If you just bought an older home, you may have some lead pipes in your plumbing. Since the news has highlighted the danger of lead in your water, you may wonder what options you have to protect your family from this contaminant. First, do not panic. You can make your water safer to drink by talking with a professional, like T.C.R. Rooter & Plumbing Repair, and by employing several different methods:
If your home was built in the mid-eighties or earlier, you probably have lead pipes. Even new pipes contain a small amount of lead. Although you may have lead pipes, they may not be poisoning your water. The only way to tell if you have high levels of lead in your water is to have it tested by a professionally certified laboratory. You can ask your supplier about the levels in the water source, but they do not account for any leaching your pipes may be doing. Having your own water tested is the only way to know your lead levels for certain.
If your home's water tests at under 15 micrograms of lead per liter, you can try simply flushing out your pipes each day to eliminate most of the lead content. If water has been sitting in the pipes for an hour, you need to run the water for one or two minutes so that you get "fresh" water. You will need to test the lead levels again after flushing, but if they are low enough, you really do not have to take any other measures for the time being other than avoiding using hot water to cook or drink. Hot water gathers more lead from the pipes than cold water does.
Installing water treatment devices can relieve some of your lead worries. Although you can buy whole-house filtering systems, many "point-of-use" options exist. You can buy simple faucet filters to help purify your water, but you need to make sure they have the ability to work on lead. Also, you can try an under-sink filter that prefilters impurities before the final filter reduces lead content. Experts warn that you must properly maintain these devices for them to remain effective.
Of course if you have the money, replacing your lead pipes with safer, contemporary pipes is the best solution, especially if your water's lead levels are high. Consult with your plumbing professional about performing this job. In the short term, you can keep your drinking water safer by having it tested, flushing it, and taking a few steps to minimize your lead exposure.