Water Testing Advice
Normally on a private well or on a private spring water source, we need the following tests for most situations: iron, pH, TDS, and hardness. We offer these tests free of charge. We can also test for nitrates for free, which can indicate human or animal waste (such as fertilizer) in the drinking water supply. You will also need to know your flow rate to be sure we get the perfect sized filter. A flow rate test is easy to do yourself. It usually takes just a couple of minutes. You can find instructions for checking your flow rate here: How do I check my FLOW RATE
For other types of testing such as test kits you can use "On site" at your location; or for the types of testing that you need to send in such as Arsenic, Lead etc. Please click here: Lab Services
Who should test your city water or private well water
We recommend that you should never have someone who sells water treatment or water filtration equipment come into your home to test your water.
You should get an independent test from a laboratory, health department, local university, your municipal water provider or even the local pool supply company (who will usually test for free). If you simply can't find anyone independent to test your water locally we would be happy to test your water for FREE for the more common well water, spring water or city water tests. If you would like to send us a sample, simply give us a call and we will tell you what you need to do. It is simple and easy. In some cases, depending on what is in your water we may need you to send a container to put the water in for testing. In many cases that wont be necessary. Just call 1-800-684-0979. The following are some of the common tests we perform: pH, iron, TDS, nitrates and hardness. Just ask us if you need to test for something not on the list.
If you are on a municipal supply, you can simply call the number on your water bill and ask for basic water quality information. Compare the city's results with what the salesman told you. If the salesman told you a different hardness number for example, BEWARE it should be the same. We are always willing to test your water free of charge. Even though we are willing to test your water we are the first people to tell you to get an independent water test whenever possible. We are not trying to say anything bad about in-home sales people, but we get thousands of test results from in-home sales companies each year. When we do, there are usually only 2 or 3 tests that are actually truly accurate. All of the rest are wrong or inaccurate in one fashion or another. We find that when we get actual lab results from companies who do not sell water treatment equipment the results are usually quite accurate and dependable in comparison. Just remember that if you are on a private well, that the pH is important and should be tested as quickly as possible after drawing the sample. The pH can often change over time. Remember that if you simply can't find independent testing locally, we will certainly be happy to test your water FREE of charge, if you would like to send us a sample.
When you need a water treatment system or are looking to buy water filtration products water testing is a vital step in choosing the right system.
The importance of a water testis to know what contaminants are in your water so that you can treat it properly. If it needs treated, the flow rate is very important so that we can properly size any water filtration equipment that would be needed. Poor water quality has an effect on not only your drinking water, but on water used in a variety of household functions. Contaminated water used for cooking may affect your health, while an excess of certain minerals can hamper cleaning activities in your laundry or bathroom. So whether you are on a private well or city water supply, you should always have your water tested if any of the following occur:
* If you are buying a home and wish to test the safety and quality of the existing water supply - test for coliform bacteria, nitrate, lead, iron, hardness, pH, sulfate and total dissolved solids (TDS).
* If someone in your household is pregnant or nursing - test for nitrates, sodium, iron, pH, TDS and bacteria.
* If water stains plumbing fixtures and laundry - test for iron.
* If water has an objectionable taste or smell - test for pH, iron and TDS.
* If water appears cloudy, frothy or colored - test for iron and hardness.
* If water leaves scaly residue and soap scum, and cuts the cleaning action of soaps and detergents - test for hardness.
* If there are unexplained illnesses in the family - test for coliform bacteria, nitrate, lead, iron, hardness, pH, sulfate, TDS and other tests depending on potential sources of contamination.
* If household plumbing contains lead pipes, fittings or solder joints or shows signs of corrosion - test for pH.
* If you wish to monitor the efficiency and performance of home water treatment equipment - test for the specific water problem being treated upon installation, at regular intervals after installation, and if the water quality changes.
What to test for in your well
Where you live, or what you are living next to, can sometimes affect the quality of your water
Iron - Levels as low as 0.2 to 0.3 ppm will usually cause brown or reddish staining of laundry and plumbing fixtures. The presence of iron bacteria in water supplies will often cause these symptoms at even lower levels. MCL = 0.3 ppm.
pH - Intensity of the acid or alkaline condition of a solution. A pH of 7.5 - 8.5 is recommended.
Manganese - is seldom found alone in water, it is usually found in iron bearing water. The color black is often seen in some regard when manganese is present. MCL = 0.05 ppm.
Sulfur - The most obvious sign of a sulfur problem is thedistinctive "rotten egg" odor of hydrogen sulfide gas. As with odors caused by iron bacteria, the sulfur smell may only be noticeable when the water hasn't been run for several hours.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) - Solids refer to minerals, salts and metals dissolved in water. This includes anything present in the water other than pure water and suspended solids. MCL = 500 ppm.
Nitrate - are naturally found in many types of food. However, high levels of nitrates in drinking water can make you sick. Nitrates in your well water can come from animal waste, septic systems, wastewater, flooded sewers, water runoff, fertilizers and decaying plants. MCL = 10 ppm.
Hardness - can cause too much soap / detergent usage and scaling. Hardness is caused primarily by calcium and magnesium.
Sodium - The average intake of sodium from water is only a small fraction of that consumed in a normal diet. People suffering from certain medical conditions such as hypertension may require a sodium restricted diet, in which case the intake of sodium from drinking water could become significant. MCL = 150 ppm.
Chlorination - is the most common solution used for disinfection of water. Not all types of bacteria are harmful. Biological contamination has two forms, pathogenic (disease causing) and non-pathonegenic (non-disease causing). All water supplies should be tested for biological content prior to use and consumption.
Turbidity - refers to how clear the water is. The higher the amount of total suspended solids (TSS) in the water, the cloudier it appears and the turbidity levels are higher. It may be clay and silt from shoreline erosion, bottom sediments and organic debris from stream and wastewater discharge.
Arsenic - can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis, and blindness. It can also cause damage to the skin, circulatory problems, and increase the risk of cancer. MCL = .01 or .05 (depending on local standards for your area).
How often some tests should be done" You should check your well every spring to make sure there are no mechanical problems; test it once each year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, pH levels and mineral content. If you suspect other contaminants, you should test for those as well. It is best to test for these contaminants during the spring or summer following a rainy period. These tests should also be conducted after repairing or replacing an old well or pipes, and after installing a new well or pump. Every three years, test for sulfate, chloride, iron, manganese, lead and hardness. If a new baby is expected in the home, it is a good idea to test for nitrate in the early months of pregnancy, before bringing an infant home, and again during the first six months of the baby's life.