What Is a Boil Water Advisory?

A boil water advisory is a special announcement from the local municipality warning residents against drinking from their tap. This type of warning may stem from a problem with the water delivery system that could introduce pathogens, such as from water main breaks or times of severe, system-wide low pressure.

According to the CDC, households under a boil water advisory must boil all water used for eating, drinking, or personal use for a full minute before using. However, after letting the water reach a full, rolling boil for a minute and letting it cool, you can use it safely.

There are two other types of advisories that homes may encounter, though these are much rarer. The “Do Not Drink” advisory means that boiling water will not make the water safe for personal consumption. Therefore, for drinking, washing hands, brushing teeth, and cooking, only bottled water should be used.

The last type is the rarest, the “Do Not Use” advisory. This means that even for non-personal uses, such as cleaning or watering plants, the water is unsafe. Therefore, bottled water must replace all water use in the home until this type of notice ends.

Can You Drink Filtered Water from the Tap During a Boil Water Advisory?

During a boil water advisory, even filtered water needs boiling. The advisory warns against germs that could be in the water and most filtration systems, even whole-home filtration options, typically do not remove all pathogens. Therefore, if you use filtered water, follow the standard boil water advisory guidelines.

Is Water Treated with Reverse Osmosis Safe to Drink Under a Boil Water Advisory?

For homes with a reverse osmosis purification system, the water may be safe to use during a boil water notice. However, some caveats exist. The purification system must have good maintenance with regular filter changes. Additionally, small units from home improvement stores typically don’t filter out pathogens. Check the information for your home’s reverse osmosis treatment system to find out what it can and cannot remove from the water. If in doubt, boil the water to be safe.

Find Water Solutions for Your Home from Best Home Water Treatment Systems

A water filtration system improves water taste. However, if your home goes under a temporary boil water advisory, you will still need to boil the filtered-water. Reverse osmosis purifications systems, though, typically remove more contaminants from the water, including viruses, bacteria, and Cryptosporidium parvum. For whole home water filtration solutions, including high-quality reverse osmosis systems, contact us at Best Home Water Treatment Systems.


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