The Importance of Home Tap Water Test Kits

Water is an essential resource that impacts our health and well-being. It is crucial to ensure that the water we consume at home is clean and safe. While municipal water treatment plants strive to provide safe drinking water, contaminants can still find their way into our tap water. This is where home tap water test kits come into play. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of these test kits and the wide array of contaminants they can help identify. Let's dive into the world of home tap water testing!

Why Test Your Tap Water?

Water quality can vary depending on factors such as geographical location, aging infrastructure, and potential sources of contamination. By testing your tap water, you gain valuable insights into its quality, allowing you to make informed decisions about purification methods or necessary precautions. Home tap water test kits empower homeowners with the ability to monitor the safety of their water supply regularly and take appropriate actions to protect their health and that of their loved ones.

Common Contaminants Tested: Home tap water test kits are designed to detect a wide range of contaminants that may be present in your water. These kits commonly test for:

  1. Bacteria and Microorganisms: Tests for bacteria such as E. coli and coliforms are crucial to determine the presence of harmful pathogens.

  2. Heavy Metals: Lead, mercury, arsenic, and other heavy metals can leach into water sources and pose serious health risks. Testing for these contaminants is vital, especially in older homes with plumbing systems that may contain lead pipes.

  3. Chemicals: Pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can find their way into tap water. These substances may have adverse effects on human health if consumed over time.

  4. pH Levels: Testing for pH levels helps determine whether your water is too acidic or alkaline. Extreme pH levels can affect the taste, corrosion of plumbing, and effectiveness of water treatment methods.

Choosing the Right Test Kit: When selecting a home tap water test kit, consider the contaminants you wish to test for, ease of use, and the kit's accuracy. Some kits offer comprehensive testing, while others focus on specific contaminants. It's essential to read customer reviews and select a reputable brand that meets your specific requirements.

Conclusion: Home tap water test kits provide a convenient and cost-effective way to assess the quality of your drinking water. By detecting contaminants like bacteria, heavy metals, chemicals, and monitoring pH levels, you can take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of your household's water supply. Prioritizing regular testing empowers you to make informed decisions and safeguard your health.

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

What is Lurking in Your Tap Water?

Water is essential for life, and access to clean drinking water is critical for the health and well-being of individuals and communities. In developed countries, the municipal tap water is the primary source of drinking water for most people. While tap water is typically treated to remove contaminants and impurities, it still may contain harmful chemicals, bacteria, pathogens, and allergens that can pose a risk to human health. So, what are some of these toxins and contaminants and how can you avoid becoming sick?

Here is a list of chemicals, contaminants, toxins, pathogens and bacteria you need to look out for.

Chlorine and Chloramine

Chlorine and chloramine are commonly used to disinfect municipal tap water. Chlorine is effective at killing bacteria and viruses in the water, but it can react with organic matter in the water to form disinfection byproducts like trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). THMs and HAAs have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and reproductive problems in animal studies and have been classified as possible human carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is also used to disinfect water, but it can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and digestive issues.


Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can leach into tap water from a number of sources, including old plumbing systems, service lines and illegal toxic waste dumping. Lead exposure can cause developmental delays in children, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and reproductive problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 15 parts per billion (ppb) for lead in tap water, but even low levels of lead exposure can be harmful, especially for pregnant women and children.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides are chemicals that are used to control insects and weeds in agriculture. These chemicals can leach into groundwater and contaminate drinking water supplies. Exposure to pesticides and herbicides has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental delays in children. The EPA regulates the use of pesticides and herbicides in agriculture, but there are still concerns about the safety of these chemicals in tap water.


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products containing antibiotics, hormones, and antidepressants, can also be found in your tap water. These chemicals can enter the water supply through human and animal waste, runoff from hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and facilities. While the levels of these types of chemicals are generally low in tap water, there is concern about the long-term health effects of exposure to them, especially for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children.

E. Coli

E. coli is a type of bacteria that can cause serious illness if ingested. It is commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals and can enter the water supply through sewage leaks or agricultural runoff. Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.


Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia. Legionella can be found in stagnant water, such as hot tubs, cooling towers, and plumbing systems. Inhalation of contaminated water droplets can cause respiratory problems and fever.


Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that can cause gastrointestinal illness. It is resistant to chlorine and can survive in water for long periods. Cryptosporidium can enter the water supply through sewage leaks and animal waste. Symptoms of Cryptosporidium infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.


Fluoride is added to municipal water supplies in many countries to help prevent tooth decay. However, excessive exposure to fluoride can cause a range of health problems, including skeletal fluorosis, a condition that affects the bones and joints. Skeletal fluorosis can cause pain, stiffness, and deformity of the bones, and can lead to permanent disability.


Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. It is commonly found in contaminated food and water, and can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and worse.

The first step to staying healthy by drinking clean, uncontaminated water is to test your tap water. These tests are inexpensive and are available online and at local hardware stores.

Photo by Silvan Schuppisser on Unsplash

What Are Total Dissolved Solids in Drinking Water?

We all need water to survive, and those of us lucky enough to live in the developed world have many choices when to comes to selecting how we get our drinking water. Some people spend extra money on purified water home delivery services, where the water is delivered in large 5 gallon jugs. Others chose to rely on municipal water supplies and get water straight from the tap, and then use home filtration to mechanically filter out impurities. Either way, we need to make sure the water we drink is from a good source and has been filtered, purified and sanitized for human consumption. So what exactly needs to be filtered out? It depends on the source.

Water coming from the ground well or ground aquifers will have what is referred to as total dissolved solids, or TDS. This refers to dirt, chemicals, bacteria, pathogens and other impurities that are small enough to pass through fine filter membranes and end up in the liquid. This is why it is called dissolved solids. TDS is measured on a part-per-million basis or PPM, and is a standard testing benchmark in water purity measurement. In the United States and Canada, a TDS reading of 500 (500 parts per million, which can also be expressed as 500 milligrams per liter) is the threshold for safe water.

TDS (parts per million)


0 to 300


300 to 600


600 to  900


900 to 1,200


Over 1,200



But dissolved solids can be both organic and inorganic, which creates another layer of detail required to evaluate the quality and safety of drinking water. Groundwater naturally contains higher levels of organic solids including inorganic salts like magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium, which is generally safe at lower levels. In fact, premium alkaline bottled water, high in pH is generally considered to taste better because of these minerals. Dissolved organic solids, like mineral, can also create ‘hard water’ which can clog up appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, coffee machines and the like. Because hard water from the ground is prevalent in certain parts of the US, water softening services and devices are quite popular. Inorganic matter is a different story. Sulfate, iron, manganese, petroleum, pathogens, and other man-made contaminants create much more danger when to come to drinking water, and contribute to TDS.

Measuring the TDS in drinking water is essential to maintain safe drinking water supplies for the general public. When a water source has a high level of TDS, it is likely that there are some harmful contaminants in the water. TDS is also easy to measure and if something is happening to water, such as pollution, and chances are TDS levels will change, so keeping track of these changes can act as an early warning signal that something wrong is going on with the water. For these reasons, it is important to monitor the TDS levels in public water, so that if they change, action can be taken immediately. If you’re interest in measuring the TDS in your tap water home, you can buy an in inexpensive tool here. For more information about how TDS is measured and how we can all maintain safe water supplies, please visit the Safe Drinking Water Foundation website.

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

What Happens to Plastic Water Bottles?

We've all been there. The last few drops of cool, refreshing water has just trickled down the back of our tongue, and then disappeared down our gullet. It felt so good that we instinctively look at the receptacle that had just delivered such a glorious sensation, only to find two unfortunate truths. The first truth, the most reflexive and instinctive, is that there is no water left to drink. The second truth, that some but not all of us feel, is the artificial, plastic bottle in our cool hand. This second truth is the one all of humans deal with every day as we try and wean ourselves off of the plastic and the waste. We try and try harder with in-home filtration systems and fancy reusable water bottles, but sooner or later we all face the second truth.

So, how do large drinking water brands who deliver their product in a PET ( Polyethylene Terephthalate ) plastic bottle, the kind that are polluting our oceans and waterways, ensure that we are doing our part to recycle and inject sustainability into our supply chains? We'll answer those questions, but first some uncomfortable facts about plastic, recycling and fossil fuels:

  • It take about three times the amount of water to product the water that goes into a bottle of water. So, that means a liter of delicious, premium water requires 3 liters to produce. Most people choose to ignore these realities, and point to recycling to justify their consumer choices.
  • It requires about 17 million barrels of oil to produce all of the bottle water humans drink in 1 year.
  • In the United States, only about 12% of plastic bottles get recycled or repurposed, and the remaining 88% end up in a landfill. These numbers were better before the current trade war with China when the Chinese would buy up recycled plastic and cardboard for their own manufacturing, but not anymore.
  • Americans throw away about 35 Billion plastic water bottles every year
  • It takes about 2,000 times the amount of energy to produce a bottle of water than it does the same amount of tap water.
  • In the United States, 100 humans open a bottle of plastic water every second of every day.

The list of unpleasant truths goes on and one, and you can read more about it here. So, lets try and pivot to some of the things that we can do differently to help ensure sustainability for our environment in the coming decades.

  • Stop using plastic bottles. This one sounds easier than it is. Bad habits are hard to break, and none harder than the bottled water habit. But by using reusable steel water containers or installing a home filtration system, you can help to significantly cut down on the use of plastic in bottles.
  • Raise awareness about the environmental crisis we've created by our collective plastic water bottle habit. Encourage family, friends and co-workers to stop consuming plastic bottles.

Most agree that a combination of cutting back on PET consumption and finding more environmentally friendly alternatives to PET is the best path forward. For more information about reducing the impact humans are having on the environment, please visit the Environmental Protection Agency website.

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash