How does Lead get in your water?

The pipes that carry water in the street are usually made of iron or steel, and typically do not add lead to your water.  Lead can enter tap water if lead solder had been used on your pipes or brass fixtures in your home.  Homes built before 1989, when lead solder was banned, will likely contain some lead contamination.

How do I find out if there’s lead in my water?

To learn exactly what’s in your water, contact your local water supplier for a copy of the latest report.  The EPA requires all community water systems to area an annual water report called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for their customers by July 1st of each year.

To find your local Consumer Confidence Report, visit this EPA website:

How to remove lead from water (without installing a lead filter)?

Flush in-building water supply pipes.  Let the water run from the tap before use – especially for drinking or cooking.

Use flushed-out cold-water tap for cooking water. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap.

Not an Option: Boiling Your Water

Some people wrongly believe that boiling water will somehow help remove lead.  While boiling water kills bacteria and parasites, it will not help with lead removal.  Lead is an element, and boiling will just result in even higher concentrations of the lead after the water evaporates.

Additional tips for Reducing Lead Intake

If you are concerned with your water or are waiting to have it tested, we do have a few tips for you.  Always run your taps for at least 1-2 minutes to flush out stagnant water. Both of these techniques, while limiting the amount of lead leaching into your water, will not eliminate it, however.

When getting water from the tap for cooking pasta or making tea, do not use the “HOT” water side of the faucet.  Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead since water temperature plays a role in how corrosive the water can be.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) website states: “Do not use hot tap water to make cereals, drinks or mix baby formula.  You may draw cold water after flushing the tap and then heat it if needed.

So, always acquire water from the “COLD” side and heat up the water yourself to reduce the potential for lead contamination.

Secondly, if you’ve been out of town or even gone to work all day, it’s a good idea to “flush” your pipes by running water for at least a minute or so.  The longer water has been stagnant, the more potential lead it may contain.  Flushing for a couple of minutes can wastewater, so you may consider taking a shower to flush out your pipes. It’s important to note that the skin does not absorb lead in water, so shower or clean while flushing the pipes.

What solutions are there for reducing lead intake?

With the detrimental health effects of lead, especially in pregnant women and young children, consider an effective, long term solution; either upgrading pipes or installing a whole home water filter.  You may also wish to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters specially designed to remove lead.

As always, if you decide to have a lead filter or other filters installed on your home water supply system to be safe, please call Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating & Air to help with the installation or to allow us to make recommendations to you.

Image Credit – Adobe Stock

1 Comment

  1. Kayla on September 25, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I have heard that lead is not good for our body, especially for children. Thank you for explaining the possible effects of lead to our bodies. Now I know that boiling water is not enough. This was a great article.

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