Boiling water in regards to water purification or decontamination is something the majority of the people in the world encountered personally at some point in their lives. This is true, although rare for obvious reasons, also for countries in the developed world such as the USA and Europe. Of course water boiling for the purpose of cleaning the water and making it safe to drink is much more familiar issue for countries in the developing world, where in some regions this is a standard procedure that is performed daily.
So as it is so obvious and taken for granted by most of us in the western world that when we open our tap the water is suitable for drinking (even if the taste is not always great), there are a lot of places where this is not the daily reality.
Water boiling is an effective, and quite simple, method to clean water from certain bacteria and contaminations. Obviously it does not take care of all pollutants or foreign particles, but sometime this method is all it takes to be able to drink the water when a contamination crisis arises in a specific area.
Definition of boiling
Water boiling, or any other substance for that matter, is performed by heating water in a container of some sort to the point of it becoming vaporized from being in a liquid state. Of course that it terms of water boiling for purification and decontamination purposes there is no need to boil the water as to vaporize all of them – This is done in distillation processes.
The boiling temperature of water is generally 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are instances when this point increases or lowered to a slightly different temperature. These changes in water boiling point are effected by air pressure – thus the effect occurs when you attempt to boil water at different altitudes – for example on a mountain top or to the shores of the Dead Sea. When the altitude changes to a large extent, the changes become substantial – in general for every rise or fall of 100 meters there is a slight change in the water boiling point.
The effect and technique of boiling water
Thanks to the sterilizing effect when you boil water, this is a good method to use when the water supply in a certain area or from a water source are contaminated, when there is no access to good quality drinking water or you are not sure about the safety of water in an unfamiliar place.
When residents of an area receive notification that the water supply was contaminated and that they must boil the water in order to use them, or in any other of the above cases, what they need to do is the following:
- Boil the water in a suitable container or a regular kettle for a few minutes.
- Leave to cool while covered.
- Once cooled the water can be drunk from with no safety hazards.
*It’s recommended to use water boiling for infants up to 1 year old.