Sometimes, you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. In this lethargic state, the kitchen seemed far away from us. Of course, the closest place you can quickly find water is in the bathroom. While it may seem simple to pour a quick glass of water from the bathroom sink, there are several factors to consider when refilling with bathroom tap water. Drinking from the bathroom sink is generally not safe. In this article, I’ll discuss how to make hydration safer, and some of the things you should avoid.
Why Does Water from the Bathroom Taste Different?
The water in the bathroom tastes different from the rest of the home because the plumbing system is separate. Unless you have a dedicated water supply, your bathroom water comes from a separate tank that is stored in a different location away from your home’s main water supply.
This means that the water coming out of the bathroom faucet actually comes from a cooler, not directly from the main water supply like in the kitchen. When your cooler fills up and holds bathroom water, it loses the effectiveness of chlorine and other chemicals used to prevent microbial growth.
Why your bathroom water smells different:
- Different pipes for pipes
- lead or dust in the tube
- contaminated faucet
- Lack of free chlorine or chlorine dioxide
- filtering system
While there are a few different reasons why tap water in your bathroom may taste different than the rest of your home, the main reason is that it’s usually stored in a storage tank separate from the mains.
Is it Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Tap At Home
If you’ve ever drunk water from the bathroom faucet at home, you’ve probably noticed that the water in the bathroom tastes slightly different than the water in the kitchen, and it’s usually a little warmer. Water from your bathroom faucet is usually stored in a tank in the attic. So, unlike the water in the kitchen faucet, this water is not fresh water from the mains. This water may have been in your home’s plumbing system for some time. This water may contain small amounts of dust and debris from your home storage tank.
If you don’t often get some water from the bathroom sink and opt for cold water over hot water, then that’s fine. However, this is not a healthy practice for the following reasons.
- The water in the bathroom sink may be treated, but it’s ideal for washing hands and brushing teeth, not for consumption.
- Over time, buildings with old plumbing can pick up contaminants from buildup, lead, dust, debris, and deterioration.
- Some bathrooms have plumbing fixtures, so the toilet and sink share the same plumbing.
- Kitchen faucets are a safer drinking water option. A cistern in a bathroom may sit idle longer until it’s ready to use, allowing bacteria and pesky elements to establish themselves and make their way into the water supply.
Is it Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Tap in Hotels
The main problem with tap water in hotel bathrooms is that older buildings often have lead pipes in the bathrooms, which can make drinking water dangerous. Even if the hotel is newly built, the plumbing system may have copper pipes connected with lead solder. Whereas the water from the mains doesn’t have time to absorb any lead in the pipes, the water stored in the tank – which is most common in hotels – including bathroom taps and potentially hot water taps in the bathroom where the water may already be in It’s been in the plumbing system of the hotel for a while. The standing water in the pipes likely absorbed trace amounts of lead.
Second, lead isn’t the only problem. Tanks stored in neglected areas may be intercepted by small creatures such as pests and birds. This is not a pleasant thought. But it could be a source of pollution that you can’t control in a hotel. You should be careful, especially if the tap water smells strange or looks suspicious.
Risks Of Drinking Water from Bathroom Tap
Older homes are more likely to expose people who drink water to health hazards due to aging plumbing.
While the municipal water service ensures that the water is fit to drink and use without fear of getting sick, regular drinking water from the bathroom sink should be avoided. There is a risk of contamination from bacteria in reservoirs or tanks, especially in hot water. Bacteria, dust, debris, and various contaminants can wait in pipes and ducts. Consider installing an under-counter or countertop reverse osmosis filter to treat your water and purify it further if you’re concerned about exposure.
Can You Get Sick from Drinking Bathroom Water?
The quality of water coming out of a faucet can vary significantly depending on where you are. Surprisingly, most tap water contains pollutants. Not only from the pipes and the types of materials used to build the system, but also from other pollutants passing through wastewater, and even from the chemicals used to clean our water systems.
You could get sick from drinking tap water due to mild coliforms found. It can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, headache, fever, and fatigue.
Here are the top 3 contaminants found in tap water:
- Microbial contaminants – pathogens, bacteria, protozoa and some viruses
- Organic Materials – Petroleum, Pesticides and Herbicides, Detergents, Disinfecting Cleaners and Prescription Drugs.
- Inorganic materials – ammonia, chemical waste, fertilizers and heavy metals.
One of the biggest risks of drinking lots of tap water is actually exposure to prescription drugs, a study by Brunel University of London found. They tested 59 creeks across the United States, and one river alone contained traces of 45 different prescription drugs.
Chlorine is often introduced into water systems to kill bacteria and pathogens. But when mixed with other compounds, it produces a harmful byproduct called trihalomethanes, which has been linked to kidney problems and an increased risk of cancer. They also exposed people to a parasite called giardia, which can cause diarrhea, cramps and nausea.
Is There Bacteria In Hot Tap Water?
Even though hot water from a faucet can flow with steam at temperatures as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria can still lurk. The water from the hot end of the faucet is usually located in a reservoir, ready to be heated when needed. Because water can stay for long periods of time and experience temperature fluctuations, this condition makes it easy for bacteria and viruses to grow and spread.
Legionella, a bacteria commonly found in water heaters, can cause severe pneumonia-like symptoms. To reduce health risks, water testing, filters and plumbing may need to be changed.
Does Tap Water And Toilet Water Come From The Same Place
It can be nerve-wracking to think about, but the water that comes out of the faucet and fills the toilet comes from the same place. But before you panic, there are safety measures in place even if the bathroom sink and toilet plumbing are connected to the same place.
Usually, water going to the toilet goes through a tank, located above the water line to prevent cross-contamination. The water coming out of the bathroom faucet has to take a different path through the accompanying pipe connected to the fixture.
Is Shower Water Safe To Drink?
Drinking water in the shower may seem harmless, but dirty shower heads and buildup in pipes can expose you to lead, Legionnaires’ disease, spores, and bacteria. Limit drinking or swallowing shower water and stick to drinking from the kitchen tap. If you are concerned, consider adding a reverse osmosis filtration system to your piping to reduce and remove harmful contaminants.
Even hot water running from the shower head is not safe. Shower heads with dirt, mold, bacteria and limescale can pick up harmful elements through water droplets. Additionally, the pipes that carry water to the shower may release bacteria, lead in solder, and other unknown or known agents into the water. Special care should be taken with older buildings with water pipes that have been in use for many years.
How Can I Tell My Tap Water is Safe to Drink?
While the CDC has some systems in place to ensure that water coming out of a tap has minimal drinking risk, there are a few different ways to make it safer. Of course, it also depends on your location. Some signs that drinking tap water is unsafe include:
- If the water is cloudy, if you fill a glass of water and the water isn’t clear, it could be a sign of an unsafe pathogen or chemical.
- If your hands are sticky after soaking in water, you may have excess calcium or magnesium. This is not harmful to the body but indicates that the water is high in minerals.
- Yellow or brown water, is possibly caused by excess iron, rust, or lead in pipes, which are breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Blue or green castings indicate that your water is corroded by copper. Small doses are not harmful to you, but high concentrations can cause health problems.
- If your water smells like chlorine or bleach, the water treatment center will intentionally add this chemical to clean it, but you can smell it because you have excess chlorine in your system.
If you’re not sure about the safety of your tap water, you’re better off installing a filter, drinking from a different source, or you can even boiling the water in the tap before drinking it.
Countries Where it’s Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Taps
Drinking water directly from the bathroom faucet can pose a health risk. Despite progress in sanitation around the world, more than 180 countries still consider tap water unsafe for tourists. In these countries, drinking water from the bathroom faucet is even less safe. If you get it wrong, you could face a host of harmful and potentially deadly infections. However, local populations will be more immune to pathogens commonly found in water supplies than tourists who visit for a short period of time. One factor you need to be wary of is that while locals are not affected by unsafe drinking water, it may not be the same for tourists.
We want you to know the solid reasons for ditching drinking water from bathroom faucets and the potential health risks. Be sure to explore the possibility of further purifying your water supply with a filter. Occasionally drinking from the bathroom sink may not be fatal, but doing so repeatedly could expose you and your loved ones to health problems.