How to Test Water Quality at Home

How to Test Water Quality at Home

In the United States, drinking water that’s taken out of the tap isn’t considered a risk. The country’s water is fairly safe since it’s treated and regulated by government agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, states set their own water standards and water testing practices to stop water contamination.

However, despite these water standards, 61% of Americans are still worried that the water contains contaminants including salmonella and cryptosporidium. That’s why homeowners purchase at-home testing kits to know how clean the water actually is. If you’re part of the 61%, here’s how to test the water at home:

How to Test Water With a Testing Kit

Not all water testing kits were made the same. If you’re testing your drinking water, get a standard kit that can detect the amount of lead, chlorine, nitrates/nitrites, etc. in the water. If you’re testing well water, get a testing kit that can check for pesticides.

Your kit will likely contain multiple strips to be dipped into the water. If the kit contains only one strip, it’s likely for pH testing. In general, here’s how to use your water testing kit:

  • Fill the test container with water.
  • Dip the test strip into the container and swirl it around.
  • Let the water strip sit inside the container for a few minutes.
  • Take the strip out. Its color should be different from what it initially was.
  • Check the color chart in the kit. It will tell you whether or not the strip’s color is acceptable, or in other words, if the water is safe.

How to Test Water Without a Testing Kit

Don’t own a water testing kit? Don’t worry – you can check for the following signs.

#1 Cloudy Water

Get a glass of water and inspect it for floating particles. A few floating particles in the water are normal, however, if the water is too cloudy, it could indicate the presence of too much calcium carbonate. If the water doesn’t clear up even after you’ve allowed it to flow, have it checked.

#2 Strong Chlorine Smell

It’s common for water to be treated with chlorine to eliminate bacteria. But if your water has a strong chlorine smell that doesn’t dissipate, you should be concerned. Too much chlorine in the water can cause eye irritation when you shower and it can ruin your clothes in the wash.

#3 Discolored Water

Is the water discolored? Water should always be crystal clear and not tinted, so if you notice discoloration, it’s an indication that the water probably shouldn’t be consumed. One possible cause of discoloration is a corroded water heater – when this happens, call an HVAC professional to conduct the necessary repairs or replacements.

#4 Metallic Taste

Immediately stop drinking when you notice a metallic taste in the water. Chances are that the water supply is seriously contaminated, and it can be addressed only by a plumbing specialist. Do not drink waste that tastes metallic as this indicates lead content, which can result in kidney-related sickness.


If you’re worried about your home’s water supply, hire a professional, like Beeson Mechanical Service, to get it tested today. While you can buy an at-home testing kit, it would be wise to let the pros take care of it so they can rule out any possible problems with your water. Call us at 317-535-9338!