When buying or considering buying a water softener, it becomes indispensable to determine the exact level of hardness of your water supply, which is when Water Test kits are needed.
There are other ways of course, to determine the exact level of hardness of your water supply; you could call a professional plumber and have him determine that for you, contacting the county water and public utilities office, where they will have that information which is public and freely provided to the general public, or bringing a sample of your water to a private lab and have it tested. But calling a plumber just to have him determine the level of hardness can be way too expensive, some counties will not even have that information about the quality of the water and having your water tested by a lab takes weeks and is even more expensive than calling a plumber; so, the best and most advisable alternative is to acquire a Water Test kit and determine the level hardness yourself.
Other types of test kits are available that will also allow you to determine more important information about the quality of your water supply, such as the pH, presence of bacteria (especially fecal coliforms), iron, copper, lead, chlorine, nitrates or pesticides, among others. These tests become especially needed and useful if your water comes from a well or if you suspect your water supply is too hard or might be contaminated; for example, if the water has strange or unpleasant tastes or smells, if when it dries if leaves spots behind over the surfaces over which it dried, if there is a buildup of limescale in your pipes, if your water heater consumes more energy than it is supposed to or if you find it is hard to wash away soap and shampoo when you take a shower. These are the most common situations that lead people to check the quality of their water and buy home test kits.
Virtually all home test kits consist of additives which are used by taking a small sample of your home water supply, combining it with such additive, watching the changes in color and comparing it with the colors from a provided chart; while other kits consist of testing strips which are dipped in a small sample of your water supply and then watching the changes in color that appear on the strip, which are also compared with the colors compared in a chart.
Below is a selected list of a few of the most recommended commercial water test kits available in the market today, along with their description and the list of contaminants and substances they can detect or the aspects of the water they measure.
|Description||Used to detect…|
|First Alert WTI Drinking Water Test Kit||This very complete home test kit is perfect for when you are still considering a Water softener and it will allow you to determine if you need also a water filter or any other more complete solution; it meets the requirements laid out by the EPA||Chlorine, bacteria, measure pH, nitrates, pesticides, lead||Link to Amazon|
|Leisure time 45010 Chlorine Test Strips||Extremely easy to use, but limited to one single contaminant, the Leisure Time kit consists of 50 strips used for measuring the levels of chlorine in your water supply||Chlorine||Link to Amazon|
|Watersafe WS425W Well Water Test Kit||This test is especially designed for well water supplies and it tests for all the usual contaminants most often found in well water, and it is perhaps one of the most complete home test kits in the market, covering many contaminants and harmful substances||Copper, Lead, Iron, Chlorine, Nitrites, Nitrates, Bacteria, Pesticides and Fertilizers||Link to Amazon|
|Sofcheck Total Hardness Test Strips||This kit consists of 50 testing strips and is incredibly easy to use: you just need to get a small sample of your water supply, dip one strip in it until it changes color and finally use a color chart printed as reference in the bottle to determine the level of hardness||Measures the level of Hardness||Link to Amazon|
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