7 Tips to Ensure Safe Water for Your Home

water poured into glass

As citizens of a superpowered, first-world nation like the United States, we often pay little attention to basic amenities that are a miracle for other less-fortunate nations. One such thing is water. The labor spent behind getting water from the reservoir to your glass is extensive and follows rigorous standards.

However, even the strongest systems aren’t immune to problems. Nonetheless, there are still things within your control that can contribute to safe drinking water. We have compiled some handy tips to guide you through this.

Understanding Water Pollution

The extent of pollution in water is so insidious that we are paying our water bills to consume poison. The issue stems from the fact that pollutants are difficult to remove from our water supply. As they become diluted, it renders water quality tests inaccurate. This presents a danger to the public as pollutants are still present, albeit in lower concentrations. 

Your water supply could also play a role in determining the pollutants contaminating the water. For instance, groundwater wells become contaminated by poorly maintained landfills and underground storage tanks. 

Even pesticides, oil, chemicals, and airborne pollutants that contaminate surface waters like lakes and rivers can find their way into groundwater. 

Assess Your Water Source 

Your water source will often vary depending on your state and where you live. However, throughout most of the US, a combination of reservoirs like springs, lakes, rainfall, and underwater tables make up most of the supply sources for the average household. 

A small percentage in rural areas or without municipal water supplies receive water from the community or privately owned groundwater wells. 

Knowing this is important to find out the ideal method for water purification. You can contact your local council to answer your queries about possible contaminants and their health risks in the municipal water supply. This will help you decide on an action plan as well as gather people from your community to demand access to clean and safe water. 

Maintaining Water Quality at Home 

This again brings into question your water source. Tap water sourced from the municipality is ideally safe to drink. The Consumer Confidence Report, which summarizes water quality, is released annually to inform you about any impurities that may be present. 

On the flip side, the equation changes for those dependent on groundwater wells. If the wells are privately owned, make sure that a reliable company is responsible for drilling water wells and pump repairs as these stages are the first possible points of water contamination. You will also need to hire a professional privately to verify water quality. 

Other measures include maintenance of the plumbing and installation of water purification equipment. It must be stressed that these approaches are the bare minimum to ensure that you have access to safe drinking water. 

Have Your Water Tested 

This is especially important if you get your water sourced privately as public health agencies aren't responsible for their quality control. Even groundwater wells, usually thought to be pure, can be unsafe for consumption. Furthermore, if you live in an old house with lead pipes, your water is likely to be contaminated with lead and dangerous for drinking. 

Water tests will give you an accurate estimation of the number of contaminants. This includes determining the presence of bacteria, arsenic, and other chemicals. 

Depending on the complexity of the test, you expect to spend anywhere from fifty to several hundred dollars. Nevertheless, these costs mitigate the long-term risks of drinking contaminated water. Keep in mind that nothing is worth more than your health and that of your loved ones. 

Install a Filter 

With the advent of modern technology, there are currently numerous methods to ensure safe drinking water. If the quality control tests have come out clean, you can enjoy your tap water as it is. However, for households with young children, elderly or immunocompromised members, water filters are a wise addition. 

Following a water test that reveals the presence of contaminants, it is best to purify your water before use. There are multiple types of filters available. 

One such filter is the point-of-entry filter that removes rust, sediment, metals, and chemicals before the water enters your home. An alternate option is a point-of-use filter, which will purify the water before you use it. For large-scale water purification, you can choose to use an under-sink purifier. 

Before you select a filter, determine the contaminants that you want to filter out based on your water quality report as well as your budget. The two most common ways filters work are reverse osmosis and activated carbon.  

Activated carbon works by removing chlorine and metals like copper, mercury, and zinc, in addition to sediment. However, you will have to change the filters often. Reverse osmosis also filters out sodium, calcium, potassium, fluoride, and even lead. 

A multi-barrier approach is the most recommended method of water purification as the water undergoes a multi-step process before reaching your glass. This is ideal for households with a water source on their property. This combines the process of sedimentation, chemical sterilization, and filtration followed by storage. 

Plumbing Maintenance 

It is good to familiarize yourself with the common types of pipes available to better understand whether plumbing is affecting your water supply. 

PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene)- A popular choice among residential buildings given their reasonable price, ease of use, and compatibility with both hot and cold water. 

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) - The most popular pipe on the market and the cheapest. However, it is only equipped for cold water as the hot water can erode the plastic. 

CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride)- Similar to PVC pipes; however, these can handle both cold and hot water. 

Galvanized metal- Homes built before the '70s without major renovations are likely to be made of galvanized iron or even steel. 

Copper- An expensive material easily recognized by the characteristic color, it is more likely to be in old homes rather than newer ones. 

Despite these pipe materials being common, most residents are more concerned about the presence of lead in their pipes. Fortunately, most modern homes no longer use lead pipes. But there are some exceptions to this. 

Supply pipes that bring municipal water from the large pipes underground to your house are made of lead. In addition, metal pipes in houses before 1986 are highly likely to have lead in the solder which joins them. 

In order to reaffirm any suspicions that you may have regarding the presence of lead, seek help from a licensed plumber and request an inspection. If it reveals lead in your pipes, you will have to go for repiping your house.

Until you replace your pipes, here are a few tips to reduce the lead in your water and avoid consumption: 

  1. Turn on your cold tap to run off all the water that has collected overnight since this contains the most amount of lead. A sinkful should be adequate. Reuse that water for your plants instead.
  2. Drink bottled water.
  3. Flush your toilet, which has the same effect as the running tap.
  4. Avoid shaking or damaging the lead pipes as this causes more lead to mix into the water. 

Irrespective of the presence of lead, an annual inspection will reveal any issues with plumbing such as leaks, broken fixtures, corrosion, etc. as well as give you the advice to correct them. This will save you from more expensive renovations if such defects were hidden.

Water Use in Your House 

The way water is used in your house is another factor that plays into water pollution. You can contribute to keeping your water supply clean and healthy. Here are some ways to achieve that: 

  1. Use organic and environment-friendly cleaning products. This includes soaps. Try your local-big box store to find them. Read product labels and avoid those containing triclosan, which is a cancer-causing chemical compound and also damages aquatic organisms.
  2. Synthetic pesticides and lawn treatment chemicals are also a source of pollution. Ask your lawn treatment company and exterminator for more eco-friendly options.
  3. Expired drugs and medicines aren’t only harmful to your body but also to water. Therefore, avoid dumping them down the drain. Instead, dispose of them safely through a designated government drug collection program.
  4. Your storm drains aren't designed to be used for motor oils, cleaning products, and other chemicals. 
These seemingly insignificant acts can lead to a snowball effect that can have devastating consequences on the environment.  Subsequently, think twice about what you are washing down the drain. 


Despite countrywide efforts to ensure that tap water is suitable for consumption across all states of the US, there are still marginalized communities and rural areas that don’t have access to basic amenities like safe drinking water. 

Access to safe water is a basic human right, and we should all play our part to ensure that. Water quality maintenance can be a taxing process, but the results are worth the effort, especially in order to avoid long-term health risks.