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How to Test Water Quality at Home

One of the things you want to make sure is that your drinking water is safe for you and your family. To do this, there are a variety of testing methods that you can use. So let’s look at how you can test your water at home.

Decide What Water Source You’re Testing

The type of kit you’ll want to use is based on your water source. If you are testing the drinking water from your city, a basic one that will cover the common contaminants will do. if your home has a well, you’ll want one that is more comprehensive and screens for pesticides.

Choose the Method

Most of the test kits are made to be used just one time. It’s important to consider if you are going to follow up the testing with one using a professional laboratory. Since most of the test strips will give a range instead of specific numbers, the kits that have colored disks might be something to consider.

Figure Out What Contaminants You Want to Look For

The things that the kits test for will be an important measure of how well the results are going to help you. Various sources of water will likely have specific types of contaminants. An example would be well water – this often may have fertilizer or pesticides in it since the runoff coming from the nearby fields might bring those contaminants.

In general, though, it’s good to get a kit that tests for:

  • Bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Lead
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrates

In addition, finding out about your water’s pH levels and its general hardness also can be useful to counter things like smell or taste.

Calibrate the Test to the Standards of the EPA

Even though specific tests aren’t endorsed by the EPA, there are guidelines for the frequency that drinking water should be tested along with the risk factors which could cause contamination. If your water is through the city, the municipality often will have to publicly provide the results of testing each year to show that the drinking water is safe. If you have well water, there are simple to use contaminant tables to make it easy for you to check the results against those that are acceptable for safe water.

Make Sure the Results are Accurate

Even though a testing strip is simple to both use as well as read, it’s not cut and dry to get accurate results. If you’re interested in maximizing your testing kit’s accuracy, these tips should be followed:

  • Read the instructions carefully and thoroughly
  • Don’t open the strips until you are ready
  • First wash and dry your hands
  • Keep your timer handy
  • Test with cold water
  • Carefully pour

You also might want to consider getting another opinion, particularly if the test shows any really high levels. A lot of people start with inexpensive, basic kits and then follow up with a more thorough, professional lab reading when they’re worried about the results.