Ways to Improve the Quality of Water at Home
by Peter Lombardi
Quality Specialist, Consultant
> 4 min read
Water is in constant use at home, whether for drinking, washing, or doing laundry. However, many consumers have concerns over the water quality entering their property. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the public water system, and water suppliers must provide a clean and safe supply to every customer they serve.
Unfortunately, this does not mean there are no minerals or chemicals in the water that comes through your pipes. The EPA allows for safe levels of these substances, but these standards do not necessarily satisfy every consumer’s needs.
If you have concerns about your water supply quality, you can take some simple steps to remove excess contaminants.
HERE ARE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT WATER:
Strain Your Water
One of the most perturbing sights for consumers is viewing large particles in their water supply. Mostly these are not harmful, but it can still be disconcerting if you are about to drink from your glass. White-colored particles are usually small pieces of calcium carbonate, while brown may indicate the presence of sand or sediment.
While this method won’t stop these particles from reaching your appliances, potentially causing a blockage, it is useful for cleaning drinking water. You can place a mesh strainer, muslin cloth, or other porous material over a bowl and pour the water onto the fabric.
The materials should filter the water through to the bowl while catching the particles in its fibers. This method to improve water quality is basic but can be useful if you don’t have access to a more sophisticated filter. Ensure you boil the strained water before consumption.
Boil Your Water
If you are worried about viruses, pathogens, or bacteria in your home water supply, you can boil your water. Because it takes around 30 minutes to cool before it is ready to drink, this method requires some planning.
Pour water from your faucet into a pan, and place it over high heat. You’ll notice it come to a boil after approximately five minutes, but try to keep it bubbling for around half an hour.
The high heat and extended boiling time kills many unwanted organisms and is safer than drinking water poured directly from the faucet.
"If you are worried about viruses, pathogens, or bacteria in your home water supply, you can boil your water"
Replace Your Pipework
To improve the quality of your water at home for the benefit of showering and washing laundry, you’ll need to engage a professional to inspect your pipework. It’s impractical to strain or boil water if you have a large household, but replacing your pipes can be an effective solution.
Many older properties may still have antiquated lead piping systems. Because they have experienced considerable wear and tear, there could be cracks in the surfaces, allowing contaminated groundwater to seep into your domestic water supply.
Pipes that are no longer structurally sound are more likely to have loose pieces that can break off and enter your water supply. You can ask a plumbing contractor to inspect your pipework and provide a report on any issues that could harm your water supply.
If the pipes have lead construction, it’s a good idea to replace them with more modern materials as soon as possible. Copper and plastic piping are more durable alternatives. Although this can be an expensive option, it’s an excellent way to ensure your water flows through piping that is safe.
Flush Your Pipes
If water sits stagnant in your system for an extended period, it can collect particles and contaminants. This issue may be most apparent if you are away on vacation for more than a few days.
Before using your water supply for drinking or washing clothes, you can improve water quality by flushing your plumbing. An easy method is to turn taps on and let them run for 2-3 minutes, flush the toilet, or turn on the dishwasher and washing machine while it is empty.
Clean Faucet Aerators
Faucet aerators are the screens that sit at the end of your taps. You may not even notice they are there until there is a scaly build-up limiting the water flow. These screens catch larger particles that come through your pipes, although they are not perfect.
It’s essential to help them do their job by keeping them clean. Most faucet aerators screw in and out fairly easily, and you can give them a rinse while scrubbing them with a small brush. If you notice any breaks or gaps in the wire mesh, you can source a replacement from your local hardware store.
Install a Water Filter
The most effective way to improve water quality at home is to use a water filter. Although water suppliers treat water to reduce the levels of many potentially harmful minerals and chemicals, there are still low amounts present in your water supply.
Purchasing a water filter means you can remove more of these contaminants before they damage your pipes and domestic appliances, and it provides you with cleaner drinking water.
It’s important not to confuse a water softener with a water filter. A water softener will only remove excess calcium and magnesium from your water supply, but it will not remove other contaminants, such as microorganisms, heavy metals, or plastics.
Water filters are the most effective method of removing potentially harmful contaminants. These appliances remove numerous chemicals, minerals, making your water healthier while also improving its taste and odor.
A reverse osmosis water filter is an excellent choice for removing potentially harmful PFAS, while an active charcoal filter is ideal for removing volatile organic compounds and chlorine. This type of filter works without the use of chemicals and does not strip the water of beneficial salts and minerals.
The Bottom Line
While your water supply is likely safe for drinking and bathing, removing potentially harmful minerals and chemicals can enhance your water quality. High-quality water is essential for good health, keeping your bathroom and kitchen surfaces clean, and it helps keep your skin hydrated.
If you have concerns about your water quality for health reasons, using a water filtration system to remove chemicals and excess minerals from your water supply can provide peace of mind.
About the Author
Peter is a Los Angeles based water quality specialist, and works as a surveyor for businesses and communities looking to be informed and active about the quality of their water. He shares his expertise with 64 oz. to ensure everything is accurate, and to prevent the spread of misinformation about water contaminants.