Tag Archives: boil water alert

Is The Safety Of My Fridge Water Impacted By Floods?

Flood Waters Impact Drinking Water SafetySeveral parts of the country, including our home state of Minnesota, have recently been deluged by rainstorms leading to significant issues with flooding. Part of the coverage related to this flooding, including stories published in both Minnesota and Missouri, has centered on the impact flood waters have on the safety of local drinking water.

This leads to perhaps the most important question of all, and one that we’ve heard from some FridgeFilters.com customers, is my drinking water safe?

In answering this question, we first need to determine where the drinking water dispensed by your fridge first originates from.

If your water comes from your municipality, ie ‘city water,’ the answer is very likely ‘yes.’ In the event of any contamination issues with local drinking water, cities will issue a boil water alert or advisory. Fortunately, most municipalities are quite good at being overly cautious in issuing these alerts if there is even a small chance of bacteria entering into a water supply (ie due to a sudden loss of water pressure or work on a water main.)

That said, there are notable recent exceptions, in both Portland, Oregon and Wake Forest, North Carolina where alerts were not issued quickly enough – leading to some residents reporting sickness and nausea.WellSafe Well Water Test Kit

The lesson that can be taken from this is that if there is ever a question on the safety of your municipal water, or worse, an ‘off’ taste or odor – boiling water prior to consuming or drinking only bottled water is advisable until a test can be conducted. Affordable DIY water test kits, available on our site here, can provide much of the data you need to make an initial determination.

If your fridge water originates from a private well, the issue is a little bit more involved, simply because every private well is different.

The stories linked to at the top of this post discuss the primary issue with well water safety as it relates to flooding: flood waters carry with them any number of contaminants, impurities and pathogens. As flood waters transform into run-off, they can quickly infiltrate wells, carrying all of these impurities with them.

If the water dispensed by your fridge is contaminated with pathogenic impurities, and face only the carbon filter in your fridge prior to pouring into your glass, these pathogens will still be present – for the simple reason that carbon filters are typically not designed to reduce bacteria.

Our advice for anyone living in flooded areas is this:

-          If you are a city water user, monitor the water news or reports in your area closely. Boil water alerts will typically be communicated through major news outlets.

-          If you are a well water user, test your water with a DIY well water kit as soon as possible. Even if your water test indicates that it is safe, our recommendation is still to flush your filtration systems and replace any filters in your home after all flood waters have subsided, to reduce any risk of being exposed to pathogens that may be trapped somewhere in your filters or system.

-          If there is even the smallest question related to the safety of your water, or any off flavor or odors, boil your water or use bottled water until a test can be completed. Alerting a rep from your local water company to your concerns may help expedite a formal lab test.

We also invite you to contact us directly with any additional questions at 1-800-683-8353 or to leave a question via a comment below.

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Why Refrigerator Water Filters Must Be Changed After Any Boil Water Alert

West Virginia Drinking Water Safety MapAs of this morning, nearly half the residents impacted by the water contamination incident in West Virginia are being notified that their tap water is once again safe to use.

But before tap water is used again – for drinking, cleaning, cooking or anything else – there are critical steps that all residents should take.  While many of these steps are being more  heavily publicized now in light of the West Virginia chemical spill, each of these steps are critical after any incident causes a significant water event or boil water alert.

For those that have not suffered through a boil water alert, this is an indication from water officials in the local area that tap water has been deemed as potentially dangerous for drinking or use.  A boil water alert is a serious event and one that should be taken extremely seriously both during and after the incident ends.

Maytag UKF8001 Refrigerator Water FilterIn online forums related to boil water alerts, a question that continues to arise is whether or not tap water must be boiled if a water filter, including a refrigerator water filter, is in use.  The answer is a definitive yes.

First, the primary objective of a refrigerator water filter is to improve the taste of the water and ice dispensed by the fridge.  Our most popular refrigerator water filters, including Maytag’s UKF8001 and Whirlpool’s 4396710, are carbon-based filters and are simply not designed to remove bacteria or hard-core chemicals (such as the MCHM that is currently flowing through West Virginia water lines.)

Once the boil water alert ends, replacing all point-of-use filters – including refrigerator water filters – is just as critical as avoiding use of water during the alert.  This instruction comes directly from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The reasoning behind this is that the filter media itself can become contaminated – and because the filter isn’t designed to trap certain chemicals or bacteria or reduce the likelihood that these nasties will end up in your drinking water – your filter can become a storing ground just waiting for you to pour your next glass.  This can result in accidental exposure or sickness after your drinking water supply has been deemed otherwise safe.

Whirlpool Refrigerator Water Filter 4396710If you live in an area where boil water alerts and water quality issues are common, we would recommend:

  1. Order From Us Online or Via Phone and Request Rush Shipping
    At FridgeFilters.com, we have nearly every type of refrigerator water filter you could possibly need at prices to beat the big box stores, provided you can even find the filter you need at a big box store.  Our customer service team, available via phone at 800-683-8353, are also happy to offer rush shipping options that ensure you get your filter quickly – especially in situations like the chemical spill and corresponding water contamination incident in West Virgina.
  2. Order 2 – 3 Filters At A Time
    As you order more filters, not only will your price go down, but you will likely qualify for free shipping – as all our orders over $75 ship free.  Just as importantly, you’ll always have the replacement water filter on-hand that you need.

In addition to replacing your water filters, flushing your water lines and thoroughly cleaning your refrigerator icemaker are also critical steps to adhere to after any boil water alert.  For instructions on how to flush your lines, and details regarding what other appliances should be cleaned and flushed after a boil water alert ends, we would recommend the resources below.  With the chemical spill in West Virginia still fresh in everyone’s minds, each link below is current within a few days of this post’s publication:

If you have any additional questions regarding the chemical spill and drinking water contamination in West Virginia, we would encourage you to visit the West Virginia American Water website for real-time updates.  We will also continue to link to relevant updates from our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.

If you have any additional questions regarding what to do during or after a boil water alert, we welcome you to call our customer service team at 800-683-8353.