Testing and Correcting Your Water

comments (5) October 8th, 2015

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jgthegardener jgthegardener, member
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Whether you live in the city or country, a high-rise or a homestead, the quality of your water touches almost every aspect of your life. You bathe in it. You drink it. You use it to clean your food, clothes and home. If your water is contaminated, you're putting yourself and your family at risk of serious health problems.

It's not just well water that poses a potential threat. Even city water that is treated with chlorine can still contain harmful chemicals and bacteria. To be sure about your water quality, it's best to test it for chemicals, bacteria and trace elements that can be harmful to your health.

Once you know what you're up against, you can treat the problem effectively and enjoy safe, clean drinking water in your home.

How to Test The Water in Your Home

Most municipal water sources are required by law to be tested for contaminants annually, so it's easiest to check the EPA's website for information about your community's water.

If you're still concerned about the taste or smell of your water even though city tests look good, call your water supplier and ask for them to test the water that comes out of your faucet. A lot can happen between the city's water treatment plant and your tap, so it's worth a look if you're concerned. Many water suppliers will do this for free.

If you have a well, or if your water utility can't test your taps in a timely manner, you can also purchase a water testing kit on your own from the hardware store. A complete kit will include paper strips and test tubes that you use to test your water for a variety of potential contaminants, including heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides and chlorine levels. Kits are easy to use, and all you need to do is match the color your water turns in the test tube to a card that explains what the color means.

Though the kits aren't as accurate as a professional test, they will let you know a ballpark range for each contaminant. If you do find that your water is contaminated, your next step is to treat it.

Treating City Water

If your home test reveals contaminants, you must call your water provider back to confirm the test results. If contaminant levels are at dangerous levels, your local water supplier is required by law to address the issue.

If your water has a metallic taste, sulfur smell or other minor issue, you can treat the problem yourself with the help of a water treatment specialist. These professionals can help you decide whether you should consider a whole-house filtration system that cleans water as it enters your home through the water main, or if you'd be better off using a faucet-filter to remove any odd flavors from your drinking water. Activated carbon filters, ultraviolet light and reverse osmosis are just some of the systems available to treat less-than-optimal city water.   

Treating Well Water

If your water comes from a private well, you will need to test and treat your water quality issues on your own. Because your water is not routinely tested by a government agency or overseen by the EPA, it's important to test your water annually, typically in the spring, for a variety of contaminants.

If your well water tests positive for bacteria, it must be disinfected. You can hire a professional to do this or you can tackle the problem yourself with some chlorine much as you would adjust a swimming pool's chemical levels. To do this safely, you will need to know the size and depth of your well, so you may need to consult a professional for help the first time out.

Other well water issues can be solved by adding a filter to the point of entry at your house. These filtration systems can help control excess manganese, iron and sulfur and even eliminate grittiness if sand or other particulates have infiltrated your well.

A whole-house filtration system will protect your clothes from damage in the laundry and improve your drinking water. If flavor is your only concern, a faucet filtration system will be a more economical solution.

Just about any problem with your drinking water can be solved, but prompt, accurate diagnosis of the issue is key. Cleaning your water will protect your family from potential disease, and the right system can keep you happy with the flavor and smell of your tap water. Keeping excess metals out of your water can also protect your belongings, keeping your clothes and surfaces from being stained by contaminated water with a mineral imbalance.


Whatever your situation, testing and treating your water will improve your family's quality of life in the long run.

posted in: Water, water quality, testing your water

Comments (5)

MaxDawson writes: Awesome work
Posted: 3:50 am on April 1st
JisMine writes: I like your effort
Posted: 5:04 am on March 31st
ryanpowell writes: really too good
Posted: 12:53 am on January 12th
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Posted: 2:01 am on January 11th
curlypaneser writes: thanks very nice post..
Posted: 1:43 am on October 27th
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