A few people have asked me lately about "Free Water Test" offers like shown, that they have seen displayed on racks near the check out areas of some large stores.
What are they?
Basically, they are kits which allow one to send in a tiny sample of tap water, using a postage paid envelope, which is then received by a business which sells water treatment systems for the home.
These free offers are promotional tools which businesses use to introduce themselves and make an appointment to visit a homeowner. In addition to a receiving a water sample, they will also have received a completed survey about whether one lives in a house, condo or apartment and whether the home uses water filters. More subjectively, the survey also asks about water concerns one may have including chlorine smells, staining, smells, scaly deposits on faucets, hard water and cloudiness.
However, please be aware that from a health sense, the water sample sent in the tiny vial is much too small for identifying the level of health risks, including that for lead or other dangerous substances, which are standards mainly set by government. This means that health concerns and recommendations about drinking water safety would be better addressed by a certified water testing lab and/or a government health department. In all likelihood, the "Free Water Test" as advertised, is a free phone call or email from a salesperson pitching a whole house water treatment system costing $1,000's of dollars, a service which one may, or may not need.
From reviews and comments one may read on the Internet, it's easy to see that water treatment for the home is big business and a necessary service for some households. However, it's up to the individual to be informed about what is a convenience versus a necessity for filtering or treating water in their home.