It’s nice to be able to rely on tap water. Realistically, healthy drinking water is one thing that everybody should have easy access to, and most people in most countries in the Western world do.
In general, we are led to believe that an effort is made to ensure that tap water is well-treated and drinkable all across America. But it might not be quite as widespread as we’d think, and it’s not always easy to tell if you are actually getting the best quality water.
You don’t know anything about where it comes from or what happens to it on its journey to your house before it actually comes out of your faucet. Sometimes there can be contaminants present that it’s impossible for you to see.
And this is often because of factors that are entirely out of your control, such as the state of the mainline plumbing or issues with the initial treatment process. It can result in water which doesn’t taste great, or which can actually cause some health problems.
Let’s have a look at what causes bad water quality and what you can do to fix it:
Contributing Factors to Bad Water Quality
One thing which can result in water that isn’t quite up to par is the presence of chlorine. As most of us are aware, chlorine is what they put into swimming pools to keep them clean. It can also be used to keep your tap water clean too.
There are a few different types of chlorine and the same stuff that’s used in swimming pools isn’t what they would use to treat your water source, but still, the amount of it that’s used can often lead to a strong, unpleasant taste.
And then there is something known as ‘hard water’, which is probably the most common factor that inhibits the taste of what comes out of our taps. Hard water is a slightly misleading name, because it’s not distinguished by water which is a different texture.
It’s called hard water because of the pipes that it flows through. If your water is passing through porous rocks such as limestone or chalk, tiny fragments of those rocks can break off and get mixed up in the water.
As a result, your water could end up being high in magnesium and calcium, which may not necessarily be dangerous, but which most definitely have a negative effect on the taste. And hard water can also result in limescale.
This is a much more noticeable problem. You have probably seen it in the past, it will usually look like tiny little flakes of a white substance, and they can give the water an odd chalky taste and an unpleasant texture.
So while limestone can often be easy enough to spot, it can be hard to know if the other contaminants are present. Even if you notice an odd taste, you may not know what exactly is the cause of it. But there are ways to test that:
Testing Your Water
There are numerous ways in which you can go about testing your water and the quality of the results tends to vary from method to method. They are all effective for the most part, but it’s up to you which route you take.
Firstly, there are many DIY home testing kits that you can get. This is probably the easiest option because they are readily available online and probably in local stores too, and the process is usually quite simple.
They usually come in the form of strips which you will dip into your water, or tablets which you can allow to dissolve. These will often give you a result within a minute of testing. The issue with these is that they may not always pick up on every possible contaminant present.
This is why it’s often a good idea to go for a more thorough method, such as getting your water tested professionally in a lab. This involves collecting a sample of your water and sending it to a state certified testing laboratory.
Naturally, this is going to cost a bit more money and you will have to wait before you get the results, but you can pretty much guarantee that any issues with your water will be determined by a professional test.
Testing for hard water sometimes requires a different kind of kit, but there are also records kept of water hardness around the country and you can usually get a report from your water utility pretty easily.
Obviously, there isn’t very much that you can do to alter the source of the water. So your best course of action is to invest in some kind of filtration system. Filters come in several forms, each varying in price and quality.
The cheapest and easiest option is to get a pitcher filter. A jug that you will fill with tap water and within which there will be a filter that will get to work on removing contaminants. These kinds of filters will often be water softeners, but they will also filter out the majority of contaminants too.
So while these are effective and inexpensive, the irritating thing about them is that you do have to replace the filters every few weeks and you also have to wait a few minutes for the water to be filtered.
The other main option is to have a filter installed into your plumbing. There’s different types of this one too, from activated carbon which is good against chlorine, iron exchange to work against hard water, reverse osmosis removes basically all contaminants and then there are UV filters which use lights to remove bacteria and are more environmentally friendly.
Getting a filter installed costs more money and you will have to hire a professional, but it will be worth it since all you have to do is turn on the tap and the filtered water will flow.
So while your water quality may not necessarily be something which is posing a risk to your health, it might be worth it to filter your tap water anyway. It will guarantee that there’s nothing potentially harmful in there and you will also get to enjoy a better taste.