The importance of testing your well water

It is important to have a safe, reliable, and clean drinking water source. For some, that source is well water.  Well water is groundwater that flows into a well and is either pumped out or carried out. Maintenance on a well is something that is essential and should not be taken lightly.  The water from the well is what family is consuming along with all the microbes in the water.  What do you know about testing the water from your well, and how does testing your water change how you consume it?

How often should you be testing your water?

Testing your water should be a common practice if you have a well, but how common should it be?  You should be testing your water once a year ideally for a common well.  Shallow wells on the other hand, should be tested each season to ensure that the water is safe to consume.  

Within the water can live many tiny viruses, bacteria, and parasites.  These unwanted water additives can appear anytime and they often go unnoticed.  Testing your water with qualified testers is the only way to ensure that these harmful agents don’t get ingested.  Testing regularly can monitor any ongoing treatments as well as scan for sudden upcoming issues.

What Tests are Done on Water?

Think of water like blood when it comes to testing.  For some elements, there is an accepted range, others any presence or lack thereof can signal disaster. 

Any Viruses in water need to be addressed immediately so they do not infect the drinkers. If you are constantly sick and drinking well water, that’s a sign that you could have a virus in your water.
Some bacteria are naturally found in water where others can mean that you have a problem. Water testing will be able to recognize when there is an issue and how severe.
Naturally builds up in stagnant water exposed to air. It frequently grows on stones similar to the internal walls of a well. If there are dangerous levels seeping into your water, a test can determine that,
Pure water has a natural PH of 7, not too acidic, not too basic. If your water tips the scale too much, corrective methods can be taken. Water that has an off PH can cause issues with health and your body’s hydration.
Nitrate is the most abundant element found in the air, and it is mostly harmless. However drinking nitrates are mainly an issue for infant babies. High levels of nitrate restrict oxygen flow within the blood and can cause issues later on in life. If your water is high in nitrate, it is best to steer clear of it when the child is drinking.
Sulfate is one of the elements that may not immediately pose an issue but down the line will come to bite you. The first thing with sulfates, is that when combined with hydrogen (creating hydrogen sulfate) it emits an odor reminiscent of rotten eggs. This offensive smell means additionally you could have issues with pipes being ruined, and sulphates have a laxative effect on those who drink it.
Iron in your water while it does not pose any immediate health effects, doesn’t taste very good. It adds a very metallic taste and can be quite unpleasant.
Manganese will stain clothing and can change water colour and taste. Recent studies have shown that too much manganese has potential impacts on physical health as well.
Dissolved solids
These are things like sodium, calcium, and potassium. Too much of these will not only make your water look and taste bad, but it can cause health complications.
Fluoride, the stuff that dentists use to clean your teeth. Having small amounts in the water is not an issue, but there’s a reason your dentist tells you not to swallow it. It can end up making you quite sick.
Chloride or chlorine can help keep your water safe to consume. Chlorine kills vita uses and bacteria. Thought, you wouldn’t necessarily go off and start drinking pool water now.
Water hardness
How “hard” your water is determines the feel of its taste and even colour. If you have soft water, chances are there are more dissolved solids and higher levels of additional elements. Hard water is fairly pure and has limited quantities of elements.
A standard test tests for each of those elements. If you want to test for toxic heavy metals like mercury, serenium, or arsenic, you need to send your water for additional testing.

Where to get your water tested?

You can get your water tested by many places, the first place you can go to get water testing is a plumber. Plumbers have the kites to test water and determine all the above levels. In some towns and cities they will also offer water testing. We wouldn’t recommend you testing your water with at home kits unless absolutely necessary. These tests can be hard to read and often not as accurate as professionals.

While some merely impact the taste or smell of your water, others will have potentially lifelong effects. That is why it is important to test your well water at least once a year if not each season. Changes can happen quickly and unexpectedly. Don’t let changes in your water impact you or your family’s well being.