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What Water Testing Is Looking For

water-testingNot all homes in Phoenix need to have special water treatment systems, but many do. You may have already noticed signs in your house of subpar water quality, such as unusual odors from the water, cloudiness, mineral deposits, or an unpleasant taste. Even if you don’t see any warning signs, it’s still a good idea to have the water tested every few years. If you’ve never arranged for water testing in Phoenix, AZ, we strongly advise calling us to arrange for this service. If the reports we receive from the lab show high levels of impurities, we can offer whole-house solutions such as water filters, a reverse osmosis system, a chemical feed pump, or water softener.

Water testing runs samples of water from around the house through a series of laboratory test so we can present you with a detailed report. If you’re curious what, exactly, water testing is actually looking for, we’ll go over some of the details below.

Coliform bacteria

Coliform bacteria is a group of microorganisms, many of which are harmful to people’s health, causing illnesses such as dysentery. The presence of coliform bacteria in your water is a warning that there is sewage contamination entering the freshwater. Coliform bacteria is also found in the soil and can be washed through groundwater and into pipes. Most water will have a small presence of coliform bacteria, but anything higher will be a large red flag on the lab report.


Nitrates are chemicals found in fertilizers and waste from septic tanks. Natural bacteria in soil can also be converted into nitrates. Nitrates can make their way into fresh water through irrigation systems. Nitrates are harmful, particularly for infants, because they reduce the ability of red blood cells to transport oxygen. Nitrates are most often found in well water, which is why we strongly recommend annual testing for any home that draws its water from a well.


Hard water is water with a high mineral content. The main hard water minerals are magnesium and various calcites. These minerals are not harmful for you to drink, but if they are in too high a concentration (grains per milliliter) they will affect the plumbing and make it hard to bathe, shower, and keep the house clean. Hardness is one of the more common findings in water testing, and usually requires a water softener to correct.

pH Levels

A.k.a. acidity/alkalinity. The pH level of pure water is 7. Higher means more alkalinity; lower means more acidic. Acidic water can cause damage and corrosion to the pipes and also pose health risks. The general range you want to see in your water’s pH levels is 6.5–8.

Sulfate sulfur

This gas dissolved into water is the source of the “rotten egg” smell that often affects household water. Not dangerous to drink, but something you would still rather have eliminated.


Chloride is a major part of water treatment and high concentrations can sometimes end up in residential water. It can create a salty taste to the water, and high levels of it in the water can be harmful for people who are on a low-sodium diet due to high blood pressure.

Call The Sunny Plumber Phoenix for water testing. Bright and Shiny and won’t show our hiney.

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