As you go over to your kitchen sink and fill up a glass of water to drink, you probably aren’t thinking about what’s really in your water. It looks clear, tastes normal, and quenches your thirst – how could anything be wrong with it?
Well, there is a chance that your water may contain harmful chemicals and bacteria without you even knowing it. These substances could cause short and long-term effects for you and your family’s health. The only way to know if your home water is contaminated is with a home water test and analysis.
By the end of this article, you’ll know what to look for in your water, the effects certain contaminates cause, when to test your water, and how to do it quickly and get reliable results.
Common Water Contaminants and How They Affect Your Health
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed 90 different contaminants that can be found in your drinking water. While they can be harmful, they aren’t all life-threatening. In fact, some contaminates are allowed to be present in your water when under a certain level.
These substances are separated into two different categories: acute and chronic.
Acute contaminates are most often bacteria or viruses found in the water. You’ll feel the health effects of these within days, or even hours, of drinking them. These substances typically cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
Chronic substances cause more serious health effects over a more extended period of time. Some of these include lead, radium, and arsenic. These substances could cause cancer, kidney disease, and more.
E. Coli and Crypto
Bacteria such as E. Coli and crypto are common substances found in home drinking water. They are usually spread through humans or animals. You can often find these contaminants in private water wells. If you have these bacteria in your water, you and your family will experience stomach pains and intestinal illnesses often and should have your water tested.
You’re probably aware of the harmful effects lead causes due to the ban of lead paint in homes and on children’s toys. While it may not be on your home’s walls, it could be in your home’s water supply.
Lead may be found in the pipes that carry water to your faucet. How does this happen? Over time, the water erodes the pipes and carries the lead with it and into your home. If lead is contaminating your water, you could experience stomach pain and brain damage over time.
Found naturally in rocks, arsenic can contaminate your water and cause serious health issues such as cancer, and disrupt the nervous system and cardiovascular functions over time.
Phosphates and Nitrates
Another invisible harmful chemical that could contaminate your water is phosphates and nitrates. These can cause kidney problems and cancer if ingested over time. They are especially dangerous to infants and pregnant women.
When to Get Your Water Tested
Now that you’re aware of just a handful of substances that could be in your home’s drinking water, how often should you have your water tested? A good rule of thumb is to test it routinely once a year.
If you receive your water from a public source, your water company should send you a water test report every summer. However, if you have a private water source, you should test it twice a year to ensure it’s safe to drink.
There are also special circumstances as to when you should have your water tested:
Pregnancy or a New Baby
If someone in your home is pregnant or a new baby has arrived, you should test your water for phosphates and nitrates. While they are harmful to everyone if exposed for a long period of time, they are especially dangerous for pregnant women and infants.
Fuel or Chemical Spill in the Area
If your area has experienced a hazardous fuel or chemical spill, you should have your water tested. This test will determine if any substances entered your well or water supply.
Constant Illness or Upset Stomachs
If you and your family are falling ill or having stomach problems much more often than usual, you may want to get your water tested. You may not consider your water source to be the problem, but the results could surprise you.
How to Test Your Water
There are a couple of different options to test your home water. You can purchase a self-administered DIY test or hire a professional to do it for you.
If you choose to do it yourself, be aware that the tests aren’t always accurate, and some may only show you if there is a very high amount of a substance in the water. If there is a high amount, you’ll need to call a professional to discuss the results and discuss further testing or clean-up options.
Call Aegis Environmental to Test Your Home Water
Hiring a professional to test your water is the best option to keep you and your family safe.
Aegis Environmental is ready to help determine exactly what is in your drinking water through advanced testing analysis and practices. Some of the substances we test for include radon, metals, pesticides, and herbicides. Plus, we’ll determine your PH balance and hardness.
If you have concerns about what might be in your drinking water, give us a call today to schedule your home water test.