safe as mains water from cold water taps."

http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/heating-water-and-electricity/guides/switching-from-bottled-to-tap-water-/water-safety-faqs/

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I intended it to be reassuring, but I apologise for not sounding that way. Who told us not to drink hot water?

I think it's not so much hot water in general, but hot water from a hot water tank.

This is from our Drinking Water Inspectorate:

"Remember that you should only be using cold water from the kitchen for drinking and cooking. Water from the hot tap is not recommended for drinking as it often contains elevated levels of metals such as copper which makes the water taste astringent. Cold water in bathrooms and wash rooms is not recommended for drinking as it may be from a tank that is not suitable for drinking water purposes."

http://dwi.defra.gov...flets/index.htm

(it's in the 'Taste Odour' leaflet)

And also from 'Which?' who do investagations on loads of stuff here:

"Contamination is rare, usually caused by local pollution, such as old pipes, not the water supply. However, don’t drink or cook with water from a hot-water system or bathroom taps. It usually comes from a storage tank and isn’t as fresh or safe as mains water from cold water taps."

http://www.which.co....er-safety-faqs/

So, what about well water? That already contains a high mineral content even when cold.

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I don't think we really have well water here except perhaps private land such as farms.

I imagine there are a lot of differences between the UK and USA :)

Our Goverment advice is to not drink water held in house tanks. That's all I was saying.

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I did a quick search on this and the only thing I found was a 2008 NY Times article that claimed unspecified "environmental scientists" said there was an extremely small risk. I don't buy anything like this without specific evidence.

Anyone can say they got information from an expert, including stuff like you can put 10 goldfish in a 10 gallon tank.

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I think those big water tank type boilers are considered old fashioned now and maybe this is one of the reasons?

I have a combi boiler in my house too so all our tap water is direct mains water which just gets heated when needed, I actually prefer this as when my parents had a water tank we'd constantly run out of hot water!

However me and my siblings all bathed in tank water growing up and never got ill from it, maybe thats luck or just the style of tank it was? Ive never really though about this before!

I know I habitually fill my kettle with cold water because its meant to be clearer than warm and reduce limescale but that could be an old wives tale lol.

Edited by Lucerne
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I did a quick search on this and the only thing I found was a 2008 NY Times article that claimed unspecified "environmental scientists" said there was an extremely small risk. I don't buy anything like this without specific evidence.

That was the article I linked to up above. It was very brief, and the small concern as presented the article is lead and other metal contaminants.

This is the CDC's stance

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/water.htm

Here are some papers/letters with regard to infections:

http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/8/2/170.1.full

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/3/02-0707_article.htm

I think here they discuss the idea that while Legionella sometimes can be found in the hot water, there has been no clear link between that and residents getting sick. What's interesting is that if you worry about anything, you could be worrying about cold tap during warm months, where they temp is about just right for the growth of some of these organisms.

I guess my point is that while the risk is not negligible, it is pretty small, and really isn't something to really worry about. If you do worry, just use cold tap and age your water to the right temp. :)

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So, what about well water? That already contains a high mineral content even when cold.

Had a look for you :)

"In general terms a private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water company. It is not a "mains" supply. About 1% of the population of England and Wales have private water supplies to their homes. Most private supplies are situated in the more remote, rural parts of the country. The source of the supply may be a well, borehole, spring, stream, river, lake or pond. The supply may serve just one property or several properties through a network of pipes.

As well as being the independent regulator of public drinking water supplies, DWI also have an advisory role in relation to Private Water Supplies (i.e. those not supplied by a water utility). DWI Inspectors are appointed Technical Advisors to both the Secretary of State (Defra) and Welsh Ministers on drinking water quality. This includes the provision of technical advice on Private Water Supplies and related issues. As part of that activity, DWI provides support and advice to Local Authorities, on all aspects of drinking water quality, including on Private Water Supplies."

http://dwi.defra.gov.uk/stakeholders/private-water-supplies/index.htm

The Government isn't responsible for well water as it seems it would be considered a private supply. :) There are regulations that still have to be adhered to in regards to ensuring the water is safe, but the private supply is responsible for testing that themselves. I assume they would also be advising on whether to drink it or not.

Edited by ninzah
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Yes Alex, I found your link when I read through the thread to try to find where this came from. I guess there are a lot of very old buildings that may still have lead pipes in NYC. Where I live, 20 year old houses are old, and no such plumbing exists. I guess I forgot old houses even existed.

Edited by shakaho
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So, what about well water? That already contains a high mineral content even when cold.

As long as man didn't contaminate the water supply that water is fine. It would be about the same as the water in the lakes and streams in the area.

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