Diagnosing Your Water: Hard & Contaminated Water Symptoms Guide

Just because all water may look the same, doesn’t mean the quality is as good as it can be. While you may not be able to visibly see the contaminants and problems in your water, you certainly will notice the side effects it leaves behind. If you have hard water, you may experience the following signs:

  • Dry skin or dull, lifeless hair after taking a shower
  • Limescale or scum buildup around fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom
  • Rust stains in bathtubs, toilets and sinks
  • Stiff clothing after doing laundry
  • Streaky or spotty dishes after washing
  • Soap that doesn’t lather easily
  • Drinking water that tastes or smells odd

What Are The Effects Of Hard Water?

Hard water can negatively affect your hair and skin. Showering and washing your body in hard water can lead to:

  • Film residue in your hair, making it feel unclean. This may also lead to dandruff or dry scalp.
  • Less moisture in your skin, which may lead to dry skin issues like eczema.

You may also notice the negative impact of hard water around your household. Hard water in your home can cause:

  • Clothing fabric to breakdown quicker overtime. Moreover, clothing may feel stiff or dingy after a wash.
  • Dishes to look streaky or spotty due to residue from mineral deposits.
  • Clogged pipes from mineral buildup.

What Is Contaminated Water?

Contaminated water is tap water that contains impurities, such as contaminants. Contaminants may include things like arsenic, lead, iron, sulfur, total dissolved solids, nitrates and PFOA/PFOS. These contaminants can be difficult to detect without a comprehensive water test. Overtime, they can negatively affect the health of you and your family. Moreover, contaminated water can affect your home, appliances and plumbing. Luckily, you can help prevent the issues caused by contaminated water. Testing your water quality is the first step to diagnosing the problem and solving it.

What Are The Signs Of Contaminated Water?

Signs of contaminated water

It’s not always easy to tell whether you have contaminated water or not. Sometimes contaminated water can look, feel and taste off. But more times than not, contaminated water won’t show any signs at all. That’s why testing the quality of your water is important.

Common signs of contaminated water include:

  • Bad-smelling water, such as a rotten egg odor
  • Discolored or cloudy water
  • Rust stains around fixtures and sinks caused by iron
  • Bitter or sour-tasting water
  • Corrosion on pipes and plumbing, may also lead to lower water pressure
  • Dull hair or dry skin

What Are The Effects Of Contaminated Water?

These are a few of the common contaminants found in tap water and the effects they can have on your home and health:

  • Arsenic: Both odorless and tasteless, this contaminant is difficult to detect without a comprehensive water test. Even small amounts of arsenic can put you and your loved ones at risk for various skin and health concerns overtime.
  • Iron: Has a metallic taste to it and can affect the flavor of your food and beverages. It can also make your clothes feel scratchy after washing, cause your appliances to break down and create rust stains on fixtures due to mineral buildup.
  • Nitrates: Have a negative effect on the human body and may increase carcinogen creation in adults. It can also result in the growth of bacteria, including iron.
  • Sulfur: Responsible for the rotten egg smell in tap water. In addition to causing bad water smells, it can also produce bacteria which can lead to corrosion of pipes and plumbing.

What Are The Water Testing Options?

Knowing what is in your water is the first step in solving for safer, better-quality water.

  1. Free, In-Home Water Test: Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a Culligan Water Expert at a time that’s most convenient for you. During your appointment, a sample of your water will be collected and tested right in your kitchen. Once the results are available, typically within 30 minutes or less, your Culligan Water Expert will discuss customized options for addressing any water issues you may have.
  2. Laboratory Water Analysis: Our IL-EPA certified lab test helps to uncover harder-to-detect contaminants, such as arsenic and lead. Based on the results from the free, in-home water test, your Culligan Water Expert will determine whether lab testing is necessary. If conducted, your water sample will be sent to our lab for in-depth testing. You should receive the results in approximately three days, at which time a Culligan Water Expert can discuss their personalized recommendations with you.