TDS Water Levels, What Your Plumber Isn't Telling You

Something you should know:

The other day I had a plumber (from a large outfit) come out to charge me an exorbitant amount to pull sediment out of my bathroom water pipes in my city with a crap water system. But the real issue was that during our plumber visit, our guy was talking about water purifier systems for the home.

As he was wrapping up, he beckoned us over to the kitchen sink, filled a test glass with our tap water and then dipped a testing device in it. Within a minute or so, he announced with much wisdom and insight that our TDS water levels in our water was at 879! (That's 879 mg/L)

We asked what are TDS levels normally? (As our eyes began to widen)

He replied that normal or optimal number is around 100 or under.

Holy f*!, 100 or under, and our water is at 879!!! Call 9-1-1, hurry, we're dying!!!

(Note, that at no time did our plumber make a point to truly warn us that our lives were in danger, nor, that we were safe or not from it.)

We then asked him to test our no-name brand bottled water from the store, and it came in at a 10! A ten! We were impressed with our bottled water, but asked him to test our other brand bottled water, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, which came back with a TDS level of 130!

We were totally convinced we were dying right there on the spot and that we decided that we would always buy that no-name brand bottled water, even saying we'll never buy that bottled Mountain Spring Water again!

So we chatted for a bit longer with our plumber about options to save our lives before we died slow, ugly deaths and he went on his way, leaving us wide-eyed and clutching each other in abstract terror.

But then I thought, if this were so bad, how is it we've lived this long (two years in this town) drinking this water as it is? Why are we not dead yet? Are we undead now?

I decided to look up this TDS water level thing to discover exactly how horribly we were going to die!!!

Turns out that a TDS number is something used by companies that seems to be nothing but a sales push to sell their own water filters and jobs to install and pretty much nothing more.

Nope... TDS which is known as Total Dissolved Solids, is a measure of mostly inorganic salts and organic matter. In fact, it turns out that studies have shown that there IS NO HEALTH IMPACT with TDS levels measured below 2,000. Two thousand!!! Additionally, I noted that basically mineral and tap water have levels of around or under 200 TDS.

If you care, carbon filtration systems will not remove TDS, but reverse osmosis, ion exchange and water distillation will.

So TDS is a measure of something that is not life-threatening but instead, could be used to employ a tactic to help you decide to buy a water filtration system for your home.

If you really want to know what your water is like, there are a few ways to look it up.

Your local water company tests its own water every day and makes it's findings public, at least on a yearly basis, if not sooner. Another way, a site I found, is called the 'EWG Tap Water Database' website.  I looked up a few neighborhoods I know and found it rather enlightening. Look up yours!

Just go the link and enter your zip code. Or maybe, not.

Either way, as always, never trust a salesman or serviceman. I've been duped a few times in the past by seemingly well meaning or nice folks, but it's what they do to suck you in. In the end, it's up to you to protect your wallet and make good consumer decisions.

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