Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's the Quality of Your Water? Here’s How to Test and Treat It

Homeowners should have an idea about their quality of water. There are DIY and professional testing methods and treatments available.

Basic Home Test Kits

Water quality test kits are sold at most hardware stores and swimming pool service companies. A typical set includes multiple strips that are soaked in water coming from a faucet. Test kits usually check for the most common parameters affecting water purity such as chlorine, iron, lead, and nitrates. The pH and hardness of water could also be checked. The results are easy to read based on the color changes of the wet strips. At Water.EPA.gov, the EPA provides resources about water quality standards.

Lab Tests

Only professional laboratories can test water for living contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Homeowners with private wells should have their water tested for giardia and cryptosporidium, two strains of aquatic parasites which cause gastrointestinal problems. If harmful microorganisms are detected, a UV filter must be installed in order to destroy them on contact. Local health departments may offer residents free water testing as a result of any spills and other incidences that cause contamination.

Solutions by Plumbing Companies

Based on water quality test results, a professional plumbing company like Plumb Perfect Ltd and others can install the appropriate filtration and softening systems. A softener is highly recommended for homes that have hard water, which is loaded with calcium and magnesium deposits that lead to scaling of fixtures. A whole house water filter eliminates all types of known contaminants and chemicals expect for microorganisms. Reverse osmosis, sediment and activated carbon technology are integrated into filtration systems that purify water before it's distributed throughout a home's supply lines. For shower heads and bathtub faucets, KDF filters are recommended to remove any traces of impurities that might remain in bathroom fixtures.

Point of Use Filtration

Sometimes, it's most cost effective to install point of use filters instead of whole house filtration systems. For example, ice and water dispensers in refrigerators can be equipped with carbon filters that deliver crispy and cool drinks. Similarly, the kitchen sink could be connected to a small faucet mounted filter or an under counter unit. Such filtration might be best recommended for water that is drunk or used to wash produce. Simple carbon filters eliminate the unpleasant characteristics of Chlorine and other natural metals like iron.

Homeowners have the right to demand water quality annual reports from utility companies. It's also a good idea to follow government safety standards about this issue.


About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

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