When you’re looking for a new home in the Chicagoland area, the first question on your mind might not be “What’s the water there like?” as many simply assume that it’s such a common-enough commodity that it doesn’t make a really big difference. But different homes in the area may have wildly varying water quality so it’s hardly an inconsequential consideration. We always recommend asking the following questions when talking with the seller or your realtor as having access to good quality water is essential to maintaining your health and wellbeing. In addition, having softer water will help you save money over time with less wear and tear on your appliances and lower energy use.
Question No. 1: Where is the home’s water sourced from?
Many Chicago-area residents don’t realize that different neighborhoods and suburbs around the city get their water from different sources. For the area surrounding Chicago, most of the tap water that comes into your home flows in from Lake Michigan, the Fox and the Kankakee Rivers—as well as groundwater from aquifers. For example, our headquarters of Restore Water Solutions is located in Elgin, IL, with the primary water source being the Fox River. For more on this, you can read a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, which detailed the various water sources in the local area in detail.
Why does this matter? The source of your water may contain different levels of contaminants and also 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 source 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?
Up until 1986, many Chicago area building codes mandated the use of lead pipes. After that year, it was banned federally. However, by that point in the mid-80s, more than 400,000 lead lines were already in place in and around the city – a dangerous situation due to the fact that the lead from the pipes can potentially leach into the water. While some municipalities have enacted lead corrosion inhibitors (which can prevent leaching), even small amounts can harm both adults and children. The new U.S. infrastructure law, which recently passed, will help boost the replacement of such pipes in the Chicago area. However, with so many pipes to replace in the Chicago area alone, the project isn’t supposed to be completed until mid-century.
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 such as our whole-house reverse osmosis systems 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, you water might have different levels of contaminants or hard water deposits. We recently produced another blog posts that details the various contaminants found in Chicago-area water supplies 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 Restore Water Solutions! If you live in and around the Chicagoland 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.