Home water quality is extremely important and needs to be closely monitored to ensure the health and safety of you and your family. Although local water utilities are legally required to test their water and disclose the results, some contaminants can slip through the cracks.
Testing your own water quality is a great way to achieve peace of mind, but you should never rely on home water testing results as the final word on your water safety. Believe it or not, there are many hidden dangers of home water testing kits. When shopping for water testing kits, you’re likely to run into a lot of claims about what each kit can do for you. Before you buy, however, read on to learn about some of the dangers of home water testing kits.
Should I Test My Own Water?
Water utility companies are required to test their water and report their findings in consumer confidence reports. Their tests are not infallible, however, and it is possible for contaminants to slip through the cracks.
Certain areas are more likely to need extra monitoring, as well. For example, if you live in the middle of the city and rely on the city to provide your water, that water is likely very closely monitored. If you live in a more rural area and/or rely on a well for your water, it could be a good idea to test your water more frequently.
It’s very important to keep the water in your home as clean and safe as possible. Considering all the different ways with which you use your water— from cooking to drinking to washing— your health could depend on how clean it is! Many people don’t consider the quality of the water they consume, but according to a report from 2018, up to 45 million Americans have consumed water that violates health quality conditions since 1982.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the water in your home. You don’t need to perform water testing each week by any means, but you should keep a water testing kit on hand in case you notice that your water:
- Is cloudy in appearance
- Has acquired a funny taste
- Has a strange odor
- Is staining your clothing or plumbing fixtures
You should also consider using a water testing kit if you’ve been experiencing gastro-intestinal issues consistently, or if your soaps or detergents are no longer lathering.
Types of Water Testing Kits
There are many types of water testing kits, and some are more reliable than others.
Water Testing Strips
These test stops are chemically treated and claim to change color when they’re submerged in contaminated water. A lot of these kits will claim that they test to the standards of the EPA, this wording is designed to trick you. These water testing kits are neither tested or promoted by the EPA.
Additionally, it’s challenging to get a clear idea of just how accurate these tests are. If you’re interested in finding out more about your water’s hardness or pH levels these tests are sufficient, but should never be used to find the presence of harmful contaminants.
Digital Water Testers
These digital water testers are a step up from the simple test strips but are not reliable at determining water safety. These devices are helpful if you’re interested in learning how the calcium or magnesium levels change in your water but aren’t good indicators of lead or other contaminants. The dissolved solids that these digital water testers measure are unlikely to affect anything more than your water’s taste.
Send-to-Lab Water Testing Kits
Experts agree that these tests are the best option for at-home water testing. These kits come equipped with everything you need to sample, secure, and ship your water off to a lab for professional testing. This type of at-home test is the best choice for discovering the presence of contaminants that could harm your health.
Well Water Testing Kits
If you rely on a private well for your water, it’s especially important to keep an eye on contaminant levels. The EPA does not regulate private wells the same way it regulates water utility companies, and therefore some of the responsibility falls on the homeowner to check and maintain healthy water standards.
There are many kinds of well water testing kits available. Some deliver instant results and others require you to send water samples to a lab. For best results, you may want to perform one of each every so often.
FHA Water Test
When buying or selling your home, you may be told that you must perform an FHA water test. This is especially likely if the home in question is served by a private well.
The FHA— which stands for Federal Housing Administration— is an organization that provides mortgage insurance on loans that are given out by FHA-approved lenders throughout the U.S. In order to protect themselves, the buyer, and the lender, they require a number of home quality and safety tests in order to minimize costly safety risks that might otherwise go unnoticed.
These water tests look for three specific contaminants:
- Total Coliform
- Total Nitrates & Nitrites
In order to pass the test, the levels of all three must fall below a certain threshold.
If you’ve been told that you need to perform an FHA water test, don’t worry. These tests are quite common and easy to find and perform.
Is There Water Testing Available Near Me?
If you’re concerned with the safety or quality of your water at home, you’re probably wondering if water testing is available near you. Performing a water quality test is a great solution. It’s especially important to test your water quality if you live on a property with water supplied by a private well.
Whether you decide to perform an at-home test yourself or prefer a more reliable, professional testing service conducted by a home inspection company, performing water testing is crucial to protecting yourself and your family.
If you’re looking for “water testing near me“, look no further than ARTI Home Inspections. We offer full spectrum water testing, and can help tailor testing to your personal or real estate needs.
Contact us today for more information.