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FaucetToday’s “Ask the Expert” column features Charles Furlough, Vice President of Field Operations of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: With August being National Water Quality Month, what are some of the common elements that come into play when it comes to a home’s water quality?
For most homeowners in North America, the quality of the water they drink isn’t high on their list of concerns, and for good reason: overall, North America has some of the best water quality in the world. Nevertheless, more goes into ensuring a home’s water supply is safe than a homeowner might think.

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named August National Water Quality Month, now’s a good time to take a look at some of the more common elements that come into play concerning a home’s water quality.

Well Water Quality and Quantity
A well water system should provide clean water in sufficient quantities for the needs of the home and the people who live there. Both the quality and quantity of well water can and should be tested.

– Water quality
Water from a well should be tested on a regular basis. You can hire someone to test it or test it yourself. A water test is not part of a home inspection, but it’s something that should be done. Many home inspectors provide well water quality testing; homeowners should inquire as to the availability of this service in their area.

-Water quantity
Don’t let your well run dry. A quantity test is not common, but it can and should be done by an expert. The test, called a draw-down test, involves drawing water from the well at a standard flow rate to see how fast the water gets used up and how fast the well refills.

If you’re buying a home:
•Make arrangements to obtain a water sample for testing.
•Obtain information from the current owner about the well, including water quality/quantity issues, recent repairs and the location of the well if it’s not obvious.

Homes that obtain water from a public source are also susceptible to contaminants. The pipes that deliver water to and throughout your home can have an impact on the water’s quality. Older homes may have pipes made of copper that were soldered with lead-based solder or water mains made of lead. Both can cause trace amounts of lead to enter your water supply. Run the water until it gets cold before using it to cook or drink.

What You Can Expect From a Water Quality Test
The water quality in your home can be affected by many factors. Your local Pillar To Post Home Inspector is trained to test for a specific list of contaminants such as total coliform, E. coli, lead, nitrate, nitrite and turbidity. Your inspector will take test samples and send them to a certified, third-party laboratory. You’ll then receive a detailed lab report for your reference. The corresponding informational water quality testing report will be issued for the sample receipt, comparing your sample results to national standards that are defined within the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Regulations.

The water that flows through our homes can be impacted by forces both outside and inside. Whether you’re a homebuyer or homeowner, getting to know your water system will ensure you and your family are well protected.

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