Why You Still Shouldn’t Cook With Hot Tap Water

Why You Still Shouldn’t Cook With Hot Tap Water

In older houses, hot tap water can contain small amounts of lead from the solder used to join pipes together. But even modern plumbing can leach chemicals into hot water, so the rule still applies.

Photo by Andrew Gustar

Heat makes things dissolve more readily, whether we’re talking about the flavorful compounds in tea leaves, or the chemicals that make up your water pipes. Research by engineer Andrew Whelton’s team has found that some brands of PEX piping release 100 times more of certain chemicals in hot water versus cold, and that some brands leach more than others. The chemicals aren’t necessarily dangerous, but some can change the water’s odor and taste, and others may exceed health limits set by some states. If you’re the type to play it safe, stick to cold water for drinking and cooking.

Is It Safe to Cook With Hot Tap Water? [Grist]


  • Is it just me or are there a lot more “health tip” type articles popping up on Lifehacker that seemed to be based on either very dubious evidence or purely personal opinion?
    It looks like quality is being sacrificed in favour of quantity.

  • Does hot tap water even get up to a temperature that you can cook with?? What is the temperature of you average hot tap water anyway?

    • Dman is correct, i used to do that, water from the hot tap depends on the setting of your system, which is generally 50c to 60c, it could save a considerable amount of time especially on really cold days. I stopped doing that when i heard about this issue over 10 years ago.

      • Save time yes, but also be aware that your hot water system uses more energy to keep your hot water at that higher base temperature. That means higher electricity/gas bills.

          • Well yes, but the degree is fairly lopsided in this scenario. Heat your water 24 hours a day an extra 10 degrees, or wait an extra minute or so to have the water boiled.

      • I have a gas burner stove at home, when I chuck the kettle on, it boils in about 2-3 minutes, so I never realised it was an issue…

        Maybe its an issue for electric kettles. (that or I’ve just never paid enough attention to the time it takes to boil water…)

        • I used to have an electric stove, so i would fill the kettle with hot water, finish boiling it fill the pot, for the large pot id have to do it 2 or 3 times.

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