We rely on a supply of water every day for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other essential tasks. Although your water may look clean, it’s hard to determine if it’s truly clean by appearances alone. There are some sources of contamination that make the water look, smell and taste bad, but other problems may go unnoticed. So, it’s a great idea to get your water tested regularly to fully understand the makeup. This will give you valuable insights into the water treatment systems that you can install to improve the water quality.
Do I Need to Test My Water?
Even if you receive public water, it’s a good idea to get your water tested regularly to see if the condition has changed. Contamination can occur from a wide variety of sources, and cleaned water can be contaminated via breaks in the water delivery network. The water infrastructure is in dire need of investment, and when contamination occurs, this can lead to a boil water advisory. To summarize, you may want to test your water supply if you:
- Receive your water from a private well.
- Recently moved into a new home.
- Spot stains on faucets, drains, and water using appliances.
- Notice that the water tastes foul.
- Notice that water smells bad or looks strange.
How Often Should I Test My Water?
The bare minimum should be at least once per year. We say this because there may be unannounced changes to the local water supply. Local activity can have an impact on the water quality, and this is equally true for private well and public water users. It is possible to get a water report from a supplier, but this will only cover the water quality up to a certain date. If you get your water tested, you will know what’s in the water now, and this will help you to make informed choices.
What Problems Should I Look For?
There are seven common water quality issues that you may want to look for during water testing:
- Water Hardness: This is a high concentration of dissolved minerals that can cause a large number of problems in your home, from dry skin to corroded plumbing pipes.
- Chlorine: Both chlorine and chloramine (chlorine mixed with ammonia) create an unpleasant “swimming pool” odor that many people cannot tolerate.
- Nitrates: These are extremely hard to detect by sight, taste or smell, and yet they can have a dramatic negative effect on human health.
- Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): This is a high concentration of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, iron, and lead, that impart a bitter metallic taste and cloudy appearance to drinking water.
- pH Levels: If the pH level is too high (alkaline) or too low (acidic), it may taste sour, feel slimy, create films on surfaces and reduce your water pressure level.
- Iron: If the water has a high concentration of iron you may notice rusty colored stains, corrosion issues, and damage to water using appliances.
- Hydrogen Sulfide: This creates a “rotten egg” odor, and it’s a common contaminant in well water.
It’s tempting to test your water with a DIY kit, but the results will not be accurate. It’s a better idea to contact your local water treatment specialist and ask them about professional water testing.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.