How to Easily Check Your Water at Home
Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been nesting in your homestead for years, it is important to check on the quality of the water. While the water quality in your community is perhaps fine, there are other factors affecting the quality of the drinking water in your home. Maybe the pipes are a bit too old, or something is wrong with the thermostat, thus affecting the quality of the hot water. In all cases, an inspection, perhaps every year, is important to undertake. The following are a few ways to help you easily check the water quality in your home and ensure its safety.
Try a Water Testing Kit
The market these days is absolutely flooded with different water testing kits that you can do yourself at home. You can either buy it online or call your local hardware store, which makes them a particularly easy fix and incredibly accessible. These kits typically come with a package of strips that contain reactants that will change color according to the presence of various contaminants in your water. These tests can help locate various things such as harmful bacteria levels, lead, pesticides, nitrites or nitrates, chlorine, hardness, and they can also tell you what the pH levels are. However, it is important to note that these kits are not very accurate, and they don’t test well for truly insidious, and harmful contaminants. If there are exceptionally high levels of certain contaminants in your water, then yes, the kit may be able to raise the appropriate red flags.
Unfortunately, if the issue is a bit more subtle, then you might not get exceptionally accurate results that indicate if your water is safe. So, if you just want a quick test to confirm your suspicions about your water, or simply want to do a small follow-up check-up, then an at-home test kit would be perfect for you. Otherwise, keep your expectations for the accuracy of the results at a modest level.
Hire the Professionals
If you want to take the guesswork out of the inspection process, and know the exact levels of potential contaminants in your water, then getting a professional to run the requisite tests is your best bet. As one website notes, the professionals will move beyond these amorphous terms such as “water quality,” and will help you pinpoint the kinds of contaminants you may be afraid of finding. The professional will speak with you and help you understand your concerns about different levels of bacteria based on their knowledge of the water in your area.
It is actually preferable to do a one-time, in-depth test with a professional, and have that act as the basis for ongoing interventions you undertake in the future. You can continue to do your own annual at-home tests as checkups once you have had a major inspection under your belt.
Find a Local Lab
Another middling option between hiring a professional agency and running your own at-home test is calling a lab for more information. You can call the local Department of Natural Resources for recommendations on a reputable, independent lab in your area. The authorities in charge of the water supply would be very happy to help you on this front. The lab will coordinate with you by sending a sample of your water to their premises so that they can test the quality on your behalf. The lab will have no interest in fudging the results so as to sell you an expensive filtration system or whatnot. They will simply provide accurate results to help you understand the quality of your water supply at home.
There are numerous factors that determine the quality of drinking water, but it is important to remember that not all levels are exceptionally dangerous. For example, the water is bound to have certain levels of “nuisance” bacteria, but these aren’t always harmful. In small levels they are fine, but they do release iron and sulfur which forms a biofilm on the surfaces. So, it is important to make sure that they are not at unhealthy levels. On the extreme end of the spectrum are disease-causing bacteria such as e. Coli and coliform, which you do not want any amount of in your water. A professional or lab specialist will be able to walk you through all of these variables and will let you know what to steer clear of.
It is recommended that you do some research first and look up resources available at the EPA on water quality beforehand so that you understand what to be on the lookout for. Whether you decide to do a smaller, less in-depth test on your own or hire the professionals, know that you will want to do continuous tests on the water quality in your home over the years to make sure that it is safe.