How to Test Water Quality

The quality of the water in your home matters. If your water is contaminated, you may face all sorts of health issues. What’s more, even the quality of the water in your shower or washing machine has a bearing. Hard water can be harsh on skin, hair, and clothing. As for the presence of contaminants in drinking water, many short and long-term health issues can arise.

For that reason, many people now fear that the quality of their drinking water may be below par. This article looks at how to test water quality and all the surrounding issues. In addition, we review some popular DIY water test kits to illustrate the use and benefits thereof.

First things first. You may wonder whether this is an issue for you at all. So, let’s begin by looking at signs of bad water quality.

How to Know When to Test Your Drinking Water

If you detect any of the above indicators, do a DIY water test or have your water tested at a professional laboratory.

  • checkSoaps don’t foam up
  • checkWater flows through lead pipes
  • checkRecurring digestive disorders
  • checkNeed for water softener
  • checkStained laundry
  • checkWater isn’t clear
  • checkBad smell or taste
  • checkHome is located near area of intensive farming
  • checkMining in the vicinity
  • checkGas drilling close-by
  • checkSmell of oil or gasoline
  • checkExcessively high radon levels
  • checkLandfill site nearby
  • checkSalty taste
  • checkPipes corrode quickly
  • checkWater treatment equipment isn’t as durable as expected

What Can Water Testing Undercover?

As a rule, water tests, regardless of whether it is a home test or professional test, will analyze the water to detect the presence of the following contaminants:

  • Bacteria, coliform
  • Metals: copper, manganese, iron, lead
  • Hardness
  • PH
  • Chloride, sodium, barium
  • Hazardous organic materials
  • Pesticides, nitrates
  • Detergents

Depending on how sophisticated the test is, some or all of the above are tested for, plus several other contaminants.

How to Test Water Quality

How to Test Water Quality

Water from Public Systems

In the US, most people get their water from public water mains. You may be aware of this as you have to pay water bills for your supply. If that is the case, the public water supplier is in charge of the quality of your water. By law, these companies need to inform you if they detect any contaminants, so they test the water on a regular basis.

What’s more, they send you a yearly water quality report. On it, you’ll find out everything you need to know about your water. While these procedures are usually satisfactory, you do have the option of getting your water tested in a laboratory or do a DIY water test, if you think the quality is inadequate.

Water from Private Supply

If you’re not connected to a public water supply system, you’re relying on a private well. In that case, the water quality is your concern as no one else will maintain quality levels. This means you need to establish a water testing routine and keep records in case issues arise.

Regular testing is essential. In addition, you need to test your water quality when the following circumstances arise:

  • Pregnancy in the household
  • New-born baby
  • Local chemical spill or other type of environmental pollution issue
  • Recurring illness
  • Bad taste or smell
  • Water is not clear
  • Laundry is stained

As a rule, you should test your water routinely, at least once a year. Make sure to test for nitrates, total dissolved solids, coliform, bacteria, and PH-levels.This is also why home water filters are so important. 

Check with Your Water Company

If your water comes from a public supply, ask your supplier for a report or special test.

DIY Water Test Kits 

If you’re wondering how to test water quality, you may like to find out about the many DIY water test kits. In fact, these tests can provide a convenient and easy way to find out about your water quality.

To introduce you to them, we’ve chosen three different home water test kits. After studying them, you’ll have a better idea of how to test water quality, what to test for, how to read the results and all other relevant issues.

Let’s look at three popular test kits:

Watersafe WS425W Well Water Test Kit

This is an easy-to-use [easyazon_link identifier=”B00028PDO8″ locale=”US” tag=”slehacins-20″]DIY Water Test Kit[/easyazon_link]. Although it may not give you completely accurate readings, you can still find out if any of the following are present:

  • checkBacteria
  • checkCopper
  • checkIron
  • checkNitrates
  • checkNitrites
  • checkPH
  • checkChlorine
  • checkHardness
  • checkPesticides
  • checkLead

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B00028PDO8″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”slehacins-20″ width=”295″]

Once you get the results, you can use the enclosed EPA guidelines to determine your water quality. Thanks to the instruction, you will know how to test water quality.

Furthermore, the tests determine whether your water is:

  • Safe to drink
  • Safe for showering
  • Safe for washing and cleaning

HM Digital TDS-EZ Water Quality TDS Tester

This digital water quality tester works along a different set of principles. Instead of testing for specific substances, it gives you a TDS (total dissolved solids) reading. The lower the reading, the better the quality of your water.

Within minutes, you can take a reading from the small screen and find out whether your water is safe to drink.

Nonetheless, this test has several drawbacks. For starters, it does not test for biological contaminants. What’s more, the readings depend on the water temperature. This means that the same water will produce varying results depending on the temperature.

To counter such discrepancies, the manufacturers have developed a similar test kit which incorporates a temperature compensation circuit.

Although this test gives you some idea of your water quality quickly and accurately, the temperature factor, as well as its substance testing limitations, mean that you won’t get a full quality assessment.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B002C0A7ZY” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”slehacins-20″ width=”500″]

Digital Aid Professional TDS, EC & Temperature Meter

This is another TDS meter, however, this one is temperature-controlled. In addition, it measures the water’s electric conductivity, which ideally should be less than 20 µs/cm. Again, it will tell you whether your water is of adequate quality.

In addition, it records values, so you can establish a water quality record. As the results are accurate, and you can reuse it time and time again, this is a good value option.

Like with the previous kit, you’ll have to go to the local laboratory to test for specific substances.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”421″ identifier=”B00HAKAFGC” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”slehacins-20″ width=”500″]

Get it Tested by a Laboratory

While all the DIY test kits will tell you whether your water is safe to drink or not, the information provided has its limits. For a more complete and accurate picture, you need to bring a water sample to a laboratory. There, they will test for all the possible contaminants and give you detailed report.

It comes as no surprise that this is a much costlier option. However, if you’re worried, you may like to spend a little more the get an in-depth look into your water quality.

The quality of your water can have such a big impact on your health that testing it at regular intervals is a must, especially if you’re getting it from a private source. While the DIY kits provide you with the tools to determine the safety of your water, only a laboratory report will deliver all the details in complete accuracy.

How to Test Water Quality

1 thought on “How to Test Water Quality”

  1. I’m glad you mentioned that you should have your water tested if you notice a metallic or otherwise unusual taste. Ever since I moved into my new house last week, I have noticed that the tap water tastes a bit odd and has a metallic aftertaste. I will look into having the water tested to make sure it won’t have a negative impact on my health.


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