There are several sources that can tell you what kind of problem(s) you have. Most cities have a health department that will take a water sample and have it tested by the state. There is usually a nominal charge for the test and they can test for more parameters that a local private water treatment company can test for. The positive aspect of their test is that they are in the business to inform and not to sell. They can tell you what the problem is but they will not recommend what you will need to correct that particular problem. The opposite is true of private water treatment dealers in that their primary purpose is to sell. While they do inform, the information they get will be used as a basis to determine the equipment you will need to purchase in order to correct a given problem. Unscrupulous dealers will oversell you something and ignore your requests for help.
Knowing this, what do I do?
I would suggest you start with a private treatment company. Pick two or possibly three companies to come out and test your water. Some suggestions, however: Since they will be trying to sell you something, the test should be free unless you are a renter. In regards to renters, the majority of landlords are not receptive to having anything attached to their plumbing because of the possibility of leaks and faulty installations. Also, if a renter purchases a filter system and defaults on the payment, then the newly installed filter becomes the property and responsibility of the landlord.
Most water tests should take from thirty minutes to an hour. When the test lasts beyond that time frame it is usually because there are a lot of water problems. You have a lot of questions and most professional salespeople will bring a demonstration kit. When someone does a demonstration presentation of what the equipment will do for you remember this; these demonstrations are designed to sell equipment and they do work. Most of the time, the salesperson will walk away with a sale. Do not fall for being told the price will change tomorrow if you do not take advantage of the deal today. Any time you feel extra pressure to make a decision, discontinue the discussion. Get everything told to you in writing. Take the salesman’s business card and keep it with the proposal. If possible, go to their store and check out the equipment that is being proposed to you. Check their references–ask for any customer’s phone number who lives in your neighborhood and call them and see what they have to say. Water treatment equipment is an appliance that corrects a given problem. It is also an investment. You do not want to be saddled with something that does not work properly or having to work with a company you hate to deal with.
The Bottom Line
There are three price ranges with quality water treatment equipment: expensive, more expensive, and obscenely expensive. It will be your choice as to which one to buy. Our next blog will continue a discussion of well water and how to use the color of stains to give you an indication of what kind of problem you have.