Everything You Need to Know About Testing Your Water Quality

Everything You Need to Know About Testing Your Water Quality

January 20, 2022

If you get water from a municipal source, it’s consistently tested at the source. However, as water moves through aging infrastructure, it can pick up contaminants as it travels to your home. You should be testing water for quality regularly, as harmful bacteria and minerals could be hazardous to your family’s health.

How should you test, and what should you look for? Here are some of the water testing basics you need to know.

When to test your water

You really should be testing your water as often as possible since you never know when your water quality could change. Here are some of situations that necessitate water testing:

  • Changes in color, taste or odor
  • When you move into a new home
  • Your family is growing
  • Someone in your household experiences unexplained gastrointestinal illness after drinking your water

When it comes to water testing basics for well owners, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends yearly testing for bacteria and nitrates. Other contaminants, like iron or hardness, usually only need to be tested once.

What to look for in a water test

When choosing a water-testing kit, make sure you’re selecting the right option for the type of water supply you have, e.g., city water or well water. Most water-testing kits look for common contaminants based on the water source. If you get your water from municipal sources, testing kits will look for chlorine, fluoride and other treatment byproducts. If your water comes from a well, a test should look for bacteria, metals, nitrates and other contaminants you’d commonly find in groundwater.

What can a water test detect?

While you can conduct a test at home and send it off to the lab, it’s often better to work with water treatment professionals who perform routine testing for water quality. A typical water test can report any of the following issues:

  • Total coliform (e., bacteria): This test is extremely important, since it looks for disease-causing organisms that can be harmful to your health. While it’s impossible to test for all bacteria that could be in your water, total coliform tests look for indicator bacteria to give you an overview of how sanitary your water is.
  • Chlorine: Municipal water is treated with chlorine to remove diseases, but there can be residual chlorine in your water supply. Not only is this unappealing in terms of taste, but it also can be hazardous to your health.
  • Nitrates/nitrites: Naturally-occurring oxygen compounds in water can be dangerous at high levels. Make sure your nitrate level is under 10 parts per million (ppm); nitrate levels should be under 1 ppm.
  • Hardness: You might already see the signs of hard water as a white residue on your plumbing, but many tests can determine the hardness of your water. Investing in a water softener treatment can take care of the issue.

Testing water for quality is the first step you should take if you want to ensure you maintain safe, clean water for you and your family. Contact Royal Water Works, Inc. to schedule your water test. If a problem is detected from testing, we’ll develop a treatment plan to restore cleanliness to your water supply.

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