Why am I asked to boil water?

iStock_000000470758XSmall WP electrical





Water emergencies happen every day, complete with boil water advisories – but why? Residents are asked to boil water for many reasons during an emergency, such as:

  • Harmful microorganisms found to be present in the water
  • Pressure drops due to equipment failure or power outages
  • Water main breaks or repairs
  • Flooded water sources

When these events happen, there’s no guarantee the water is safe to drink, but a quick boil will provide peace of mind because it will kill any microorganisms and bacteria, making it safe.

To properly boil water, heat a pot of water on the stove until it’s at a rolling boil with full bubbles. Let it continue to boil for at least one minute and then allow to cool before using. You can also boil water in the microwave in a microwave-safe container.

What kind of water should you boil?

Any water used for ice and beverages, cooking, pet water, making baby formula, washing vegetables, and brushing teeth should be boiled.

What about washing dishes?

For washing dishes, you can boil enough water to fill both sides of the sink and use one for washing and one for rinsing. If you have an electric dishwasher, be sure to use it with the heating elements turned on. You can then rinse dishes in boiled water as an extra precaution.

What about washing hands and showering?

If you can, wait for the boil water advisory to be lifted before washing or showering; however, if you must wash or shower, take care to use hot water. Also avoid getting water in your mouth or open wounds.

But I have a filter!

Filters are great for removing lead, carbon and other chemicals from the water, but it will not kill microorganisms.

When will it be safe to drink tap water again?

You may be asked to run water to flush the pipes in your home before using the water again, or follow special instructions from your water provider. Until notified, continue to boil all tap water for at least one minute before using, or use bottled water.

Our power is out and I can’t boil water.

A good practice is to always have at least a few gallons of water on hand prepared in case of emergency. Bottled water or jugs of water are useful in the event that the power is out and you cannot boil water.

For more information on what to do when you have a boil water advisory, visit CDC’s information on drinking water.

Something stinks!

USP_Logo_txOften when you have a sewer problem, the warning signs are there. Whether it’s a foul odor, slow draining or a backup – you know you have a problem.

Fortunately for homeowners with Service Line Warranties of America coverage, their stinky problems are quickly fixed, with no additional out-of-pocket expense.

No Money Down the Drain

David, a homeowner from Colorado, knew there was something wrong with his sewer when he found the backup. He suspected someone flushed something they shouldn’t have.

SLWA quickly sent a technician to David’s home to identify the problem.

“The Customer Service Representative was pleasant to work with and sent an honest technician,” said David.

Once identified, our team made the repairs quickly with no additional out-of-pocket expense.

“Thanks for saving us thousands of dollars that would have been difficult for us to come up with since we’re in our 70s and on a fixed income,” said David. “Protect your interests by getting the protection that Service Line Warranties of America offers.”

No Fuss, No Bill

Ed, a homeowner from Texas, discovered a clog when sewage backed up into his garage. While he jokingly said his initial thoughts weren’t printable, he knew to call SLWA.

“With this sort of problem, you are unable to use plumbing for fear of backup into the house and causing further damage,” said Ed. “With one call, SLWA handled the situation fast and professional from start to finish and with follow-up feedback.”

Ed is delighted our program is offered in his city to the community.

“Do not hesitate to enroll,” said Ed. “Do yourself a favor. Even if you never need it, the peace of mind alone is worth much more than what you pay for this service.” Ed continued, “Think about it? Have you ever, on your own, tried to get a plumber to come out and fix a problem with your sewer line and then get the bill afterwards?”

We are delighted to hear from our happy customers. Do you have an SLWA story to share? Email us at hmartin@utilitysp.net.


The storm may be over, but not the threat of plumbing problems

7Winter Storm Jonas left 102.8 million people over 434,000 square miles in 26 states covered with snow, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Maureen O’Leary.

“This storm ranks up there with the great blizzards of the past 100 years in terms of amount of snowfall, size of impacted areas and population affected,” National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Kocin said in a statement.

While the blizzard may be over, the heavy snowfall’s potential threat on plumbing systems and infrastructure is still very active. With many areas getting upwards of 20 or even 30 inches of snow, the eventual snow melt will put a severe strain on drainage systems, especially if the temperatures warm quickly.

As a homeowner, it’s important to make sure your drain systems, such as gutters and downspouts, are free of debris or blockage to allow melting snow to drain properly. Flooding is also a possibility with a rapid snowmelt. Keep a watchful eye on your basements and flood-prone areas. Additionally, move the snow away from the house to prevent added stress on your foundation.

Finally, watch your yard carefully for soft spots. Soft ground can cause pipes to shift, which could result in leaks and breaks. It’s important to know the signs of a problem and repair it immediately.