As many as 9 to 45 million people in the US drink potentially unsafe water. Such water comes from community utilities with at least one health-related violation.
That’s a good enough reason to invest in a water filtration system for your home. However, it’s a good idea to determine what’s in your tap water first so that you can buy the right filter.
Fortunately, there are several ways to test water quality in US homes. We listed the top ones in this guide, so be sure to read on.
Drinking-Water Test Strips
These are single-use strips that change color based on a chemical reaction. They react with what’s in the water sample, such as free and total chlorine or minerals. Most of these strips can also test the water’s pH level, acidity, or alkalinity.
Water testing strips come with a chart listing the colors that the strips can change into. The user can then check the list to identify which contaminant the color pertains to.
These strips are easy to use, but that’s also why they can only test few water quality parameters. Still, they may be enough if you only need to test for hardness before you pay for your water softener rental cost.
Comprehensive Water Analysis Test Kits
These kits test for a wider range of water contaminants, such as heavy metals and pathogens. For example, they can test for arsenic, lead, total coliform bacteria, and viruses. Many also provide accurate readings for chlorine, chloramine, nitrates, and nitrites.
All in all, these kits can determine the presence of way more contaminants than strips. These include many of the 90+ EPA-regulated contaminants, such as E.coli and Salmonella.
Keep in mind, however, that a water quality test kit is pricier than regular testing strips. It can cost a few hundred dollars, but its wider scope and greater accuracy can make up for its higher cost.
Environmental Protection Agency- or State-Certified Laboratory Testing
In the US, laboratories that test drinking water must have EPA or state certification. Certified labs have had their water assessment methods approved by the EPA or the state. This ensures that the labs provide the most accurate water quality test results.
Depending on the lab you work with, they may ship you a professional water test kit. The kit comes with a sampling device and instructions on how to take the samples. You then need to ship the samples to the laboratory within a certain period.
From there, the lab tests the water from their high-tech facility. You’ll then get news about your water quality within a few days, sometimes, a couple of weeks.
In some cases, a lab may send a certified testing professional to your home. The pro then tests your water using digital instruments. Some results may come back early, while others may still take a few days.
Either way, professional lab testing is the most expensive of all ways to test your water quality. However, the in-depth analysis gives you the clearest picture of how good or bad your water quality is. Besides, knowing everything that’s in your water can help you choose quality filters.
Test Water Quality to Prevent Waterborne Illnesses
Please note that at least seven million waterborne illnesses occur in the US each year. That’s why it’s so important to test water quality, as it’s one of the best ways to know if your tap water is safe to drink.
So, have the water in your home tested as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you can buy the right type of filter to make it safer and healthier.
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