If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Boiling water from bathroom tap

  • 02-04-2024 10:18am
    Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭

    Hi folks, I'm in dublin. I live on the 3rd floor and due to a mobility issue I cant really go up and down the stairs too often. Is it safe for me to make tea/coffee from the boiled water from my bathroom (cold) tap?


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 6,239 Mod ✭✭✭✭Wearb

    Do you not have a sink/kitchen tap?

    Please follow site and charter rules. "Resistance is futile"

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭RetroEncabulator

    The problem is it’s coming from an attic tank, and is potentially not entirely clean depending on the state of that tank.

    If the water is boiled it’s unlikely to pose and issues.

    That being said most of us probably brush our teeth using that water and don’t think much of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,526 ✭✭✭Shoog

    Its fine to drink once boiled.

  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭spalpeen

    I do, however, it's on ground floor and not easy for me to access due to mobility issue (see first post)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,006 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    So, have a bigger bottle filled with water coming from mains downstairs and only boil a glass of it for a tea every so often. 2 litre bottle should be enough for the day. And fill it up each morning.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 835 ✭✭✭stephenmarr

    no its not safe.

    get yourself a large flask fill it with boiled fresh water , keep ya going all day

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,065 ✭✭✭✭Esel


    Post edited by Esel on

    Not your ornery onager

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,828 ✭✭✭10-10-20

    You need to be careful here. We can't assume that it's ok to drink and the general guidance is that it's not. Aside from concerns around Legionaries' disease in some cases you can have a fault on the heating system which causes the circulated water to pitch back into the cold water tank (such as a perforated hot-water coil in the copper tank). That could mean that you could have the residue and products of corrosion as well as oxidation inhibitors in that cold water. Additionally the cold water tank in an attic first-off is not a potable water tank and is typically not sealed as well as such a tank should be.

    So I think that the answer here is that as a once-off or emergency situation it would be possible to drink the boiled water, but it's certainly not acceptable beyond that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭RetroEncabulator

    What you could do is get a plumber to install another mains tap upstairs somewhere more pleasant than a bathroom. It shouldn't be THAT difficult to do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 22,065 ✭✭✭✭Esel

    Although, in a lot of older Irish houses, all cold water taps are run off the mains supply.

    Not your ornery onager

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,921 ✭✭✭kirving

    The important question here is, do you know if the cold water from the bathroom tap comes from the attic tank, or external mains?

    Advantage of the attic tank is you still have some water available if there's a water cut, and if pressure in your area is low, they tank can fill slowly and you still have decent pressure at the tap.

    It's unlikely that you'll get sick, as Ireland generally isn't warm enough for potential bacteria in that tank to multiply quickly, but there is the potential that a bird or mouse gets into the attic, falls into the tank, and dies.

    I'm not sure of the actual regulations, but I'm guessing as you live in a two storey house, and likely have an attic tank, that the pipes for it will come from the ceiling down the wall. If so, it shouldn't be too big a job for a plumber to take a T off the mains pipe which fills the tanks, and direct it to the bathroom cold tap.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,526 ✭✭✭Shoog

    What is the specific risk here ? Remember the water is boiled so sterile.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,006 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    Not all bacteria can be killed by a second of boiling, some need much longer time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,526 ✭✭✭Shoog

    Water born E.coli type bacteria are not in that class. Simple boiling will render all but the most contaminated water safe to drink. The risks presented by drinking water from an attic tank are minuscule - otherwise millions of people would be coming down with diseases simply by the act of brushing their teeth.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,006 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    From NHS:

    Sterilising by boiling

    Make sure the items you want to sterilise in this way are safe to boil. Boil the feeding equipment in a large pan of water for at least 10 minutes, making sure it all stays under the surface.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,526 ✭✭✭Shoog

    Sterilisation for the purposes needed in a medical or infant situation is a very different thing.

    What are the statistics for people contracting disease through teeth brushing exactly.

    I personally wouldn't recommend drinking water from anything but the rising main - but realistically the risks are approach zero if you drink boiled water from a bathroom sink tap.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,006 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    You obviously don't see the difference between swallowing few drops of water during teeth brushing and drinking 1,5-2 litres of water daily.

    What are the Common Problems with Water Tanks?

    • Sediment Buildup in Water Storage Tanks. One of the main problems with water tanks is the buildup of sediment. ... 
    • Leakages or Broken Pipes. ... 
    • Algae Growth in Water Storage Tanks. ... 
    • Water Tank Tipping. ... 
    • Legionella. ... 
    • Regular Water Tank Cleaning and Maintenance. ... 
    • Water Tank Lining.

    As you see there might be many other things in that water, which boiling won't kill or remove.

    And I doubt very much that plastic it is made of is BPA free and BPA can't be removed from water through boiling, so I wouldn't risk my health to drink it every day in big amounts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,439 ✭✭✭TheChizler

    Isn't this the situation in every hotel in the country with a kettle in the room? I doubt many have mains water in the bathroom sink.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,526 ✭✭✭Shoog

    All your risks sum up to a heap of beans. People have been doing what is been asked for ever and to my certain knowledge no one has died or become seriously ill.

    On the point of Legionella, you obviously don't understand the transmission mechanism or why a water tank in the attic presents almost no risk of Legionella (its down to the temperature the water is at in this case). Legionella in Ireland at least is only spread by inadequately sterilized air conditioning systems and continous loop hot water systems. Legionella is a serious problem in hot countries - not in Ireland.

    Ultimately its up to the individual to make the decision about risks, but please don't generate unnecessary hysteria to cloud that decision. As I have already stated I personally wouldn't do it - but that's because I don't have a need to. If I was in the situation described by the poster then I would have no hesitation.

    And just to show I am not been blazay and ignorant - I recently warned my wife to not drink "unboiled" water from the bathroom tap, something she told me she had done for most of her life.

    Post edited by Shoog on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,391 ✭✭✭dathi

    shoog the above is a report of legionella and pseudomonas in cold water storage tanks in london

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 2,006 ✭✭✭JoChervil

    I am only answering your question: "What is the specific risk here?"

    I am not generating any histeria…

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,321 ✭✭✭RetroEncabulator

    Ireland actually has one of the lowest recorded numbers of Legionella outbreaks btw. Our rate tends to be slightly lower than the UK, which is very low compared to continental Europe.

    A lot of it is associated with issues with recirculating water in whirlpools / spas and air conditioners and sometimes in large hotel systems.

    Attic tanks tend to pose a different set of risks, more of an issue due to poor installation / age where you end up with assorted dead insects and so on stuck in the tank. There are specific potable water storage tanks that can be sourced but they're rarely installed in homes.

    E.Coli in an attic tank is extremely unlikely tbh, unless you've a dead rat floating in it or something very weird

    The main thing with those tanks is they should had a cover and be inspected occasionally but often aren't.