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Know Your Water

person filling up water bottle at kitchen sink
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Know Your Water

Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can't see, taste or smell lead when it is dissolved in water. The water in your home most likely comes from either a public supply or a private well. The only way to detect lead is by testing water from the tap. Testing your home water with a certified lab is the only way to know for sure if it contains lead. To locate a certified lab and ask for a testing kit, contact your local water provider or health department.

  • When tap water flows through lead pipes or comes out of a faucet made with lead parts, it can raise the level of lead in the water. When water has been sitting in the pipes for several hours or when the water coming from the tap is hot, lead becomes more concentrated.

  • You can use a labeled filter that is tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction and NSF/ANSI Standard 42 for particulate reduction (Class I). Make sure to change the filter as directed by the manufacturer. Only COLD water should be run through the filter. If you don't have a faucet-mounted filter, be sure to clean the mesh screen, also known as an aerator, at least every six months. Every time the water has not been used for several hours, flush your water pipes with COLD water.

  • No. You can use hot water to wash your hands, dishes and clothing for cleaning. You can also use it for showering or bathing since lead is not easily absorbed by the skin. Children should be supervised so they don't swallow the water. Boiling water will NOT remove lead. Use only cold water when filtering for cooking and rinsing food, making baby formula, for brushing your teeth and even give your pets.