Tips for Maintaining Home Water Quality
Never assume the water running from your tap is of high quality.
Image via Canadian Family (Flickr)
Tips for Maintaining Home Water Quality
One of the reasons I became an environmentalist is because I have always loved water. I grew up around water, I played in water, and I still play in water with my dog whenever I have the chance. I chose a career blogging about water and the importance of water quality because it is such a critical topic that everyone in the world should be educated about. This includes teaching people about home water quality. What is water quality? It’s ensuring that the water you use for both consumption and bathing is safe for you and your family.
You probably remember in school that water, known by its chemical formula H2O, is a chemical compound made up of one part oxygen and two parts hydrogen atoms. Water is a compound that cannot be destroyed. When hot, it evaporates into the earth’s atmosphere only to recycle into rain and fall back down on the earth again. Water can, however, absorb harmful substances, making it dangerous for consumption if polluted. This is why in the United States, the EPA is in charge of setting water quality standards all municipalities must follow to ensure their citizens have a safe water supply.
Are the Standards Enough?
Some, including me, argue that the EPA’s home water quality standards are not enough. It is also disconcerting that the standards allow the municipalities to treat the water coming into your home with harmful chemicals designed to kill bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Don’t get me wrong, we need our water treated to ensure that it isn’t laden with such deadly organisms, but I don’t exactly want to drink a glass of water that has chlorine in it either, much less pharmaceuticals and fluoride. Even in small doses, these pollutants are harmful to people, especially children and those with sensitivities.
Test the Waters
So, if you’re asking yourself what is water quality in my home and how can I ensure the water is of high quality, take a few steps to get all the facts about your home’s tap water. Contact your local water municipality and purchase a water testing kit. Submit the test of your tap water to a qualified laboratory and carefully review the results upon receipt. The test results should give you a breakdown of your tap water quality, and how many chemicals and organisms are found in the water coming into your home.
Test the Humans
Another way to test your home water quality is to ask your family a few simple questions. Ask yourself these questions, too. Ask whether anyone notices any strange odors in the water coming out of your tap. Some things to smell for are an odor of bleach or other chemicals, eggs, a musty or moldy smell, fish, lead, or gasoline. Also find out if anyone thinks your water tastes funny. If you or anyone in your family is experiencing skin problems, this is also a sign of bad water. Finally, do everybody’s eyes sting when they take a shower? You probably have some chemicals in your water causing the irritation.
Filter Your Water
If your water quality isn’t up to snuff, and chances are it isn’t, make certain to filter all of the water that pours into your home. I’m not just talking about filtering your drinking water. It is also important to filter any water you cook with, clean with, brush your teeth with, and shower with. Your entire body is a sponge, both inside and out, and as your body digests food or shower water falls upon your skin, your body absorbs what is in the water. Don’t just filter your drinking water. Filter everything!
Other Steps You Can Take
Some other things you can do to maintain the quality of the water coming into your home is to keep your plumbing up to date with quality piping. If you live in an old house and you haven’t replaced the plumbing, chances are you have lead piping – a very dangerous thing, as the lead seeps into your water. Replace old plumbing with newer safer pipes. Keep your pipes and aerators clean, and clean your sinks, tubs, toilets, and showers regularly. On an annual basis, it’s important to drain and flush your hot water heater, and keep any hazardous materials away from your water sources at all times.
Your family’s health is important, and water is critical to human and animal health. We need water more than we need food. Keeping the water coming into your home clean and safe should not only be part of your household routine, it should also be part of your healthcare routine. Filter the baddies out your home’s water, including the chemicals used to make your water “safe.”
Written By: Lynn Taylor