When’s the last time you checked your family’s water supply using a water test kit? If the answer is “never” or a decade ago, don’t worry, you’re not alone—most of us don’t put much thought into our household’s water, even though we drink several glasses of it every single day.
Living in New York City—a city that often prides itself on the quality of its tap water delivered from large upstate reservoirs—I never worried about my apartment’s water quality. In fact, I didn’t even use a basic water filter. But with the news about the Flint, Michigan water crisis continuing to make national headlines this summer, my water habits made me pause. Because even if the source and treatment of your water supply is trusted, there’s still one missing factor: the pipes the water runs through in your home. While homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, it wasn’t until 2014 that new regulations changed the legal limit for “lead-free” pipes from 8 percent lead down to just .25 percent lead.
Luckily, testing water for lead and other contaminants isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, I was able to order a free water test kit (including pre-paid postage). Curious about your own home’s water quality? Here are five times you should always test your water, easy ways to test it, and the best water filter on the market.