When buying a new home, it’s typical to focus on the features of the house or the neighborhood that it resides in. But to evaluate the true value, we also recommend asking some key questions about the home’s water. Why? Different homes in the Houston area may have wildly varying water quality so it’s hardly an inconsequential consideration. For one, having access to clean water is essential to maintaining your health and wellbeing. Second, the softer the water is in a home, the more it will help you save money with less wear and tear on your appliances and lower energy use. Here are questions to ask the seller or your realtor about:
Question No. 1: Where is the home’s water sourced from?
Many Houston-area residents don’t realize that different neighborhoods and suburbs around the city get their water from different sources. Houston’s main drinking water system gets most of its water (85 percent) from the San Jacinto River (Lake Conroe & Lake Houston) and the Trinity River (Lake Livingston). The remainder comes from various local lakes and rivers. Why does it matter? Different sources have different water quality. Lakes, for example, often see an increase in algae blooms when there is warmth and direct sunlight.
The source of your water may also contain different levels of contaminants and have varying water hardness. For example, some sources might be higher in levels of arsenic (a naturally occurring contaminant) while others might contain more limestone, which can make water “harder” due to the presence of calcium and magnesium. Understanding the source can help you then investigate the average contamination levels and whether or not you need to take action in the form of a water quality treatment solution.
Question No. 2: Is there lead piping leading into the home?
Many Houston homes are still plagued by having lead piping leading into the home. Though it was banned federally in 1986, many older homes have not replaced the piping, leading to recent disclosures about the presence of lead in the water. This is especially true of Houston’s Fifth Ward, which the Houston Chronicle suggested could be “one of hundreds of Flints” – referring to the recent issues in Flint, MI, in which children were exposed to toxic levels of lead in the water.
The new U.S. infrastructure law, which recently passed, will help boost the replacement of such pipes in the Houston area. However, with so many pipes to replace, the project isn’t supposed to be completed for decades.
What can you do?
If you do have lead pipes leading into your home, make sure to get a free water quality analysis with us. We’ll send a technician to your home and analyze your water for lead or other contaminants and get you the results fast. We also have water filtration solutions that can remove lead completely from your water supply.
Question No. 3: Is the area known for having water issues?
Whether due to the source of the water or the municipality’s (or your home’s) infrastructure, your water might have different levels of contaminants or hard water deposits. We recently produced a blog post that details the various contaminants in the Houston area but much of this can vary by neighborhood, and even by the home you live in.
What can you do to research this?
Many municipalities are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to provide a Consumer Confidence Report for their area, which looks at your area’s water quality. You can certainly start there, but also you can ask your realtor and the seller about any known issues.
Question No. 4: Does the home have a water treatment solution installed?
Having a water treatment solution of some kind (either a whole-house or point-of-use system) can certainly increase the value you get when buying a new home. For water hardness, for example, having a water softening system will mean longer-lasting appliances, less energy use, better-tasting water, and also less damage to your skin, among other benefits. Similarly, reverse-osmosis systems used to combat water contamination will also provide cleaner and healthier water. A few additional questions you can ask here:
- When was the system installed?
- When is it due to be replaced or upgraded?
- Is it currently functioning?
- What brand or solution is being used?
Question No. 5: Is there a resource near me to get my water tested?
Well, of course, that’s us at Houston Water Solutions! If you live in and around the Houston area, we’ll come to your home and test your water for contaminants and hard water deposits. And we’ll do it for free. You’ll get the results fast and then we can recommend the right solution for you. It’s that easy. You’ll get the peace of mind to know what’s in your water and what you can do about it. And then you can start life in your new home with confidence.