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Water is an essential element of life. The well-being and good health of a person depend on the quality of water used. Home water test kits play a very important role in assuring people about the quality of water they use. Contaminants, chemicals or other pollutants, if present, as well as the pH level of water can be accurately gauged.

Types of water test kits available

The appropriateness of water testing depends on the quality of the water testing kit used. Hence, its choice is very important as it defines the accuracy of the answers that can be obtained from the home testing kit.

The two types of kits being commonly used today are:

  • Water Test stripes: They are affordable, easy to use and more common of the two home water-testing kits available. One strip is added to a water sample, given a swirl and left undisturbed for a few minutes. The test strip undergoes colour changes that can be matched to the available index to understand the contaminants present and the level of contamination in ppm.
  • Colour disk kits: A few drops of water sample are added to a container containing a powder. Shaking this container will mix the water with the powder. It is then kept in the viewing box. By rotating the colour disk, the colours are matched with that appearing within the container to find the contaminant present. The colour disk kit has statistically shown greater accuracy in predicting the presence of certain contaminants like bacteria.

Testing water at home

The important steps of this process include:

  • Identification of the water source: This is important since the selection of the type of testing kit depends on it. While a basic kit suffices for testing the drinking water supplied by the city municipal corporation, well water and other such water need a more comprehensive testing kit with screening for pesticides included.
  • Selection of the testing kit: After the water source is identified, the type of testing kit to be used is chosen depending on the same. Most test kits are meant for one-time use and hence, provide accurate results. However, this home testing can be followed up with testing at a professional water-testing lab for extra surety.
  • Deciding the contaminants to be tested: Contaminants differ with different water sources. This makes it important to know the contaminants present in the neighbourhood beforehand so that the kit can be chosen accordingly. Common contaminants that most people test for include bacteria, lead, chlorine, nitrate and nitrites.
  • Ensuring test accuracy: The test result efficiency depends on the explicit following of the directions as enumerated by the test kit makers. To ensure the accuracy of water testing results at home, people must:
    • Carefully read the instructions
    • Wash the hands properly
    • Not open the testing kits unless absolutely ready
    • Use cold water and pour it slowly
    • Keep a timer ready at hand

Most professional water testing labs are so accurate because they maintain extreme hygiene and caution. Following the above methods will enhance the effectiveness of the home water testing kits. The results obtained will help to identify both the contaminants and the amount of contamination present with greater accuracy.

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