Fixing the Water Heater for Better Health
November 17, 2013
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Bathing or washing with hot water may not necessarily let you kill bacteria. However, having a well-maintained shower system can help you prevent sickness within the household.
Bacteria and other microorganisms can be classified based on temperature. Those that thrive in hot conditions are called thermophiles, as they can live in temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius or higher. In turn, some bacteria, called psychrophiles, can survive and thrive under 20 degrees Celsius.
Generally, bacteria love temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius, known as the mesophilic range. As the temperature of safe bathing water commonly falls within this range, it’s safe to say that hot water isn’t as effective in killing some bacteria. This is why water utility companies make it a point to provide clean water in households and use an extensive disinfection process as part of their treatment plants.
Nevertheless, it’s always safe to assume that bacteria can still thrive in your water heater. The smell of rotten eggs in water is often an indication of bacterial presence; the stench is the result of the bacteria reacting with the anodes in water heaters. Replacing the anodes—frequently made of magnesium or aluminum—with aluminum-zinc alloy ones is often seen as a more permanent fix.