How good is the water in your home? Is it clean? Does it contain contaminants like bacteria or fertilizers or metals like iron or lead? Is your water hard?
Since we drink water, cook with it, and bathe in it, we do need to be aware of what is in the water in our homes for our own safety. Here we will talk about water testing and the steps you as a homeowner can take to ensure your water is purified and safe to drink.
If you do not know what is in your water, the first step you need to take is to locate a copy of your water quality report from your local water utility. If you live in a city, the contact information should be on the city's website. If you live in a rural area and have a private well, you should consider having your water tested. Call the nearest town and ask for a recommendation of a local, independent lab. Farm runoff in agricultural areas can significantly compromise the potability of well water and make it unsafe to drink, so you should test your well water regularly.
Once you know what's in your water, you have decisions to make. Different purification systems will treat water in different ways.
There are many ways to filter or treat water, but they break down into two types of systems:
- Point-of-use systems treat water where it is used. They range from low-tech water pitchers to faucet filters and reverse osmosis systems. Reverse osmosis systems force water molecules through a fine membrane, filtering out contaminants like salt, nitrates, and dissolved minerals and flushing them away.
- Point-of-entry systems, or whole-house systems, treat the water at the source where it enters the house -- either the water meter for city water or the pressurized storage tank for well water. This means all of the water from every tap will be treated. These systems typically include UV microbiological systems, water softeners, and filters for chlorine, taste, and odor.
In some cases, more than one type of water treatment system may be desirable or necessary. In other cases, simple, inexpensive solutions may work just fine for certain areas of the home.
Another factor that can affect water quality is old galvanized piping. In houses that were built before 1950, the original piping was galvanized steel which corrodes over time. This can cause a number of problems for homeowners. To solve the problem, the piping must be replaced with PEX or copper piping.
PEX is plastic piping and has several advantages over copper piping. PEX piping costs about a third of the price of copper pipe, and PEX piping is faster for your plumber to install. Because it's easier and quicker to install, replacing galvanized pipe will be more affordable when your plumber uses PEX piping.
Another advantage is that PEX piping does not have to be soldered and it will not corrode over time like copper does. Corrosion is an issue for metal pipes in areas that have acidic water. Unlike copper pipe, PEX piping remains chemically stable over time. Both copper and PEX piping are superior to galvanized pipe, however, and will improve the water quality in your home.
Knowing what is in your water is very important for the health and safety of everyone in the home. Once you know what's in your water, we at Lake Michigan Mechanical can help by recommending and installing different systems to filter out what you do not want in your water so that it's safe to drink, easy on your skin, and doesn't smell or stain your sinks and bathtubs. If you need a water treatment system installed in your home, call us today! We are here to help.