Whether your home water supply is from a municipal system or a well, it’s important to know how, how often, and for what you might need to test your water supply. For people on a public water supply, the municipality in control treats the water, provides reports and should be sending safe water to everyone on the system. We all might assume our water is fine and never think about a water test. What are the times or signals you should test your home’s water supply?
It’s possible to take for granted that all contaminants and unsafe matter will be out of the water. In some cases, though, other issues might pollute water or the public treatment system could be flawed.
You, or a technician you contact, can do water tests to know what’s truly in your home water. Thanks to current science and tech, we can identify chemicals, metals, bacteria, VOCs, viruses and more particulates in water. Methods for testing range from simple, at-home test kits to complex, high-tech devices.
How Often Should I Get a Water Test?
Most of the people in the U.S. use either a public water supply or well water. How can you check, and how often should you check, to know water is safe?
Tests on drinking water should be done at a minimum of once a year no matter the water source. Tap water should be tested for chlorine level, pH reading and bacteria. Well water should be tested for pesticides, chemicals and bacteria. For well or tap water, it should be tested once a year even if you aren’t sensing any contamination. There are water problems that will only be found in a test.
The chlorine level in water is important. It should be the right balance. Chlorine is an effective sterilizing agent for public water, but too much can cause bad tastes and odors and health disorders.
If you’re thinking your water has changed, has a dirty look or odd odor to it, it is a smart, valuable idea to test it.
Pour water into a clean glass. Let it sit for a few seconds and put the glass in a well-lit area. If it looks cloudy or overcast, this is an indication of a potential problem with the water supply. This is a sign of needing a water test. You can start with an at-home test kit, then call a professional based on those results or if you feel more testing is necessary. While clean, safe water can and should have minerals in it, water should not look gritty or cloudy.
Water from a municipal supply or well should be 100 percent clear. If it has any other color or shading to it, such as a brown, yellow or orange tint, do not drink it. It needs to be tested and remedied as soon as possible. Discolored water is a sign of contamination. This could be from metals, corroding parts in your system, bacteria or other harmful particulates.
The Rotten Egg Smell
Sulfur in water is apparent through the familiar rotten egg smell. A water supply might have a slight amount of sulfur in it normally, but a high level is nasty and more vital, a health hazard. Anything which rises to the level of something you can smell is a definite problem. Consuming water with too much sulfur in it causes dehydration and internal organ problems. If you believe there’s sulfur in your water, it should be tested for sulfur and other microbes.
It’s fine if pool water smells like pool water. Water in your home, for drinking, cooking and cleaning, should not smell like pool water. Chlorine is often used for sanitizing a public water supply and it’s safe in the right levels. In the wrong levels, it’s toxic to consume. It’s always a good idea to know your water’s chlorine level. If you can smell or taste it, it’s a warning to take seriously and check.
Your Water Might Be Making You Ill
If you’re having symptoms of illness and think it may be your home’s water, or don’t know what else is causing these issues, it’s a good idea to test your water. Again, some water contaminants are not able to be sensed through smell, taste or sight.
You should go see a medical professional along with getting assistance with your water. Making sure your water is safe and clean will help you and everyone in your home. If it checks out fine, at least you can rule it out.
Three Reasons to Test Water Yearly
- Ground water or any water supply can change over time. With well water, bacteria or pollutants can enter the water after having never been there before.
- If the water treatment system you have is the municipal system, a system just for your property, or a combination, you should check it regularly and a water test is part of knowing if it’s working correctly.
- Testing on a regular basis gives you an ongoing record of your water quality. If a new result is inconsistent, then you can take action.
Reasons to Test Water More Often
In some circumstances or if you’re seeing other signs, you might need to watch the water in your home closer and test it more often. It’s recommended to test water two or more times a year, or take action ASAP, if you notice:
- A change in smell, taste or visibility in the water
- Discolored or odorous laundry
- If someone in the house is pregnant
- If you know of a spill, accident or issue involving oil, chemicals, pesticides or similar contents on your land or a nearby property or land
- If there’s been construction or major land work done nearby
- A septic system malfunction or leak
- Unexplained health problems in your house
- A natural disaster or major weather disaster
South End Water Filtration specializes in HALO Water Filter products including the HALO H2 Zero Whole Home Water Filter. HALO systems solve hard water problems, give your family clear, great-tasting water and are totally maintenance free. We’re just a click away to help and answer any questions. South End Plumbing and South End Water Filtration will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-486-1988 or contact us online to schedule a visit.