Water testing is commonly done by homeowners who have wells on their property, but it can also be performed for those who have city-supplied water. You may know that your water needs testing by how it looks or smells, but may also wonder about why it should be tested at other times and what to do with those test results. Note some commonly asked questions many homeowners have about water testing and then you can decide if this is what you need.
1. What should water be tested for?
Many homeowners have the mistaken idea that a lab can simply put water through some type of machine and it will then tell them everything in the water. However, this isn't the case; labs have to test for certain contaminants and other additives that may be present in the water in particular.
You should choose testing according to any high-risk factors in your area; for example, if your home is on farmland, there may be certain bacteria present due to animal waste. If your home is near a manufacturing facility or production area, you may be at higher risk for having lead or other heavy metals in your water. A water testing lab can often tell you the risks to your water based on your area and in turn, you can decide on the best testing.
2. What about free water tests given with the sale of a filtration system?
Some companies that sell filtration systems may be very honest about the quality of your water, but as with anything else you're thinking of buying, it's good to be wary of what's offered for free. You don't want to fall prey to a filtration system salesperson that says your water is full of certain contaminants when it's actually very safe. Paying for a water test from an accredited lab you trust can be the better choice, and then you can decide on a filtration system based on those results.
3. If a lab finds contaminants, is the water unsafe?
If your water has been tested and has been found to have certain contaminants, be sure you note the safe levels of those contaminants before you panic. All water, even fresh water, will have microscopic traces of certain elements including bacteria, lead, and the like. Very minute, microscopic levels of these can be easily ingested by the body without risk. When you get back a lab report, check the safe levels of anything listed on that report and ask the lab for more information about your water, if you need a stronger filter, if the water is safe for drinking, and the like.