Test Water for Water Taste
Water. It should taste cool. Clean. It’s refreshing. Cottony. Chlorine. Rotten eggs. Too thin, too hard, too soft, too cloudy. For something that most people think is tasteless, we pay a lot of attention to its taste. What makes water taste the way it does and what does the way that it tastes mean? A sample of test water can tell you what you are getting from your well, or from your municipal water supply, and what the findings mean to your taste buds.
First of all, though, all the water starts out the same. It begins as rain. Most of the rainfall eventually ends up in the oceans but some of it sinks into the soil and becomes groundwater, which is mostly what humans drink. Groundwater flows underground through rocks and sediment and stores itself in aquifers. We tap into that aquifer with a well and the water comes to the surface. There are things in the ground that affect the taste, the smell and the texture of the water. There are also other factors. Every toxin or impurity in the environment eventually ends up in the groundwater and that can affect the quality of the water. It is important to test water regularly; especially if there have been any environmental changes.
Lead and arsenic occur naturally in rocks and in small amounts is expected in the water; however, both are highly poisonous in large amounts. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and manganese are also naturally occurring. Sodium and magnesium give the water its fresh taste and excellent reputation. However, these minerals should be present in balance. The more calcium and magnesium, the harder the water is. Although there are no health reasons to avoid hard water, the taste of it will be different, perhaps more to your liking, or perhaps not. Hardness will affect how the water performs in non-drinking uses. Hard water can leave scale on pipes, stains on everything and affect the taste of boiled vegetables. You will need to use more soap when using it for cleaning. Your water should not be harder than 270 mg per gallon, nor should it be softer than 30 mg per gallon. If the water is soft, or you are using a commercial water softener, the amount of sodium in your water increases. Test water for the sodium level as this can have an impact on the sodium in your diet.
Iron and manganese are typically found together in water, may cause the water to taste metallic, and may also leave dark spots or rust stains on laundry. Nitrate is a contaminant that should be looked for when you do a water test. High concentrations can occur in wells in agricultural areas, or near fertilization applications. The presence of nitrates can indicate the presence of other contaminants. Nitrate can starve the blood of oxygen, which can be fatal in infants, so young children should never be given water with high nitrate concentration.
Tap water is usually treated with chlorine, which can make the water taste slightly acidic. This can affect the taste of coffees and teas and other things made with the water, such as ice cubes, soups or vegetables. The sour flavor of water can be attributed to high chlorine levels, but the acidity and sourness of the water may be because of the pH balance. The neutral level for proper pH balance is seven. Unpolluted water should have a balance of at least 5.2, but anything lower than seven will be acidic, and anything higher will need to have added chlorine for disinfection. Any level above or below seven will be irritating to the skin.
The taste of water is affected by the minerals and elements of the ground where the water comes from. A test water kit will describe the mineral analysis and can give you an idea of how the water should taste. Minerals in abundance may taste metallic, sodium and bicarbonates will taste salty, iron can taste rusty and water with hydrogen sulfide can taste rotten. Water has its own characteristics. When you do a water test, the test water service you choose will be able to help you identify what is in your water. AquaKnow.com is a trusted and affordable water quality testing service. Once you have had a test water sample taken, their laboratories will interpret those results for you. Contact them at 877-734-7661 to consult with one of their representatives.