Before deciding to take action, you need to make sure that your drinking water is indeed unsafe. It can be done in a many ways, but a few of them are the most reliable ones. Getting rid of hard water, scale, and annoying stains is an exhausting challenge, but it is well worth the effort. Once you eliminate unprocessed minerals from your plumbing system, your appliances will work for longer, your hair will become smoother, clothes will become softer, and you’ll see a dose of general improvement all around the household.
Call Your Water Company
The first step in the process is to call your water company and ask about the toxicity levels of the water you’re drinking. Supply companies in the United States are required to issue an annual report called Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). You can see the levels of contaminates in that report and react accordingly. This report is usually issued in July along with the bill. However, you can request a copy whenever you have doubts about the water quality in your household. Although this step usually doesn’t help much, it’s the simplest and easiest one.
Check the EPA Charts
EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency, and they have a testing program which includes more than 18 states across the US. Their massive database can help you with your issue by providing toxicity reports. You can also get an insight into the actions taken by the state, reported health hazards, and much more. On the other hand, if you’re getting your water from a community agency, this step isn’t that useful. To use this program, all you have to do is enter the name of your county and your system’s number. After that, you’ll get a full report with a lot of useful information.
Check With the National Drinking Water Database
This agency can also verify the existence of harmful elements in your drinking water. The NDWD issues reports about the chemicals that exceed legal limits. These data help a lot if you want to check the PBB (parts per billion) number. If the number is low – it’s a good sign that your water is safe and harmless.
The State-Certified Laboratory
If you think that the supply company is biased, unreliable, or untruthful, you have one more solution. Call a certified laboratory and ask for a test. Even though you have to pay a fee, it’s worth every penny. These labs issue more detailed reports than any other, and that’s what makes them viable and trustworthy.
Check For Unusual Smells
The best way to test your drinking water is to inspect it visually because we all know how regular water looks like. If you notice any difference in smell or color, it’s a good indicator that it might be contaminated. For example, sulfur is a natural element that can be found deep in the ground. If you notice a particularly unusual smell (something like rotten eggs), it means that your pipes have a leak somewhere and sulfur has found its way into the system. Although it’s a pretty harmless element, large quantities of it lead to dehydration and stomach ache.
Chlorine is another potentially dangerous element. While it’s used in swimming pools to kill bacteria, excess amounts of it can be toxic to humans. The most important thing about chlorine is to keep it in reasonable and allowed levels.
If you notice any unusual particles or elements in your glass, don’t drink the water. Since it’s usually drawn from the ground, it tends to “pick up” various sediments along the way. However, your supplying company has mechanisms which prevent this from happening. So, if you notice any irregularities, it can be an indication that you have a rupture in your household plumbing. Call a professional and solve the issue as soon as possible.
Check Your Dishes And Silverware
When hard water dries, it leaves stains and scale. The easiest way to find out whether you have excess minerals in the plumbing is to check your silverware, dishes, mirrors, or any flat and shiny surfaces. If you notice any stains, it’s a good indicator that you have hard water. There is a way of dealing with it if you aren’t able to purchase a softener. Pour a solution of vinegar and water into a spraying bottle and apply it. Wait for a couple of seconds and wipe it off. The stains should disappear. However, vinegar won’t prevent this occurrence, that’s a job for a softener.
Get Informed About Specific Contaminants
Knowledge is your most powerful weapon. If you can’t comprehend the toxicity of particular elements, testing is in vain. You can’t benefit from the test results if you don’t know how to compare, read, and tweak the values. If you learn the basic properties of different contaminants, you will be able to judge whether they are unfavorable for your well-being.
Commercial Test Kits
It may not be the perfect method, but it’s still worth mentioning. There are a bunch of commercial tests available in almost any store. The best thing about these kits is that they are all affordable and accessible. Any DIY-er can conduct an analysis within seconds thanks to these useful products. The two most popular test kits are PurTest and Discover Testing. While they can’t test for every possible contaminant, they can detect pesticides, lead, bacteria, and more.
Send a Sample To a Lab
If you can’t find a testing kit, or you’re unable to conduct an analysis, don’t hesitate to send a sample to a laboratory. Apart from being full of viable experts, a lab can offer a better insight into the harmfulness of particular elements. In simpler words, the most detailed reports get issued by private labs. Also, if you never tested your water, sending a sample to the lab is the recommended first step. Once you get the full information about the contamination levels, the next step is much easier.