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How to choose a home water test kit?

How to choose a home water test kit?

What is in my water? Is it safe to drink? Now you have the option to check some basic water parameters yourself with simple and affordable tests.

pH. 

The level of pH will determine whether your water is pH neutral (pH of 7), acidic (less than 7) or basic (above 7). The more away from 7 you are the more acidic or basic your water. If your water is below 6.5, water can become mildly corrosive to metal plumbing. This can result in increased levels of metals present in your water. If your water is too basic – above 8.5 – water tends to leave deposits on fixtures especially if the hardness level is also high.

 

Total Hardness. 

There are no known health risks associated with hardness or lack of hardness in water. So be it hard water or soft – you can still drink it without worry. However, hardness can become an inconvenience in your household as “Hard” water that is above 120 ppm can cause mineral build-up on fixtures, washing machine, tea kettle and dishwasher causing their performance issues. Hard water can also lead to poor soap performance of any kind (causing you to use more soap). The harder the water the more noticeable the issues. Soft water below 80 ppm can form suds with soap easily. And soft water below 40 ppm may cause leaching from copper, iron or lead plumbing.

 

Free Chlorine. 

If you or your municipality is using Free Chlorine to prevent bacteria and algae growth in the water supply then making sure you have residual free chlorine left at the end of your tap is safety measure to be assured that there was enough of Free Chlorine to kill any bacteria and viruses on its way to you. Only excess Free Chlorine levels will be affecting the taste and smell of the water.

 

Iron.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron can get in water in two ways.

 First - the natural way – through seeping in the ground. This will be determined mostly by where you live. If you live in an area that is known to be rich in iron – you will most likely have it in your well or your city water unless it has been removed by an iron removal plant.

  Second is through plumbing. If your water is corrosive (see pH, Hardness and Alkalinity) and if the water is passing through iron pipes or fixtures on its way to you – you may also have some iron in your water. Red-brown rusty stains on your bathtub, sink and other places can be an indication of increased iron levels. Whatever the case, make sure you test your iron level on a fresh drawn sample.

 

Copper. 

Copper is typically not found in city water. The major source of copper in drinking water is corrosion of household pipes, fixtures and faucets. Blue-green stains on plumbing fixtures, sinks and bathtubs may indicate copper is present.

 

Nitrate/Nitrite.

Nitrate and Nitrite fin their way into drinking water from farm fertilizer, industrial and biological waste and natural forming mineral deposits. Their presence can often be a sign of other pollutants in the water. Nitrate levels above 10 ppm (as N or 50 ppm as NO3) are linked to “blue baby syndrome” in infants. Nitrite levels above 1 ppm (as N or 3 ppm as NO2) can be an indication that bacteria is present. If you live near a farm or your country house has an outhouse and a well – make sure there is no contamination coming in your water source.

 

Alkalinity.

Alkalinity is the level of carbonates and bicarbonates. The level of Alkalinity refers to the ability of the water to resist a change in pH. Water with low levels – less than 80 ppm is more likely to be corrosive. While levels greater than 180 ppm may contribute to scaling.

 

Bacteria.

Be sure there are no Coliform Bacteria in your water source. This can happen if you live near a farm or there is some other way Coliforms are getting in your water. We have a simple non-technical presence/absence test that is US EPA compliant for drinking water testing. Meaning – if the test is negative, then the water is safe and no coliform bacteria is present.

 

Chloride. 

If you are using a water softener to soften your water if the hardness levels are too high, sometimes this can lead to increased chloride levels. Basically, your water becomes salty and can even taste like mineral water. Excess levels of chloride are not good for human consumption and should be treated before drinking.

 

Hydrogen Sulfide. 

Excess levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) will have a ‘rotten egg smell’ and usually occur naturally in wells dug in swampy areas. Can also occur in untreated city water. Hydrogen sulfide is very toxic and shouldn’t be consumed. Make sure you filter or treat your water if you have any hydrogen sulfide present.

We would like to point out 3 test kits that are most popular to help you choose: 

 

1. Safe Tap Check.

As the name suggests this kit is designed for city water with most commonly occurring elements to test for in municipal water:

  • Total Hardness
  • pH
  • Free Chlorine
  • Copper
 

2.Safe Well Check. 

This kit is designed for the well owner with most commonly occurring elements to test for in your well or borehole:

  • Total Hardness
  • pH
  • Total Alkalinity
  • Iron
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
 

3.Complete Home Water Quality Test kit.

This one has all of the above and more. The comprehensive choice of many people who would like to get the full picture. Includes 13 parameters:

  • Coliform Bacteria
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Total Hardness
  • Total Alkalinity
  • Total Chlorine
  • Free Chlorine
  • Chloride
  • Copper
  • Sulfate
  • Iron
  • pH

Still not sure which one to choose? Please feel free to browse through our home test kit section for all the tests available or get in touch with us.

Next article What is LSI (The Langelier Saturation Index)?