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How to Test the Water Quality at Home (For Safe Drinking Water)

How to Test the Water Quality at Home (For Safe Drinking Water)

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A lot of people do not realize that the water in their house can very well be contaminated. In fact, there are plenty of people out there who believe that all water that comes through the pipes and faucets of a house simply has to be good, clean water, right? This is actually far from the truth.

If your water doesn’t look right in appearance, smells horrendous, doesn’t feel right in the mouth, or doesn’t taste good, there’s a decent chance that the water in your house is contaminated.

Thankfully, many places have solutions for fixing contaminated water. You simply have to know what your water is contaminated with in the first place.

There are two main choices that you have when it comes to getting your water tested. You can either choose to test the water yourself, which is less expensive, but less reliable, or you can get a specialized water lab to do the testing for you, which often takes more time and money away from you, but the result is more accurate.

What you choose is completely up to you, as there are benefits and downsides to each.

Why Should You Test the Water Quality Yourself?

There are many, many reasons why you might want to consider testing the quality of your water on your own, rather than relying on a specialized water lab to get the job done for you.

For some people, it might be a matter of price, as testing the water yourself is incredibly inexpensive. For other people, it’s a matter of trusting whether or not there is a real issue at hand, as a home water quality testing kit will be able to show you at least this much.

There are also people who are simply curious about the water and don’t want to pay the price of a water company to have the water tested solely for curiosity’s sake. No matter where you choose to get your water tested at, there is one thing that you should note first.

Because of the fact that home water tests aren’t always the most accurate, if you realize that it does confirm that there is something truly wrong with your water supply, you should always contact the water company then.

In a way, testing the quality of the water yourself is a way to run a preliminary check at little extra cost to you.

Where Can You Find Home Testing Kits?

Some people might be surprised to learn that home testing kits for water quality are actually quite common and quite inexpensive. More often than not, you will be able to find a few variants that are less than the cost of a take-out dinner without an issue.

There are a few things that you should note about these kits, as they cannot necessarily replace the expertise that a real company can offer.

For one, these kits aren’t always going to be the most reliable thing, nor will they test for all the possible contaminants that your water could have. This means that you could be getting a false positive on your water cleanliness test, in which case you should take it to a reliable water company.

You can rest assured, however, knowing that if there is a problem with your water, there’s a good chance that a simple water testing kit for home use will be able to tell you that there is a problem at hand.

This is good for deciding whether you are imagining the fact that the water tastes off, or if there really is something in your water supply.

Now that you know what to expect from your home testing kit, you should also get an idea of what some of the most common water contaminants are. Most of them will affect the way the water tastes or smells, but there are some that don’t, which you will need to watch out for.

What Are the Most Common Water Contaminants?

There are eight main types of contaminants that you can consider to be common, traditional, or expected in a dirty water supply.

Some of these will be fairly obvious when you consider the sight, smell, or taste of the water. Others, you might not be able to tell until you have already ingested the water and whatever contaminant was in it, is now inside of you.

Firstly, there are two types of bacteria that can dwell in a water supply system. The first kind of bacteria is known as a “nuisance,” because it doesn’t directly affect your health in any way, shape, or form.

Instead, these types of bacteria will release iron or sulfur, two other common contaminants that can make your water taste a little bit off.

There are also the harmful bacteria, which carry diseases that can heavily alter your quality of life. More often than not, these include diseases such as E. Coli, but they can include others such as fecal streptococci. These are very bad, and you need to get them out of your water as soon as you can.

Iron is a very, very common contaminant in the water that won’t necessarily hurt you or your family. It will simply make everything unpleasant for a while.

An iron contamination will usually make the water have a yellow or orange tint to it, can give the water properties to stain clothing, and will give the water a horribly bitter taste.

Manganese is also a common contaminant, and it can even make you concerned about the water in your house considering how it can make the water appear black or purple in appearance. It can also stain clothing and furniture, and it will have a similar bitter taste as iron does.

Luckily, it is more inconvenient than harmful, but you will still want to have an expert take care of it for you.

Sulfur is, unfortunately, another common contaminant that you will have to be wary of. However, it is very, very easy to spot, as the water coming from any faucet in the house will smell of rotten eggs.

Sulfur contamination can either be naturally occurring, meaning that it came from natural gasses and mineral deposits near the pipes, or it can be caused by one of the nuisance bacteria.

You may not think about it that much, but it is possible for your water to be too hard. This is because of a mineral known as calcium carbonate, or another form of salt.

While this can make everything taste a bit off, it is very easy to fix with a water softening system. The hard part is simply knowing that that’s what’s wrong with your water system.

The last two contaminants that your water can have are lead, which is something that is very, very dangerous if ingested, and sand. Sand/grit can come from faulty pipes and it is pretty easy to tell if your water system is not filtering this out, but this also means that it is equally as easy to fix.

Lead in the water can also be fixed by an experienced water company, but the trick is knowing that it’s the lead causing the problem, which is where the home testing kit can truly come in handy if you notice that your water tastes off at all. 

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