Ask the Times

Published May 7, 2007

In the event of water contamination, is an instant hot water dispenser in the sink enough to kill any bacteria?

It is best to follow the advice of local officials when the water supply is interrupted. Most residential hot water dispensers heat water to 140-190 degrees F, below the vigorous boiling water boils at 212 degrees F that is required to kill bacteria in water. Specifically, residents are often advised to heat water for at least a minute after it comes to a roiling boil. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/OGWDW/faq/emerg.html.

Compiled from Times staff and wires. To submit a question, e-mail answers@tampabay.com or call (727) 893-8179, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ex. 8179.