Do you receive your water from a municipal, community, or public water supply also known as city water?
Did you know that in the U.S. all public water supplies are required to test their water on a regular basis by the EPA and make the results available to you in a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR? This report is in effect a water quality report and lists minerals and chemicals found and treated for in your water.
You can search for your CCR by clicking here.
Even if you receive your water from a public water supply, you should still consider testing your drinking water for a variety of reasons, including:
If your home was built before 1986 or if you live in an older neighborhood you should test for Lead.
Lead problems in Flint Michigan, Chicago, Milwaukee, and other cities have raised this issue to the top of the list of drinking water concerns.
If you are experiencing routine gastrointestinal problems you may want to test for coliform bacteria.
Or if you suspect a broken pipe or just do not trust the results from your public water supply you may want to test your water for a variety of parameters.
If you only want to find out how hard your water is or other common contaminants such as chlorine consider a home do-it-yourself test kit!
A home kit can allow you to check your water hardness as well as the total dissolved solids and other parameters.
A chlorine test kit is good to have on hand if you are filtering chlorine from your water with activated carbon.
Depending on the size of the carbon filter and how much water you use eventually the carbon filter or loose carbon media bed will need to be replaced.
By periodically testing for chlorine you can spot when it starts to leak through chlorine and then arrange to change your filter.
If you want to test for bacteria, and other contaminants consider a multi-test DIY Kit. While most city water in the U.S and Canada is treated surface water (from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs) there are also many water systems that use groundwater.
Test for iron and manganese if you are trying to solve issues related to rust or black staining with a good multiple test kit. Also includes bacteria testing you can do yourself if you suspect you are on a system where there are coliform outbreaks.
A good place to start is by finding out how much copper you have in your water by using a home copper test kit. A high level of copper can mean the piping is corroding rapidly whereas a lower level may mean you have some time to address it before you have pipe failure and leaks.