Chances are, you learned in elementary school that water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. However, some heavy metals and other debris still show up in our water, including lead. Similar to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, some states, including Texas, are discovering lead pipes in older homes. This is most applicable in homes built before 1988, before stronger regulations were enforced. In fact, make sure to ask your plumbing company if they are certified to remove lead pipes before getting any pipes fixed or replaced. That way your home can be lead and heavy metal free, leaving your water safer and tasting better than before.
Even if your tap water is safe to drink, that doesn’t mean you aren’t ingesting impurities. Microorganisms in the water could cause allergy symptoms or disease.
Consider Reliant Plumbing as your first choice for safe and clean water. We are certified to remove lead pipes and care deeply about the quality of local Texans’ water. We also offer the installation of maintenance free whole home water filtration systems. While
What is My Water Made Of?
Unfortunately, this highly depends on the area you live in. A person in El Paso might have a different water quality than a person in Austin. For example, San Antonio has hard water because most of its water comes from the Edwards Aquifer. Water quality is also dependent on a few factors such as if your pipes are made with lead and your water source. Austin has moderately hard water due to the water source being surface water. Whether your water source is in ground, above ground, or well water, it is a good idea to test your water quality before making any repairs or upgrades. Water testing kits are widely available and can give you accurate readings of your home’s water quality.
Texas has Lead.
You read that right, Texas has among the highest proportion of lead-based water lines in the country. Lead is unsafe at any level, and should be fixed as soon as it’s discovered. More than 647,000 water lines in Texas are made of Lead – about 7% of the state’s total. That puts Texas in the top 5 states with the highest percentage of pipes made of lead.
“This new survey came back with more than two times as many (lead service lines in Texas) as we previously understood”
– Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas
Another carcinogen that is possible is arsenic. This contaminant is naturally occurring in rocks, and can enter the water when the rock erodes. Arsenic also can be released into groundwater as a result of human activities, such as pesticides and or mining activities. Water filtration systems use semi-permeable membranes to filter out arsenic and other carcinogens.
Chlorine is often used most in disinfecting water. The CDC states that small amounts of chloramine does not cause harmful health effects. However, you may want to filter it out for personal reasons. In that case, you would need a water purification system that is designed to filter out carcinogens.
Overwhelming? Luckily there are a few solutions that are designed to filter out multiple types of contaminants to the water.
Water Purification Systems:
Need something to filter out possible lead, chlorine, and other contaminants? Filtration systems come in many sizes and forms. In fact some reverse osmosis (RO) systems can filter water throughout the whole home, for cooking, drinking, and bathing. However, if you are only concerned about filtering drinking or cooking water, filter systems attached to a sink are also common and widely available online or in person at a store. They usually attach via the faucet or the piping under the sink for easy access to filtered cooking and drinking water.
Whole House Water Filtration Systems
Even when tap water is safe to drink, it doesn’t mean there are no impurities. Whole house filtration systems remove impurities from microorganisms and toxins. Filtering out impurities offers reduced allergy symptoms, disease and healthier skin and hair. Whole house filtration systems also elongate the life of home appliances and plumbing systems. Plumbing companies, such as Reliant Plumbing sell the water filtration systems and installation. Our techs are trained to install Halo 5 whole house water filtration systems, among others.
Does your water have high concentrations of calcium or magnesium? Water softeners are designed to absorb these minerals in resin beads and release sodium as a result. More specifically, water softeners have polystyrene beads that are charged with sodium chloride ions. If your home has water provided by a limestone underground aquifer, such as Edwards aquifer, then you may have pretty hard water. Limestone basins are notorious for depositing calcium and magnesium into your water. In this situation, a water softener can eliminate the excess magnesium and calcium.
Top 3 Sources of Lead in Texas
The CDC says lead is an extreme danger to health and child development, even in small amounts. As a result, they have also discovered the three most common places lead leaches into the water supply.
- Lead Pipes
When water leaks on unprotected pipes, it can cause corrosion of the metal. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. Luckily the Safe Drinking Water Act provided stricter enforcements of clean drinking water, free of heavy metals. However, homes built before this act can experience elevated lead levels in the water.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I test for lead?
You can test for lead with water testing strips. These kits are widely available online and can test for multiple contaminants.
Should I get a water softener or a water purification system?
You should only need a water softener if you have hard water. Hard water is commonly described as water with high levels of magnesium and calcium. A water softener takes out access calcium and magnesium.
A water purification system filters out things such as chlorine, lead, and arsenic. Although your tap water may be safe to drink, a water purification system can provide peace of mind with water stripped of impurities at your home. It can reduce allergies, improve water quality for healthier skin and hair, and elongate the life of your home appliances and plumbing system.
What can I do about my lead pipes?
The only solution that provides long term benefits is to remove the pipes containing lead. Make sure to ask your plumber if they are certified to remove them.