In the United States and Canada, millions of people rely on well water systems for drinking water and for other household uses. Because private wells are not regulated in the same way as municipal water systems, those who use them are responsible for ensuring that their water supply is safe.
As such, many public agencies recommend that well water users conduct testing at least annually. Beyond keeping your drinking water safe, this process also can help uncover causes for more aesthetic concerns: unpleasant tastes or odors, sediment, or a discolored/cloudy appearance.
Private wells source from groundwater. As precipitation passes through soil and rocks, minerals may accumulate, as well as other potential contaminants from nearby sources.* As water passes through pipes and plumbing, other substances may enter the water supply as well.
These issues can lead to changes that affect the taste, smell or appearance of well water, or they can cause hardness. Hard water can produce buildup on plumbing fixtures as well as leaving spots on dishes while impacting the performance of water-using appliances.
Importantly, many issues associated with problem water can be imperceptible without testing. As such, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you test your well water at least annually for issues such as:
The CDC says testing should also be conducted if you notice changes in your water quality, after replacement or repair of any part of your system, or if there are problems near your well due to issues like flooding, land disturbances or waste disposal.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also suggests that well water users test for nitrates if any household members are pregnant or nursing, or if there are any young infants in the home. The EPA also suggests testing for sulfate, chloride, iron, manganese and hardness minerals at least every three years.
Pay attention to new potential pollution sources in your area due to agricultural or industrial changes as well. Testing regularly will help you pinpoint when changes occurred, making it easier to figure out what may have caused an emerging issue.
Dedicated professionals can help you make sure you’re performing the desired level of well water testing for your needs. Free in-home testing is available, but laboratory analysis may be required for more intensive inspections.
By regularly testing your well water, you can assess the safety of drinking water for your family while identifying well water treatment options to improve the taste of your water and address issues like hardness.
Installed at the point where your water source enters your home, well water filtration systems can help minimize contaminants and other problem water issues for your household while also improving the taste, smell and appearance of well water. Professionals will often recommend pairing a whole-house filtration system with a point-of-use treatment option, like a reverse osmosis system, specifically for drinking water.
In addition, if you have hard water, installing a water softener for well water can help address concerns like scaling, soap scum and difficulty lathering.
The quality of well water can change over time due to a variety of causes. Pay attention and test your well water at least annually to ensure that your water supply is still safe to drink and to make sure you’ve got an effective home treatment plan in place. Learn more about our free in-home testing and advanced laboratory analysis to find out how we can help you enjoy great-tasting water today.
*Contaminants may not necessarily be present in your water.