Is water from hot tap safe to drink?

Did you just make that up or do you have a cite? Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single part of a hot water element that is water soluble to any significant degree.

I’d be interested in hearing why you think cold water is not softened. In the home of friends with water softeners, and my new home with one, the softener is in the line before the tap to the water heater, but the water feeding the rest of the system has passed through the softener. OK, there is a line feeding the outside faucets that bypasses the softener because it’s a waste to soften water that’s being used to water the grass or garden. All the water supplied to the fixtures, other than these two taps, has been processed through the softener.

Seems to me there’s quite a leap from “Instructions…often specify you start with cold water and then heat to boiling.” to “Is water from hot tap safe to drink?” Instructions are concerned with good cooking results, not safety.

The instruction to start with cold water is a common one. Various reasons (some apparently valid and some apparently not) or sometimes no reason may be given.

She said you must start the water cold because when the water boils, something about the oxygen.

If you start with cold water, your gravy will never get lumpy.

Always start with cold tap water when cooking. It has fewer mineral deposits than hot water.

If you are wondering when cooking vegetables whether to start with hot or cold boiling water remember this tip: All veggies grown underground (like potatoes, beets, carrots) - place them in cold water to start. All veggies grown above ground (like celery, spinach) - place them in hot water to start. This tip will make your veggies nice and tender.
When making broth, it’s important to start with cold water, as opposed to hot water.

GAAHHHH! Not one of those pages works… no big deal though, I’m sure they said what was quoted from them.

Yes, I do agree with Gary T’s comment about cooking instructions relating to the quality of the results rather than safety or even health - some of the best tasting foods and dishes are horid nutrition or fat-wise. Just take a look at a turn of the century cookbook and how the instructions often start with measuring lard or butter by the pound :eek:.

Another thing to consider is that cooking is often not really scientific, and does have a considerable amount of tradition thrown in - whether it affects the results or not.

For example cite #1: Dissolved oxygen levels do drop when water is heated. Hot water will usually have less DO than cold. BUT the cold water DO will drop to the same levels as soon as it gets heated up on the stove, so starting DO levels are irrelevent and so would be the water source with respect to DO.

Cite #2: Don’t know; may be true.
Cite #3: Absolutely wrong; read the above posts to see why.
Cite #4: Don’t know, but if you want tender veggies just boil them in any kind of water for an hour - tenderness guarenteed!!!(though taste not).
Cite #5: Not enough info to go by since the page doesn’t work, but when my dad makes broth it seems to be a process of boiling the hell out of all kinds of stuff for a couple hours. I can’t see how the starting temp could possibly be relevent.

So yeah, validity may or more often may not be there, but starting with cold water is often suggested for cooking. Whatever floats your boat!

Would it be that the water is softened in the hot water system because the calcium precipitates out as scale. Thus cold water is not softened, even though it is not intentionally not softened.


That might have been the intent of the quoted post. But I read it as meaning that the cold water is not processed through the softener.

One of the “benefits” of a softener is supposed to be less mineral buildup in the pipes and more efficient use of soaps and detergents with no soap scum. So it doesn’t make sense, to me anyway, to not soften the cold water when most applications tend to use a mix of hot and cold.

I see that the %#&@* colon (:slight_smile: has been incorporated into the URL – so if you click, then go up to the URL window and delete the colon, then enter, and you should get the page. Sorry about that – I was trying to be too neat in my post layout.

And you can’t put a colon inside parentheses without spacing, or you get a parenthesis plus a smiley. Mutter mutter mutter…

I didn’t say it was soluable. But particles can be suspended in the water. I’ve installed and repaired many hot water heaters and I know for a fact that the elements can shed material and in fact can burn in two completly. I don’t know what hot water heater elements are made of, but I doubt that drinking water with small particles of it suspended will be good for you. As for settling to the bottom, yes, given time I suppose suspended particles can settle to the bottom but since the cold water inlet brings the water down to the bottom of the heater and the hot water is taken from the top I’m sure that every use will swirl minute particles into the water in the tank.

The confusion might be because it’s quite common to leave the cold tap on the kitchen sink as hard water (tapped off before the softener) for cooking purposes. Although sometimes there’s that separate “drinking water” tap.

I guess it might also depend on what minerals are in your local hard water whether hard or soft “tastes better”.

Sorry, I guess the wording wasn’t clear - the entire post that I’d made was what I’d been told previously (i.e., also that cold water hasn’t been softened and that softened water gives a salty taste to foods). I grew up in a home that didn’t use softened water, and now rent, so I don’t have any experience with figuring out water softeners and what they actually affect.

Nor will drinking water with such particles hurt you. Unless those particles have some toxicity associated with them and are present in adequatley high quanities, the oxidized particles from things in the tank are pretty much benign considering the tiney mass of element oxidation and huge amount of dilution water (again assuming you have good quality water to begin with). These heating elements have been used for a long time and there’s been plenty of time for those who would get sued if they were poisoning people to come up with a safe material. The manufacturers know what they’re being used for, the elements aren’t toxic if used for their intended purpose - although if you wanted to get sick you could always grind up several of them, extract the nastiest elements in a fancy chem lab, and inject them into your brain or something :D.

The vast, vast, VAST majority of any particulates fluffed up in the tank high enough to be pushed out the top will be Ca/Mg CO3 scale, which won’t hurt you. And I’ve actually never seen any kind of particulates in water from the heater… and I live in an area where there is a lot of stuff precipitated out of the water.
As I mentioned the metals that will get into your food while boiling/frying/baking with new/old/cheap/expensive cookware will be exponentially higher than anything that could possibly come from your water heater. They will have a much better contact at much higher temperatures, often with much different pH balances than water in your tank. We don’t worry much about “frying pan poisoning”, water tank poisoning should be way further down the list.

Now if you wanted to talk about over dosing yourself with metal or vitamin supplements from the drugstore, that’s a real potential danger…

I do.

There’s an inner metallic conductor, usually made of made of Ni-Cr or other exotic alloy.

There’s an outer metallic sheath, usually made of some Cu or Fe alloy.

There’s a layer of insulation between them, which is MgO powder.