Why it might not be safe to drink water from your upstairs tap…

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Feeling thirsty in the night? 

Be warned, it might not be safe to fill up a glass of water from the upstairs tap. 

This is because, depending on your house, your bathroom taps might be fed by a storage tank not considered safe to drink directly from.  

It might not even be wise to brushing your teeth due to the same risks.

Many older properties get their upstairs water from storage tanks contained in the roof or the loft. 

While it might be your first instinct, its not always safe to fill up a glass refreshing water from the upstairs tap

Water from more modern versions of these tanks is generally now considered safe to drink, provided they have been installed and maintained properly. 

But the same isn’t necessarily true for older models, according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), the Government’s regulator.

Some are too large, for example, meaning the water contained inside can ‘sit’ for too long.

While such water is perfectly fine to wash your hands with, this can mean it isn’t technically ‘fresh’ enough to drink safely.

Water sitting for long periods of time can be at greater risk of contamination, either from the growth of bacteria or materials leeching into it from the container. 

While this is very unlikely to make you ill, the risk isn’t zero, and such contamination could also affect the taste. 

Other tanks are made of traditional metals that can rust over time, leading to bits of metal in the water — albeit in trace quantities.

Newer models then to be built of plastic to avoid this.  

Modern tanks also follow stricter standards such as having filters to prevent vermin and dust from entering and not being installed close to heat sources that can cause the water to spoil more rapidly. 

So how can you check if the tap water from your upstairs bathroom comes from a tank or is connected to the mains in the first place?

The DWI says the easiest way to find out is to run the tap fully and place your thumb underneath the spout.

If you can hold back all of the water this way it is likely being fed from a tank instead of from the mains. 

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