The Truth About DIY Water Tests
Thinking of Buying a Do-It-Yourself Water Test? Read This First
Amazon.com, Lowes, Home Depot and other hardware stores are full to the brim with a variety of Do-It-Yourself "water testing kits" that claim they'll give you valuable information about the water you test in a few hours, or even just 10 minutes.
However, using water testing strips for chemical contaminants has major flaws:
- They do not test with enough accuracy.
- They do not test at low-enough levels.
- They do not test for many contaminants that also matter.
- They often create false alarms.
- They are messy and frankly, confusing.
The US EPA closely monitors environmental laboratories. They enforce strict standards on personnel and testing methods to make sure that results are reliable and valid.. There are good reasons why the EPA does NOT endorse or use testing strips or DIY kits when analyzing public water quality.
If you read some of the paid reviews on Amazon you'll likely see something to the effect of:
"If this doesn't detect it, it's too low to worry about anyway."
This is completely untrue and a disservice to anyone trying to be proactive and conscious about their health.
“What shade of blue is this and what does it mean?”
We're not used to thinking about how very small amounts of something toxic affect our health. We've all learned over thousands of years to trust our senses and only worry about something if it smells, looks, or tastes strange.
But that's not really how chronic water contamination works.
Toxic chemicals like lead have caused our minds and bodies really serious trouble since the Roman Empire was poisoned by lead in their aqueducts. Lead, like many other toxic chemicals, usually has no discernible taste, color, or odor.
In addition, businesses and industry are constantly inventing new chemicals every year. We put these chemicals in firefighting foams, furniture, socks, pesticides, plastics, electronics, and pretty much everything else. Most of the time these newfangled chemicals end up in our water supply.
The bottom line is:
Scientific research has shown time, and time again that many chemicals tested by popular DIY kits can seriously increase your risk of cancer or other chronic diseases at levels smaller than one tenth of what those cheap kits can detect.
If you want to know whether your water contains harmful chemicals at dangerous concentrations then , you are selling yourself short with a DIY home kit.
A bunch of blurry colors with iffy measurements are useless when you're making the really important decision of how to treat your water. How do you know what to prioritize? How do you know what kind of technology it's worth paying for? Are you supposed to trust the Home Depot salesman?
This is why we invented Tap Score. Our team of scientists, engineers, and designers spent a lot of time talking to people whose health had been affected by contaminated drinking water. Between working with the University of California, doing EPA funded research, and working with water companies, it became clear that the reason people didn't test their water more is because most water tests are pretty bad.
We've made testing easier, more informative, and more actionable.
You have real concerns about your drinking water. We urge you not to throw your money away on ineffective test strips.
If you have questions, then message us here.
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Basic test panel for water utility customers primarily concerned by metals, aging pipes, and infrastructure.
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Ideal baseline for testing tap water provided by a local water utility–including metals, minerals, and chlorine-related byproducts.
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Comprehensive testing for the core concerns impacting utility-provided tap water, plus analysis of radioactive particles and additional disinfection byproducts.
How can we support you?
Where to begin? What should you test for? What does it all mean for your health and safety? Answers to all your questions are always a chat or FAQ away.
What test do I need?
When in doubt, we recommend that everyone start with one of our CORE KITS, which test multiple contaminants within a single test and are designed specifically for your drinking water source.
How long do results take?
Most people receive results within 3-5 business days after the lab receives their sample. However, some tests may require additional analytical time so be sure to check each kit’s product page for the most accurate estimate.
What will my report include?
Your report will rank your water against local and federal safety benchmarks, provide a thorough breakdown of any contaminants detected and how they may be affecting your health or plumbing, and provide non-biased treatment recommendations.
Are Tap Score labs certified?
Every lab facility in our network is certified with accreditations ranging from ISO to NELAC/ELAP, Direct State, DoD, DoE, DoH and beyond. Need a specific certification? Let us know so that we can meet your needs accordingly.