Test Your Water at Home

Test Your Water At Home
By Rob Arner

Does your household water not taste or smell or even look right? Also, your water may have some nitrate, bacteria and host of other problems. Your water may have either nuisance problems, or health concerns or both. Such water impurities may: damage home plumbing or equipment; stain, cause odor and/or appearance concerns; and finally health problems such as intestinal disorders due to bacterial contamination. This may be especially true if you have well or spring fed water.

Water Testing
To find out if your household water is safe you must explore what is in it. Since you use water for drinking, cooking and bathing you want to explore what is in your water. This is particularly true if you rely on your own well and other private water supply. If you wish to explore the probable causes of your water problems a water analysis by an environmental laboratory or water treatment company will provide you some answers. However, while some water treatment companies may provide free in-home testing they may not be able to examine organics (i.e. bacterial problems) and send them out to a laboratory. Getting your water tested depends on what symptoms your water may exhibit. For example if you have a rotten egg order caused by hydrogen sulfide or if you have corroding water pipes from acid water. People in many places have hard water due to calcium and magnesium and have a water softener with salt or sodium to treat this water.

First, all water contains contaminants such as dissolved minerals, microorganisms and organic compounds. When these contaminants build up they may impact public health or cause nuisances in your home then you may want to inquire to the exact nature of these contaminants.

Periodic laboratory analysis of your water is the best way to ensure that your water is safe if you rely on private sources. Testing is performed for those on public or municipal water systems since Federal law requires regular testing and is available to you if you request it. Also, water testing may assist you to prove damage and obtain reimbursement if your water supply becomes contaminated from some specific pollution incident.

Depending upon where you live in an area where water impurities can come from artificial or natural sources. Testing you water for many contaminants can be very costly so you may wish to see if your neighbors have tested their water and what their problems were. Developing some ideas of what contaminants may be a problem will be more useful and less expensive in your water testing. Knowing the pH of your water will can tell you if your water is not corrosive and whether this acidity of your water may dissolving your pipes that may contain lead, or copper. Also you may wish to check for nitrates and total coliform bacteria. For example when plumbing is performed in your home there may be a chance that some bacteria is left in the piping. Also your water may even not have a “taste” or smell and this may be because some bacterial surface runoff may be fecal infiltration or some unprotected plumbing cross connection. Finally, if you intensive agriculture, road salting or other wastes in your area you may wish to check for total dissolved solids.

Choosing an independent laboratory is important since water treatment firms offer free tests for a few contaminants such as hardness and iron as a marketing tool. Also making sure you get the facts first before buying water treatment system is important. Many companies are very aggressive in marketing their products so being an informed consumer is in your interest.

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