Public water supplies must be tested regularly for contamination from pathogens, toxic chemicals, and radioactive elements under applicable state and federal laws. But even with public water supplies, contamination to water in the home may be caused by your plumbing fixtures, or to inadequate water treatment facilities in your community. Here are several situations in which you may want water testing to be performed.
If you are considering purchasing a home with a private water supply from a well, it’s smart to have water testing done before you make an offer. Some home inspectors are licensed to perform water testing and some are not. Water tests should look for the presence of:
If the home is located near a potential contamination source, well water testing is even more important. You can have water tests performed in a home with public water supply if you have reason to believe water quality may have been compromised in some way.
Hard water may look perfectly normal, but it can leave soap scum and residue and it decreases the cleaning action of detergents and soaps. Water testing can be done to determine hardness and indicate whether a water softener is needed. The type of water softener needed will depend on which minerals are present in the water. If the water coming out of the tap is cloudy, has a color to it, or is frothy, you may want to have it tested, particularly if there are no municipal activities going on (like the flushing of nearby fire hydrants) that can cause water to appear “off” or cause a temporary increase in sediment.
Homes built before 1986 may have lead plumbing pipes, and depending on various qualities of the water, some of the lead can enter drinking water. However, plumbing fixtures in homes built after 1986 may still have some lead in them, although at much lower levels. If your plumbing has lead solder joints, water testing may be indicated, since lead from the solder can enter the water fairly easily. You may also want to have the water tested for pH, corrosivity, and other minerals, because these factors affect how much lead from plumbing make it into the drinking water.
Whether your water comes from a well or from a municipal water supply, you may want to have the water tested if it has an unusual smell or taste. Tests in this situation may be done for hydrogen sulfide, copper, pH, iron, lead, sodium, manganese, dissolved solids, and coliform bacteria. If family members, pets, or guests experience gastrointestinal illness either repeatedly, or with no identifiable cause, testing of your water for coliform bacteria, sulfate, and nitrate may be in order. Also, if a home has its own water filtration system, water testing may be carried out periodically to ensure the equipment is working properly.
At MD Mold Testing, our inspectors are licensed for water testing and serve homeowners in Washington DC, Montgomery County Maryland, northern Virginia, and Delaware.