Cleaning your appliances after a drinking water advisory
Once a drinking water advisory ends and you don’t have to boil water anymore, you have one more task before life goes back to normal: clear lingering contamination from your appliances by following local or state recommendations or these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Clean the refrigerator ice maker and water dispenser
Because your refrigerator’s ice maker and water dispenser are connected to your water line, you need to clean and flush the system. Here’s how.
Replace the refrigerator water filter. While water filters remove many contaminants, not all trap bacteria and viruses. You can find the filter’s part number on the filter. Buy a water filter from the manufacturer or an authorized seller; you'll pay more, but can trust that the filter is authentic.
Throw out all the ice in the ice maker.
Run the water dispenser for 3 to 5 minutes to flush the system.
Let your ice maker run for an hour and then throw out the new ice.
Wash and sanitize the bins.
Drain and refill your water heater
Drain your water heater if it’s set below 113° F and then let it refill.
Run an empty dishwasher cycle
Flush all lines and pipes to the dishwasher by running a cycle with the dishwasher empty.
Check water color before using washer
If water is discolored or cloudy, run an empty cycle to flush lines and pipes. Wash a load of dark clothes first, just in case any residue remains in the water that could stain lighter garments.
Clean water treatment systems
If you have a whole-house water treatment system, change the filter cartridges and then let all the house faucets run for 5 minutes to flush the pipes. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for disinfecting the unit.
Decontaminate the water softener
Run a regeneration cycle to clean the water softener’s resin beads, which trap minerals in hard water. Running a regeneration cycle helps remove contaminants from the beads. Check your owner’s manual to find out how to run a regeneration cycle on your water softener.
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