Water in my NYC apartment tastes funny. How to test it?
August 9, 2021 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I live in NYC. The water in my apartment tastes funny. I'd like to have it tested, or test it myself. What can I do, and what resources are available to me?

I live in a high-rise building that was built in the 1970s. Previously I lived in a different apartment on a higher floor (and a different "line"), and the water tasted fine. The water in my new apartment tastes "mineral." Everybody who comes over notices it. I started using a Britta filter, and it doesn't make a difference. My kitchen was renovated within the past year or two, although I don't know if that's relevant.

How do I find out what's going on with my water? What resources are available to me from the city? And what can I do on my own? Are there any good testing kits I can buy? Assume I can spend some money on this. Also assume that my landlord and super are useless.
posted by panama joe to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Does running it for an extended period of time cause it to taste better? If it does that can help you narrow down the source of the issue.
posted by Ferreous at 10:11 AM on August 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Definitely get a water test kit from the city, I've got a mailer from Chicago sitting right next to me to request one here.

But if there's a difference in taste between your kitchen and bathroom, unscrew the aerator on your spigot. All kinds of shit can get trapped in there--especially after there's been work done like after a reno.
posted by phunniemee at 10:26 AM on August 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: That test kit seems like a good idea, but it only appears to test for lead. Are there other test kits I could get, if I was willing to pay for them>
posted by panama joe at 11:29 AM on August 9, 2021

Sure--are you a Wirecutter kind of person, or more of a Bob Vila?
posted by box at 12:16 PM on August 9, 2021

Try contacting your water company. Many of them have labs and will come out and do sampling/ testing (often for free). I do not suggest the test kits you get at the hardware store or the companies that send you a bottle to fill. Certain tests can only be done at the time of sampling and many tests require special bottles or preservation (like ice). The water company lab will also know what is normal for your area.

As far as diagnosing your problem. Taste the water from the tap and then let the water run for a few minutes and try it again. Use a glass cup (no plastic) and smell/taste the water away from the sink. Try this with other taps in the house. Also check under the sink for a filter system or a whole house system. All this testing can help you figure out if it's a single tap or the whole place. If you live in a high rise, I would also wonder about backflow issues.

I'm a drinking water scientist and this is what we suggest to customers having water quality issues. Good luck!
posted by jraz at 9:51 PM on August 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

« Older How accurate is the Hollywood stereotype of what...   |   What do you wish you knew before you headed off to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.