How to test if your water is drinkable
Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right that many of us in developed countries take for granted. But that doesn’t mean the water coming from our taps is always going to be 100% safe. Yes, it’s unlikely to cause any immediate damage but if you continue to drink bad water over time it can have a cumulative effect on your health.
So, here we’ll be taking you through the steps you should be taking to ensure your drinking water is 100% safe to drink at all times.
Check for cloudiness – Clean water should be completely transparent. If it’s cloudily and difficult to see through then it could be contaminated with something harmful. Try washing the glass out and running the tap again and if you get the same result, you might have a problem.
Wash your hands – It might sound a little strange but if you wash your hands with soapy water and you notice a slimy residue on your hands afterwards, you could be dealing with exceptionally hard water. This is because the magnesium, aluminium and calcium minerals in the water stick to the soap and leave a trace when washed.
If it’s brown, flush it down – Orange, yellow, or brown water could have a potentially devastating impact on your health. Yellow water could mean it contains a dangerous chemical and brown water could mean many things (no, not sewage unless your water company made a really serious mistake) such as rust buildup on your pipes or excess lead in the water. Either way, it’s not going to be the best for your insides. Green or blue water, meanwhile, could mean elevated levels of copper.
Give it a good smell – Small amounts of chlorine might be added to water to kill germs but it can also mix with organic compounds to create harmful by-products that can lead to everything from irritated skin to cancer. If your water smells a little like bleach or like a swimming pool then it’s probably overly chlorinated. If it smells like rotten eggs, meanwhile, there could be hydrogen sulphide in the water which often occurs naturally in groundwater.
Taste it – This might seem a little like we’re stating the obvious but the last (and arguably most important) test should always be the taste test. A metallic taste could mean there’s excess copper in the pipes or it could even be lead. Sometimes, however, it’s just a sign of a low pH level.
What should I do if my water isn’t drinkable?
The good news is that a water filter will remove the vast majority of contaminants and bacteria responsible for almost all of the above problems. Excessive carbon and chemical additives are removed by a carbon-based filter. A water softener, meanwhile, can be fitted directly to your main water supply and uses a specialised salt system to remove contaminants. Either way, you’ll end up with water you’ll be happy to offer to your whole family with zero reservations.
If you’re still not sure you can order a water testing kit that should be able to tell you exactly how safe your water is. If filtration doesn’t solve your problem, your first port of call should be your local water company. If they can’t offer any answers, you might need to call in a plumber.