The Best Way to Test Your Water

The Best Way to Test Your Water
By Mark Timmons
More from this author

A good detailed water analysis is vitally important, especially if you are on well water.  A thorough water analysis is like a blood test or x-ray for your water and is the ONLY way that you can really know what is in your water so that you can properly treat it.  The problem is:  many water tests are expensive and if they aren’t, they are not very accurate.

Before I tell you the best way to test your water, let me tell you a couple of ways that aren't generally going to deliver accurate and relevant results.

  1. Don't buy a Do-It-Yourself Test Kit on Amazon or at a big box store like Lowes or Home Depot.   The USEPA has never granted certification for the D.I.Y. test kits you see everywhere. The results from using color-changing test strips are highly unreliable in many cases. Sure, it can serve as a good "indicator" on some contaminant, but don't rely upon it.
  2. Don't call a water treatment dealer to give you a Free Water Analysis.  A Free Water Test simply means that a dealer is likely going to send a salesperson making 20 to 30% commission out to your house with a test kit that looks like the one to the right.  It uses colored water as an indicator and usually only checks for seven or eight contaminants at most. (photo below)

I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that the USEPA has never granted certification for the D.I.Y. test kits you see everywhere and of course, those water tests which are done with a few vials and beakers of colored water are not always accurate, besides the fact that they only test for just a few contaminants.

Beware of  free water tests. Most of these companies test for less seven or eight water parameters such as pH, hardness, iron, hardness, chlorine and maybe a few others, but they really don't provide any contaminant information at all - they just want to sell you their water treatment equipment. Don't be fooled and don't settle for anything less than a professional drinking water laboratory.  To properly test your water, a laboratory needs testing equipment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, equipment like the following:

  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry
  • Chemically Suppressed Ion Chromatography
  • Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry
  • Multi-channel Continuous Flow Analyzer
  • Discrete Segmented Flow and Flow Injection Analyzer

Some companies are charging $99 for just 12 contaminants.  Our US Water Professional Lab Water Test provides 34 contaminants at $49.95  ... and we will give you  $100 back when you buy a whole house water treatment system from US Water Systems that we recommenmd.  Testing your water is serious business.  Go with the Best Water Test in America - only from US Water Systems. One final thing to think about:  Who is better to trust to test your water - a water dealer with a vested interest in selling you something or an Professional Water Testing Llab who just will report the facts to you? We also want to sell you water treatment equipment, but we want to base it on solid science so that we can recommend the right system and guarantee that it will work!

Water Treatment Salesman's "Demonstration" Kit
August 16, 2019
February 14, 2017 at 8:13 AM
Our city switched to chloramines two years ago, which I found out when discussing our skin issues with friends. Son has had eczema since birth, which has erupted into what looks like heat rash on the lightest parts of his body. Telling him to take yet another shower doesn't seem to help. Baby powder does seem to help in the summer. We've all had terrible dandruff, brittle hair, and dry skin (sheboric dermatitis). I have low iron, which has developed into anemia despite huge supplements and dietary changes of heme and non-heme sources. It seems like my iron levels plummeted as soon as the water changed. When I showered at my mother's house (well water), my skin was noticeably less blotchy and my hair looked a lot less frizzy than it does when I step out of my own shower. My home was built in 68 and has mostly copper piping. I'm not sure if the chloramines are pulling copper, lead, or ammonia, but something is definitely going on with my water. Can I urge my city to cover a water testing on my taps at their expense? Is that reasonable considering the recent changes to our water? I'm used to calling and writing things down for my son's doctor. What kind of test would you recommend for my situation? There is a lot going on and we are simply living with it as it escalates.
Mark Timmons
February 14, 2017 at 3:51 PM
I am going to use your question in tomorrow's blog.
March 26, 2017 at 3:35 AM
Hello. We live in central Florida and have a 140 foot well. The well has a rather strong sulfur smell to it. We purchased a rainsoft Ec5 system which appeared to work for awhile but with the smell returned withind a few months. They changed the resin and chlorinated the lines. After multiple attempts they ended up putting a stiner pump chlorinating system on it right before the system. This once again appeared to help but it didnt solve the problem completely. We currently have the following issues when we first use the water in the morning the cold water will smell. Its a stronger then the normal sulfer smell and then will eventually go away after a minute or so (It is definitely the water checked/ cleaned the drains) If we put the water in a cup and let it sit for a few minutes the smell goes away aswell. Hot water always has the rotten egg smell. 2. The shower we use the most stains the grouting a redis color. I was wanting to know if there might have an idea whats going on? Also i do not like the idea of adding household bleach to the stiner pump holding tank to some what mitigate this issue and was looking into the aeration system you advertise but not sure if that the right option seen it states not recommended for sulfur. Any help or suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated.
Mark Timmons
March 26, 2017 at 10:30 AM
The solution is simple; Hydrogen Peroxide! Aeration is not a good way. Neither is chlorine. Watch these videos:
Scott Nelson
January 14, 2018 at 11:35 AM
Where can I purchase the test referenced? US water systems has a test for $89.95 for 38 contaminants. I don't see a test for $49.95 for 95 contaminants...
Mark Timmons
January 14, 2018 at 12:13 PM
That was a great test and they had quick turn-around time. We loved the lab that did it and then... BOOM! <strong>They went out of business.</strong> The 38 contaminants for $89.95 is the best deal on the market now. We will continually look for better deals, but there are none out there at this time.
February 5, 2018 at 9:51 PM
Just like Scott Nelson, in the comments above, I can't find the product you're advertising in your online store. You're advertising a water test kit (above) for $49.95 that includes free shipping both ways, which tests for 95 contaminants, but that product isn't actually available as far as I can tell. I can only find the following: 37 Contaminants for $89.95 107 Contaminants for $199.95
Mark Timmons
February 10, 2018 at 8:33 AM
The lab who did the $49.95 test went out of business. It was the best test and buy we have ever had but I guess they went broke. The two tests you listed above are the only ones we now have.
May 29, 2018 at 11:38 AM
we have high nitrate levels in our well. Is this unsafe for us and our dogs and if so what can we do?
Mark Timmons
June 2, 2018 at 10:48 AM
High nitrate levels can be very dangerous. How high is the level? We have nitrate filters like this for thge whole house: or you can use reverse osmosis for drinking:
Craig Hirt
September 8, 2018 at 11:12 AM
I have calcium build up in plumbing fittings. will electronic de-calcifier attached to the copper main line work to solve the problem? should one be attached to both hot and cold lines?
Mark Timmons
September 8, 2018 at 12:27 PM
My learned opinion as a Master Water Specialist is one word is "NO!"
john a
October 25, 2018 at 7:48 PM
want a free water test
Mark Timmons
October 27, 2018 at 5:48 PM
Semd us a bottle - we will test it for iron, hardness, pH and nitrate.
Nate Taylor
November 12, 2018 at 3:11 AM
I live in agricultural area. Does test include pesticides, herbicides and other runoff possibilities? Thanks
Mark Timmons
November 12, 2018 at 8:48 AM
This test is very comprehensive for pesticides:
Erin Leslie
August 15, 2019 at 10:39 PM
I am wondering what all you test for? Do you test for lead? We rent an apartment in an older building off the east coast of Florida and are worried about what the water pipes are made of. Our water has some major issues, its city water, we have talked to the city and they have assured us it's not their water that's the problem. (We have a good friend that works there so we trust him) We have had brown sludgey/snotty substances come out of our sink, if we fill the bath tub the water is bright green/yellow with black flecks in it, and it just tastes funky. We won't drink it or even brush our teeth with it. It makes our skin very itchy and it was causing my hair to break until I installed a shower head filter. Our landlord is cheap and not understanding so I wanted to get my own test done before I discussed anything with him. I know the pipes have had issues but he never wants to spend the money to properly fix them. I thought if someone found lead in the pipes he would be forced to get them fixed but you never know. Just curious what your professional opinion is and the best test to get done for this? Thanks!
Mark Timmons
August 16, 2019 at 5:11 PM
This is our lab test than includes Lead: