This February, Texas experienced a winter storm experience that can only be described as disastrous. With our sources depleted, many Texans were left on a boil water notice because of contaminated water. These contaminants in the water could be E. coli or bacteria.
Now that we’re returning to normalcy, cities are lifting the boil water notice. However, now that it’s been lifted, what’s next?
Flushing Water Lines After a Boil Water Notice Expires
If you don’t know whether or not you should flush your lines, don’t worry! Here are three signs that you need to flush your water lines.
- If your water service was interrupted
- You weren’t at home during the boil notice
- Your plumbing was damaged.
If any of the aforementioned reasons apply to you, you need to flush your water lines before you utilize your water service.
How to Flush Lines
- First, you’ll need to remove the faucet aerator.
- Then, you need to figure out where to start flushing your water. In Texas, some water pipes are in the attic, so in that case, you would start on the top floor. However, if your pipes are under slab, then start on the main floor.
- Next, turn on your cold water tap and run it for a minimum of five minutes. If you have a single faucet, turn it to the tap cold option. The water should run clear. If the water is not running clear and it has been more than five minutes, continue to flush the line. Turn off each faucet in the opposite order that you turned them on.
- After running the cold water, you need to clean the faucet aerator. You need to do this in case there is a build-up or any remaining contaminants in the faucet. This can be done with white vinegar and a toothbrush. First, soak the aerator in a glass of white vinegar to loosen up the minerals. It can take around five minutes to fully loosen the particles. Afterwards, take the toothbrush and scrub it clean. Reattach the aerator when it’s been properly cleaned. Make sure to dispose of the toothbrush after you’ve cleaned all the aerators.
- Flush all toilets
Helpful Reminders for Boil Water Notices
Filters and Ice Makers
You will also need to change all of your filters. This includes filter cartridges in your refrigerator, your ice maker, and Reverse Osmosis filtration systems. These filters have been contaminated, and therefore they need to be thrown away to prevent getting sick. Make sure to also throw away the ice.
Once your filters have been changed, you’ll need to flush out these lines, as well. Run the water from the refrigerator for five minutes. For your ice maker, you’ll need to throw away the next three full batches of ice and clean the bin. Following that, your ice is safe.
If your refrigerator does not have a filter, you still need to flush this water line. To do this, run at least one quart of water from the unit.
Hot Water Tank
You’ll need to flush your hot water tank if the temperature was under 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Run hot water through all faucets until the water runs cool. Since you’re flushing the whole tank, this takes some time. For example, a typical household has a 40 gallon tank. This process can take up to, or more than, 30 minutes to complete at this capacity. If your home has multiple water heaters, you’re going to have to flush both.
If you have a water softener, you will need to run this through the regeneration process.
For your dishwasher, you will need to run an empty load on sanitation mode. It’s safe to use your dishwasher as normal after the empty cycle. This needs to be done after the hot water tank has been flushed and recharged.
If you used either a humidifier or CPAP machine, you’ll need to dispose of any contaminated water in the humidifier and sanitize it.
For easy access, follow along the Oakland, Michigan resident’s checklist following a water boil notice ending.
Avoiding Water Boil Notices
Let’s face it, water boil notices are a hassle. A solution to boil notices is to use Ultraviolet (UV) water purifier. These water purifiers are designed to reduce risks that are associated with water contamination. Boil water notices are given to cities with water that is contaminated, therefore using UV purification takes away much of the hassle. This purification method is quick, safe, and free of any chemicals.
Next Steps Towards Normalcy
In order to keep your family safe, you’ll want to take these steps as quickly as possible once the boil water notice has ended. To find out which cities are still on the boil water notice, visit the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website.