The water in your home comes from one of two sources; the public water system or private groundwater well. As a homeowner, you want to keep your family healthy and safe. If you suspect your water is contaminated or if you’re shopping for a water filtering system, you should first test your water at home.
Reasons to Test Your Water
Taste and Water Quality
Clean water does not have a strong flavor. Impurities such as iron, sulfate, chloride, and magnesium may be in your water source or plumbing fixtures. These elements are known to cause changes in the flavor of residential tap water. If you notice the taste of the water is different – if it has a metallic or chemical taste – this is an indication that you should test your water.
Sight and Water Quality
A visual examination can help you determine when to order a test. Discoloration such as brown or yellow water usually means there’s a problem. You may also notice staining in sinks and bathtubs. Limescale causes white spots or staining. A reddish-brown color typically indicates the presence of ferric hydroxides like iron, which is commonly found in well water. Iron is abundant in some groundwater and your home may have iron plumbing pipes.
If your water is light brown, amber, or yellow, this is often a sign of tannins, which are produced by decaying vegetable matter. This tea-colored water may stain your laundry and porcelain basins. Clean water is clear and colorless, with no visible particles or discoloration.
Test Your Water if You Notice a Strong Smell
Use your sense of smell to determine if it’s time to check the water quality. The odor can help determine what type of contamination is present. For example, the smell of rotten eggs is a sign of sulfur. You may notice a rusty or metallic smell when there’s iron present in the water. The type of contamination will help you decide what type of treatment is needed.
Other Reasons to Test Your Water at Home
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a comprehensive guide for home water testing. Their article provides over a dozen reasons why you should consider ordering a water quality test, along with advice for how often you should test your water. Call a local professional to request a test of your home’s drinking water.