No plumbing system is perfect. Even in industrialized countries, chemicals, bacteria, and other substances can leech into the water supply. Though we may not notice the presence of these substances, either in the color or taste of our water, and though they rarely do immediate harm to our families, they can be dangerous with prolonged exposure. Some systems are more dangerous than others, and new dangers can be introduced into your plumbing without any apparent change to your water. In order to ensure that the water you and your family drink and use to bathe is completely safe, it is best to regularly test your water.
Water test kits allow you to test the quality of the water that you drink, bathe in, and use to wash clothes, right at home. These kits are much cheaper than having a professional come to your home and test your water. You can only remedy a dangerous water situation when you know exactly what the problem is. These water test kits are the best way to find out what, if any, substances are hiding in your water.
If your water supply has any of the following features or indicators, you should be regularly checking your water with a reliable kit. Water test kits should especially be used when first moving into a new house, to ensure that the plumbing system is safe for use.
You live in an older house with brass or lead plumbing, soldering, or fixtures. Both of these materials can leech harmful substances into your water, making it very unsafe to drink or even bathe in.
If you notice a strange color or taste. If your water suddenly changes in color or taste, something has likely been introduced into the system. This often happens after a natural disaster, but can sometimes just be the result of a leak in the waterline.
If you have a private water system, like a well and septic tank. Though these should have been tested for safety when they were first installed, a well, especially if it is built near the septic tank, can easily become contaminated through seepage in the ground water. If you use well water at all, it can be negatively affected by pesticides used by neighboring farms, anything buried in the area, chemical testing by nearby manufacturing plants, etc. Check it on a regular basis to ensure it is safe to drink.
Even if you do not see any of these signs, it is always possible for a strain of harmful bacteria to find its way into your water system. Water test kits should be used on a yearly basis even if no noticeable changes occur in the water itself.