It is not new that in many parts of the world the quality of drinking water is really bad, but thanks to technological advances, today we can find a wide variety of water quality meters with which you can carry out preventive measurements to know what type of water you have. drinking.
In the water, we can find a large number of contaminants that are very harmful to health. For this reason, the collection of water in sanitary installations, the control of the quality of wastewater, the verification of the quality of drinking water, and the proper functioning of swimming pools and basins require systematic controls to guarantee the safety of sanitary water.
Physical and chemical analysis of fluid parameters is also an indispensable element of laboratory work.
The quality requirements of the water used in industry are extremely strict and guarantee the correct operation of many devices, as well as products and services in many sectors, for example, in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries, in laboratories, power plants, and thermal power stations.
Water analysis devices, together with the choice of the appropriate technology, directly affect the quality of industrial processes and the safety of their application.
Choosing a water quality meter with the appropriate certificates will ensure the highest requirements in water testing and analysis.
Types of water quality meters
As I mentioned above, there is a wide variety of water quality meters. Some for single specific use and others that are a kind of all-in-one that can analyze several factors of the water, such as PH, temperature, conductivity, and dissolved solids.
So below I will comment on each one and what type of analysis it performs:
Conductivity meters measure the electrical conductivity of the liquid to indicate the quality of the water to be tested.
The concentration of ions is the information that allows determining if the water is a weak or a good conductor (for example, in the case of seawater) and on this basis to determine its purity (pure water should not conduct electricity).
The more water contains acids and bases, the higher its conductivity. Conductivity is expressed in S/m or S/cm (Siemens/me cm).
Therefore, meters that provide accurate information about the content of electrolytes in the solution and salinity are used to monitor water quality in laboratory and field tests.
Practical in use, thanks to their compact structure and functionality, the manual conductivity meters are useful tools in professional tests carried out mainly in the field.
Laboratory conductivity meters are useful in production control, determining the salinity of seawater, and other tests that require the measurement of different quantities simultaneously, including temperature, redox, salinity, oxygen concentration, and conductivity (the laboratory conductivity meters are typically combination multimeters).
Laboratory devices are equipped with special software that allows the analysis of data over time and the creation of special marks.
Devices for measuring the oxidation-reduction (redox) potential allow the properties of the solution to be examined for the oxidation of impurities.
The redox potential also informs about the ability of the liquid to enter the chemical reaction, it works especially when controlling pool water, bathwater, since they are disinfected, so all microorganisms are oxidized.
The search for the redox potential allows determining the ease/difficulty of disinfection of a particular tank. The higher the redox potential, the higher the disinfection capacity.
Redox potential meters are useful in applications such as:
- measurement of drinking liquids
- water quality control for plant cultivation
- quality control of wastewater in industrial plants
- pool water control
They are particularly useful in aquaristics, where the value of salinity is of great importance for the species of fish that live in a specific environment.
The meters allow you to control the salinity that changes due to the evaporation process of the water.
It should also be borne in mind that salinity is highly dependent on temperature.
The information on the salt concentration allows you to react by preparing the right solution to ensure optimal conditions in the aquarium.
Salinity meters are most often found in the form of electronic devices, making it easy to measure sample solutions.
Conductivity sensors with a constant K close to 1 are used for salinity measurements of seawater and are characterized by higher measurement accuracy and stability.
Salinity meters for comparative measurements must have the function of automatic temperature compensation, thanks to which all results will be converted to results made at a constant temperature.
Water quality meters allow you to monitor many parameters, in particular the hardness of the water, which is determined by magnesium and calcium ions.
The general hardness of the water can be checked using electronic meters or droppers.
They are perfect for quick analysis of drinking, pool, or aquarium water and are indicated in °dH (German degrees of water hardness).
They are very useful for testing the water system and, among other things, installing a water softener or determining the water hardness for other appliances.
Chlorine meters are devices that allow measuring the concentration of chlorine in the water of swimming pools, baths, or industrial water treatment (cooling and treatment) and in other places using the most popular disinfectant, that is, chlorine.
Very often the concentration of bound chlorine is checked, ie after binding to ammonia-based contaminants.
Free chlorine, its concentration, is a fundamental value for the management and operation of swimming pools and bathing areas.
The values of free and bound chlorine are very important for the well-being of the people who use the pool.
The bound chlorine value must not exceed 0.2 mg/dm3 and free chlorine must be between 0.2 mg/dm3 and 0.2 mg/dm3. From 0.3 to 0.6 mg/dm3 .
After immersing the meter in water, the measurement result appears immediately on the reader.
Due to their speed and precision, they are used in swimming pools, hotels, spas, aquariums, laboratories, and wastewater treatment plants.
A professional photometer is an electronic device for the measurement of water samples and the simultaneous measurement of pH and allows the use of an adequate amount of disinfectants.
It works on the principle of the use of two light streams characterized by different frequencies and the use of carrier frequency and technology.
The analyzed sample is subjected to the action of two light beams of different wavelengths, which are regulated by the carrier frequency.
This method of action eliminates factors that obscure the test result, including turbidity, external illumination, and wear of light sources.
Oxygen meters check the oxygen content in water and are used in many areas directly related to aquarists, food processing, and industry in general.
Thanks to them, the quickly obtained information on the oxygen concentration will allow the normalization of environmental conditions in domestic ponds, water treatment stations, and industrial boilers.
Oxygen level regulation is one of the most important control factors in industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants.
How to analyze the water we drink?
Surveys suggest that a large part of the population does not feel safe with the water that comes out of their tap.
Therefore, if we are satisfied with limited but independent analysis, today there are several possibilities, for anyone to analyze or have their water analyzed.
Some tests, such as pH and fixed residues, can be done simply by using a pH meter and a residue meter or more commonly called TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).
These, however, are just the starting point for further analysis.
It should be noted that, in addition to the normal analysis on drinking water, and in addition to the many known chemical contaminants that are not included in them, there are also the so-called “emerging contaminants”, that is, the perceived, potential, or real threats to health or the environment, or due to a lack of published health standards.
Although these emerging contaminants are not regulated, their presence in drinking water has recently created a sensation, and therefore additional or separate water testing compared to standards may be performed.
This category includes, for example, PFAS (a particular class of persistent organic compounds), microplastics, and nanoparticles.
How to do a “do it yourself” water analysis?
Traditional water analysis in specialized laboratories can be quite expensive and the related reports are difficult to understand, but alternatively, there are water quality test kits that we can buy online for just a few euros.
These are aimed at the common people rather than chemistry experts.
In short, it is important for people to test their water, as this has long-term implications for their health, and for many, having a test kit means the ability to test and have peace of mind that the water coming out from the tap is fit for consumption.
There are several types of water quality measuring kits, for example, those with chemical reagents and digital electronic ones.
The former usually consist of a pack of strips containing reagents that change color to indicate the presence of various contaminants in the water.
A test kit for drinking water can test for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrites/nitrates, chlorine, hardness, and pH.
Other kits from different manufacturers could, of course, analyze different or additional parameters.
Of course, it is also possible to purchase kits for testing specific contaminants (such as lead, pesticides, nitrates, etc.), although some may be difficult to find in a specific version or your language.
However, the internet allows you to buy these kits online and at very affordable prices.
If you are concerned about the quality of the water in your home (and you should), you should buy one of the many types of water quality meters that you can find available.
Prices are very affordable, starting at $10 and up, so the price is no excuse for not having one.
And if you don’t have a place to buy it where you live, you can do it online and it will come directly to your home.
The health of your family is not a minor issue and you have in your hands the possibility of controlling the quality of the water you use both for drinking and cooking, washing dishes, etc.
And do not forget that, if the quality of the water is not good, there are several types of very efficient water purifiers such as reverse osmosis equipment, with which you can filter the water and achieve an even higher quality than bottled water.