People take it for granted that the water they get from the kitchen faucet is always safe. That's generally true and you'll probably live after you drink a glass of water from your kitchen. But there may be things in your household water that can damage your plumbing. These materials can also cause concern about what they do to your body. Here are some of the most common items found in residential water and what you can do to clean it up.
If your home was built before 1986, it may have lead pipes, says the EPA. The lead leaches out of the pipe and into the water. Your body will take in small amounts of lead and, if the lead level is allowed to build up, you can develop lead toxicity. This affects your nervous system and can even cause blindness. Lead is especially dangerous to children. Plumbers can examine your water pipes and replace all lead ones with copper.
Copper pipes release metal into the water more slowly so you don't have to worry about a toxic level of copper in your body. A few homes use steel pipes to carry water and these are resistant to the metals dissolving in your water.
Depending on where you live, you may have hard or soft water. As rainwater flows through the earth to rivers, streams and aquifers, it carries dissolved minerals with it. Soil that is rich in minerals will result in hard water, or water with a lot of minerals dissolved in it, the most typical being calcium and magnesium. Your city water supply may remove these before sending the water to your home. This gives you soft water, which only contains sodium.
Hard water can allow minerals to build up in pipes and cause rust. The minerals can accumulate in your water heater, shortening its life. A plumbing service can flush the minerals out of the water heater, but that's only a short-term fix. Hard water also makes soap less effective, so simple things like shampooing your hair and washing clothes become a challenge. You can install a water softener in your home to remove the minerals and the problems that hard water creates.
The municipal water agency adds chlorine to water to kill bacteria and parasites. It is usually not noticeable, but if there is a sudden rise in infectious organisms in the water, the city will add more chlorine. You'll be able to smell and taste it in your drinking water. A plumbing company can install a home water filtration system that contains carbon which will remove the chlorine.
If you live in a farming community, your water may have a higher level of nitrates and nitrites, the side effect of fertilizer use. City water systems remove some, but not all, of these chemicals from the water. High levels in the body can cause respiratory problems. They are especially dangerous in infants. You can make sure the water is safe by using a home filtration system to remove the traces of nitrates and nitrites.
A variety of drug residue has shown up in city water supplies, reports Medical News Today. This includes prescription medications such as antibiotics, hormones, anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medications. These end up in the water supply when people flush medications down the drain or are taking a substance that is excreted in their urine which ends up in the city sewer. Researchers haven't figured out how to remove all of these from the city water. Unfortunately, the home water filtration systems also can't remove these contaminants.
City water is generally safe, but look into the specific things that might be in your local water. Contact your municipal water company and request a water quality report. If the water quality concerns you, talk with a plumbing service like Paton Bros Ltd about what home filtration systems are available to clean up the water that comes out of your kitchen faucet.