Water contamination can be a big threat to the health of your household. You should regularly test the water which flows from your pipes to ensure your loved ones aren’t being exposed to a range of potentially harmful materials. The most common contaminant is one of the most dangerous: lead. This is by no means the only thing which can leak into your water supply; sewage, dirt, and even toxic chemicals can leak in if your pipes are left untreated. Contaminated water can cause serious side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, reproductive problems, and even developmental problems in children. You may get sick before you know it because not all contamination is easily detectable. Just because it doesn’t taste or smell funny doesn’t mean it’s good for you, so stay safe by following our guide on how to test the water in your home.
Causes of Water Contamination
We want to touch on the most common causes of water contamination: broken pipes and old pipes. Broken pipes are dangerous because foreign contaminants can get into even the smallest cracks. Depending on the placement of the pipes, it could be anything from dirt to sewage. Broken pipes connected to the main sewer line can let even small amounts of waste into your water, damaging your health. Old pipes (from before 1986) almost always were made with a lead component. As time goes on and the flow of water erodes the coating on the pipes, lead leaks into the water supply. The safest option for older homes nowadays is to replace the pipes with a stainless-steel option, but there are options available to suit any budget. Consult with your plumbing expert immediately if you suspect your pipes contain lead, as this can be very harmful.
How to Test Your Home’s Water
Sewage? Lead? Ew! If there’s even a chance of this being in your water supply, you should test it. There are two ways of testing your water: home kits or lab tests. Home kits are readily available online or at a home supply store. They usually are a swap or strip which you dip into some water fresh out of the faucet and allow it to develop. Colors will show up which coordinates to a chart showing which contaminants are present. The downside is these home kits aren’t as accurate as a lab test, so you may get a reading which isn’t 100% true. For lab tests, the best start is to call either your trusted local plumber or water district. They’ll refer you to a reputable lab where you can send in a sample of your home’s water. The lab water test usually takes about 1 – 2 weeks, so if you need an immediate answer, consider a home kit first.
Handling Contaminated Water Issues After Your Test
If you’ve tested your water and found you have a contaminant, don’t panic. The best thing to do is to stop drinking it immediately and call an emergency plumber. They can assess the situation and let you know what needs to be done. Remember: you can still shower or bathe with lead-contaminated water as lead can’t penetrate human skin but never drink it. Foreign contaminants are best handled with extreme caution; your plumber should deal with the situation urgently. Depending on your specific situation they may want to perform additional tests on your water or replace the pipes. Discuss any alternate routes and decide together what will work best for you. Contact Sin City Plumbing for any of your plumbing needs!