Does Water Testing Help You Find the Perfect Water Treatment?

Tap water is unique as your address

Simply put, everyone’s water is different, and each home has a unique set of needs for water treatment. Here we’ll share what to look for in your home for clues that you need water treatment, and then what to ask your lab to test if you’d like to get the water tested.

Water sources across the world vary from privately owned wells to lakes in the mountains to desalination plants. Understanding where you water comes from is the first step which will inform what treatment, if any, is needed.

Private well water sources have the most variability and can have very difficult and rare water problems, if this sounds like you then we recommend getting with a local water treatment professional and asking for custom water treatment. For well owners that have decent quality water straight from the source, you may be fine with our ICS water treatment. Some difficult issues that can arise in private wells but never in municipal water sources include:

  • Iron bacteria
  • Tannins
  • Glacial till
  • Arsenic, lead and other heavy metals
  • E. Coli, Cryptosporidium and other pathogens

In many jurisdictions there are laws in place to protect home buyers when they purchase a home with a private well. This standard water test is sufficient to inform about the safety of the water only and does not consider whether the water would be pleasant to live with.

Drinking Water Regulations

For most people who get their water from a municipal source, these dangerous water issues are taken care of according to law. Cascadian’s Integrated Cartridge Solutions are not suitable for homes which need treatment for these dangerous contaminants.

With the dangerous stuff out of the way, water treatment for city water is rather simple since we can rely on the compliance of the city to guarantee a certain water quality as it comes into the house.

Each year, every single municipal water treatment facility is required by law to issue a consumer confidence report. If you missed the mail with the report, you could always request it to get some basics about your water quality. These consumer confidence reports offer some insight into your specific water quality however they are not comprehensive by any means. We need to remember that the city water treatment plant is only there to keep consumers safe, not happy. So what should people in this situation test for? Here’s a list of commonly tested items in city water

  • Hardness as gpg CaCO3
  • pH
  • Chlorine (or whatever sanitizer your city uses)
  • Iron

If you water falls below 25 grain or 427 ppm hardness and has a lower than 2 ppm of chlorine and less than 3 ppm iron then you’re water is a perfect fit for a Cascadian ICS treatment system.

You’ll notice that the common water tests for city water are available in forms that can be administered at home and don’t require advanced testing equipment. These take a form similar to pool test kits and are readily available online for home use.

If the pool test strips don’t give you the confidence needed to make a purchase, then you can easily find a list of water testing labs through the EPA.

When engaging a laboratory, it’s important to be very specific on what tests you’d like performed. We’ve made a list of suggested analytes here:

  • Bacteria 
  • Turbidity 
  • Tannin/Lignin 
  • ORP (Oxidation/Reduction Potential) 
  • pH 
  • Hardness 
  • Iron 
  • Manganese and 
  • TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) 

Is testing required before purchase?

Testing your water before purchasing a Cascadian ICS isn’t required, however we do have specification sheets which describe the water quality parameters that each system is capable of treating. When you install an ICS system our guarantees are only valid when the water being treated falls within the required parameters. You may find the water quality specifications in the 'Conditions for Operation' section on the product detail pages of each ICS system.

To sum this all up, tap water quality is unique to every home. If you’ve got a private well there are some reports that are available to you during the real estate process. As a well owner, maintaining the quality of the water is your sole responsibility.

When you’re serviced by a municipal water supply there are annual reports and quality guarantees afforded by law, and this fact alone means that the water supply quality is predictable to a degree.

For most people that have city supplied water but would like to improve it our Cascadian ICS product line is a perfect fit. If you’ve lived without water treatment and are ready to see what’s right for you we recommend using our Filter Finder Quiz. This is a short quiz which we’ve developed over our years of experience that will help identify what system is right for you.