Why You Should Test Your Drinking Water
It may look, feel, smell, and even taste fine. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Although it’s unlikely that your tap water is as contaminated as terrifying news stories may lead you to believe, you want your water to be actively healthy – not just passable. And even if water is perfectly safe to drink, it may cause health problems by affecting your home appliances or water system. All in all, the few minutes it takes to test your drinking water is a small price to pay for peace of mind. But, what exactly should you be measuring?
What’s the pH of your water?
Wednesday, April 19, 2014
We measure pH against the ideal pH of pure water – 7 on a scale from 0 to 14. But the safe pH for tap water has a little more wiggle room. It should be between 6.5 and 8.5. For details about how pH affects your health, check out our blog post on the basics of pH. (NOTE to Zach: Internal link here?)
Do you have hard water?
You may be familiar with the phrase “hard water.” This refers to water with traces of minerals like calcium and magnesium. “Soft water” means water that has no mineral deposits. Although this isn’t cause for major alarm, it’s helpful to know whether your water is hard or soft. Hard water may build up in your pipes, leading to erosion or other issues over time.
Does it have any contaminants?
While pH and calcium or magnesium content may be helpful to know, other contaminants are more vital to check for. Fuel and sewer system leaks, degrading water systems, and even some naturally occurring minerals can cause serious health concerns. Arsenic, for example, is tasteless and odorless, but causes cancer. It can seep in from industrial sources and fertilizers. Copper occurs naturally in soil, air, and water, but causes stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting if it’s present in too high a concentration. Lead may find its way into your water through the piping system you already have. It can damage your kidneys and brain, or cause high blood pressure.