Is Your Water Safe? How To Test It

If you are not sure about whether your water is being properly treated, you can use one of a few tests to test for certain characteristics. You will learn about the water acidity and the presence of organic and inorganic solids. Then, you will be able to make adjustments to your water treatment methods to remove these contaminants.

Water pH

Test your water to make sure that it has the right pH balance by using a pH strip. Simply dip the strip into the water and compare the strip to a chart that comes with the pH test strip to determine the pH. Ideally, your water should be above 6.5 and below 8.5. If your water has a pH of less than 6.5, it is more acidic and will cause metals to leach into the water supply. If the pH is 8.5 or higher, it is hard and can cause coffee to taste bitter. If the pH is not at the right point, there are fortunately products intended to raise or lower the pH.

Oxidation Reduction Potential

ORP refers to oxidation reduction potential. The ORP number is a measure of the ability of the water to break down contaminants. ORP sensors detect how much oxygen is in the water. Lower levels of oxygen indicate that there is more organic matter. The more organic matter, the less safe the water is to drink. The ORP is a probe that is placed in the water and detects the oxygen using an electrode.


The level of conductivity the water has can be affected by the number of inorganic solids in the water, such as sulfates, nitrates and chloride. For that reason, you may want to collect a water sample and send it to a nearby water treatment laboratory. A conductivity meter can measure the water conductivity by inserting a probe into the sample.


Too much salinity in the water will make it undrinkable. Also, you may not be able to use a water softener. Fortunately, there are water salinity meters that will test a water sample using a probe to provide a reading of the amount of salt contained in the water. If there is too much salt, you may need to find a different source of water because salt removal can be expensive.

Make sure you test your water once a year during spring to make sure it is safe to drink. Also, if you have any reason to believe that your water is not safe to drink, such as if you have an intrusion in your water reserve or if your water treatment equipment stops functioning properly, you will want to have your water tested.

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