There are a few indicators that something might be wrong with your water. Strange smell or taste are an alarm signal as well as cloudiness and color. But these observations still do not give you enough information about the kind of contamination.
An easy way to find out are water tests for tap water. They can tell you if bacteria or a number of other contaminants are present.
Here I compared a few test kits you can easily use at home. They provide the similar tests for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrites/nitrates, chlorine, hardness and pH. Most of these contaminants should be tested each year or if you have a pregnant woman in your household.
Conducting the tests is easy and reminds a bit of science day at school. The material included looks a bit cheap but works fine.
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These test can tell you if the contaminants tested for are in your water. They can not tell you the amount or give you any information about contaminants they are not designed to test for.
These tests are not suitable to test for radon or fluoride.
If you are looking for a laboratory to run further tests, click here.
What if you find lead in your water?
If you tested your tap water for lead, you probably already know, that finding it in your water is not good news. As a short term solution you could drink bottled water until you figured out where the lead comes from.
If it is already in the water before it reaches your home you probably can't do much about it. The best solution would be to filter your drinking water. An easy to use solution would be a kitchen faucet filter.
In case the lead comes from old pipes in your house, replacing them might be the best long term solution.