Everything You Need to Know About Water Testing

There’s no overstating the importance of water, from cleaning and bathing to drinking and cooking. In fact, life and water go hand-in-hand — one couldn’t exist without the other.

It’s clear that this resource is vital — so shouldn’t we be thinking about it regularly, instead of just those moments when we need to turn on the tap?

Water deserves its opportunity to stand in the spotlight. Luckily, that’s exactly what water testing does: This is your chance to give your home’s water the attention it deserves.

Here’s everything you need to know about water testing and the valuable insight it can provide into making sure you have the top-quality water your family and home deserve.

What is Water Testing?

why water testing is importantDon’t worry — water testing isn’t about grades, and no studying is required. Instead, water testing is your chance to pull back the curtain and see what’s actually in the water running through the faucets and water-using appliances in your home.

Here are a few water testing basics:

Why Test Your Water?

Water testing services provide information about your drinking water, overall water quality and more. It can help identify any issues that may be present and point you in the direction of the best, most effective water solutions.

What Does A Water Test Look For?

Different water tests can identify different issues. Here are just a few things a water test might look for:

  • Water hardness (high levels of calcium and magnesium)
  • Chlorine
  • Total dissolved solids (dissolved salts, minerals and metals, known as TDS)
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Bacteria

Culligan’s free in-home water test, for example, can identify the presence of chlorine, TDS, hard water and more. For even more information on your water quality, you can also have water tests performed at a laboratory, where experts can look for other possible contaminants including lead, arsenic, bacteria and more.* In fact, Culligan’s IL EPA-certified lab analyzes more than 15,000 water samples every year.

How Often Should You Test Your Water?

The frequency of your water tests should depend on the source and type of your water supply. As a rule of thumb, you should test private well water annually. This is particularly important because water quality for private wells isn’t federally regulated. For municipal water, specific issues like hard water buildup, odors or discoloration are one reason to get your water tested, but there are several other situations that call for water testing as well.

What Are the Signs That You Need a Water Test?

Even if you test your water regularly, there are a few situations that suggest another test is in order. If one or more of these water issues occur, it’s best to test.

  • Moving to a new home
  • Moving to an area with well water
  • Rust stains in sinks, tubs and toilets
  • Rotten-egg odor in water
  • Spotty dishes
  • Irritated skin
  • Dry hair
  • Soap scum/mineral buildup
  • Changes in the taste, odor or appearance of your water
  • Local environmental disasters, including floods and fires
  • Reported issues with the local water supply


Does Everyone Need Water Testing?

There are two basic sources of water: a private well or the city water supply. Here’s what to know about water testing for each type:

City or Municipal Water

Many people who live in urban areas rely on city water. This water is protected by a variety of regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water regulations. In addition to setting standards that regulate the monitoring process for chemicals, bacteria and other uninvited guests in the water supply, the EPA requires the annual publication of a Consumer Confidence Report in the U.S., which includes information on the source of the water supply, water quality and more.

While these guidelines and reports provide important information, they don’t cover everything — for example, what happens to your water between the water treatment plant and your home. For this reason, city water users should make routine water testing a habit as well.

Private Well Water

If you’re one of millions relying on private wells, that means you’re most likely drawing from an underground water supply called an aquifer. This water isn’t regulated by the same environmental health or community health guidelines that protect the public water system, which means you’re responsible for checking and maintaining your water quality.

Don’t worry — you can drink well water. You just have to do a little extra work to make sure that water is as pure-tasting, clean-smelling and clear-looking as possible (not to mention free of potential health issues), which is why private well owners need water tests, too.

What Does a Water Test Tell You?

Once your water sample has been checked and tested, you’ll get the information you need to take any necessary next steps. Here’s a breakdown of a few things a water test might tell you:

  • The cause of any observed water issues: If you notice an odd odor, taste or color in your water, you naturally want to know what’s going on. A water test can tell you what’s causing these irregularities, with common culprits including chlorine, iron, dissolved solids, and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Whether your water is safe to drink: Even if you don’t notice any issues, many contaminants like lead and arsenic are tasteless, odorless and totally invisible. Luckily, a water test can identify some of those potentially unsafe elements that may be hiding from you.
  • The necessary water treatment solutions: It’s one thing to know what’s causing certain water issues, but it’s another thing entirely to identify the right solutions. Water tests come in especially handy here, helping lead you to the whole-home water filtration systemunder sink reverse osmosis system and/or water softening system you need.


Learn More About Water

At Culligan, we want to help you get the better water you deserve. Here are a few valuable resources to help you learn more about the importance of hydration, regular water testing, problem water and what you can do to improve your water quality.

Water Basics


Well Water


Water Testing


Problem Water


Schedule A Free Water Test Today

Are you ready to find out what’s really going on when you turn on the tap? You’ve come to the right place. Our free water tests are fast, simple and informative — just lead your local Culligan Water expert to a faucet and let them take care of the rest.

Schedule your free, in-home water test today.


*Contaminants may not be present in your water.