What Is TDS In Water? Should I Test My Water’s TDS At Home?

If you came to the filter stores, you might have heard about TDS from the staff, as they use TDS level as a measure to give suggestions for a suitable water purifier. In fact, a TDS meter alone can not help you determine contaminants. You could possibly buy a more costly filter machine than you need if you only base it on the high concentration of TDS.So, what is TDS in water? Should I test my water’s TDS? Follow our article below to check your water and determine if you actually need a quality filter or not!

What Is TDS In Water
TDS measurement tool.

What Is TDS In Water?

As water is solvent, it will absorb particles and sediments into it and create total dissolved solids. TDS, or total dissolved solids, is a general index that indicates the amount of total organic and inorganic (not including H20) contained in drinking water.

People use the TDS to check their water’s quality, as it is an accessible and simple measurement. 

If the TDS shows 100ppm, you know that your water is low in both organic and inorganic compounds and lacks mineral contents. Meanwhile, when the value is over 1.200ppm, your water contains a huge amount of dissolved solids. It is likely to have a high level of undesirable contaminants!

Normally, it is acceptable if the TDS measures between 300 and 500.

Total dissolved solids in water
Total dissolved solids in water.

Types Of TDS In Water

Here we come with details of common types of TDS that can represent in your drink water:

Organic substances can be Algae, Fungi, Bacteria, Herbicides, Fertilizers, Hair, Pharmaceuticals, Pesticides, and Disinfectants. Inorganic substances include Chlorine, Lead, Calcium, Mercury, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Fluoride.

Where Does TDS Come From?

The total dissolved solids can come from both natural and manufactured sources. 

Natural agents would consist of lakes, rivers, springs, plants, and soils. Artificial factors are agricultural runoff,  industrial wastewater, sewage, plumbing pipes, and water treatment plants.  

What Is TDS Not Measuring?

The answer is contamination levels or safety. With a TDS result, you can not know exactly whether your drink water is healthy or harmful or not, as it simply shows you the total dissolved solids amounts.

To be more specific, you could get a high TDS, but actually, there are no harmful substances in water. That happens because some good minerals such as Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium can cause high TDS. Still, those are beneficial for your health.

Even when there are some harmful contaminants in your water, the TDS could be at a low level. Some heavy metals such as lead or pesticides contaminants possibly will not be revealed through a TDS measurement result.

Should I Test My Water’s TDS?

YES, you totally should. By finding out the total dissolved solids, you can better understand the water quality you consume. Since it can indirectly affect your health through the plumbing system, cooking, or cleaning, it is vital to grasp the number of TDS! 

As we’ve mentioned above, a high result of the TDS meter indicates that your water contains many contaminants. Meanwhile, a low-level TDS indicates that your water lacks mineral contents and is low in organic. 

You can follow the water chart to know details about the TDS level: 

  • Less than 250ppm: The TDS is too low; your water lacks necessary minerals such as Calcium, Zinc, and Magnesium.
  • From 300ppm to under 500ppm: The TDS is ideal and good for drinking water. 
  • From 500ppm to under 900ppm: The rating for this level is fair. It would help if you considered using a filter system.
  • From 900ppm to 1200ppm: With this TDS level, you should not drink the water.
  • Above 1200: The rating is unacceptable. Water at this level is unsafe and harmful to your health. Even a filter system can not remove all contamination!

What Happens To The Water When The TDS Level Is High? 

A high total dissolved solids level alone is not a health hazard to human health, as some people still buy high TDS water. However, if the concentration of TDS is over 1000, it is unsafe, and you must find a solution for this issue!

According to the EPA (The United States Environmental Protection Agency), TDS is only a secondary standard in drinking water regulations.

Here are some main characteristics of water with high TDS meters:

 water with bad taste
Disgusted woman drinking water with bad taste isolated on white at side

1. Weird Taste:

With a medium-high level of total dissolved solids, your water can be a bit bitter and smell unpleasant. The reverse osmosis system or ceramic water filter would help to solve this problem! Furthermore, those systems can also eliminate some harmful ingredients such as lead or copper.

A high level of lead can cause light damage to the nervous system and even cause nausea!

2. Shorten The Appliances Lifespan:

If calcium and magnesium dissolve into water, it can lead to high TDS. They can accumulate in pipes or water taps that can shorten your appliances’ life. That will undoubtedly cost a lot of money to replace and fix!

3. Change In Food Taste

With an under 1000 ppm level of TDS, it will lead to a significant change in the taste of your dish. For example, with a high level of Clo in water, your pasta or rice can absorb unpleasant tastes after cooking. In this case, a carbon filter will solve the problem effectively. 

4. Result In Fade Clothes Or Water Spots On Dishes 

If there are some water spots on dishes or the clothes fade after washing, these can result from a high TDS level of water. A water softener or filtration system could decrease the TDS level perfectly!

5. Toxic Elements In Plant

On the contrary, 900ppm to 1100ppm TDS water could benefit vegetables and flowers with hydroponics. This is because two substances usually create a high concentration of TDS, potassium, and nitrates, great for some types of flowers like roses. However, please check the elements thoroughly because some toxic solids can exist that cause damage to your plants!

How To Measure My Water’s TDS?

Using a TDS meter seems to be the simplest way that you can apply to measure total dissolved solids in your water. If the TDS shows 100ppm, it means that in 1.000.000 particles, there are 100 dissolved ions and the others are water molecules. 

When measuring water filtration at home, a TDS meter or a TDS testing kid would help. In detail, you only need a glass of your water, then submerge the meter’s probe into water and read the displayed result.

With a reverse osmosis system (RO system), you can calculate the TDS percent rejection in your water following the below steps:

  • Submerge the tester probe into the tap water sample. Observe and record results to get the TDS of raw water.
  • Pour RO water that is extracted from the RO faucet into a glass, and submerge the tester probe into the RO sample. Continue to record results.
  • Use this formula to calculate the percent rejection:

%Rejection = (Tap TDS – RO TDS)*100% / Tap TDS

Tips To Reduce TDS In Water

Let us show you three tips to reduce these TDS in your water for a safer and healthier lifestyle.

1. Reverse Osmosis System

RO system is a useful filter that helps you remove contaminants effectively. Unfiltered water, under the pressure of the system, reaches the semipermeable membrane. Here, small pores on the membrane will block small dust and total dissolved solids while allowing pure water to go through.

 Reverse Osmosis System
 A Reverse Osmosis System.

2. Deionization System

Many people prefer the deionization systems, as its finished product has a high pure rate. This system works based on ion exchange and controls ion’s electrical charge. Ions from your water will replace charged ions from total dissolved solids.

3. Water Distillation

Water distillation is a purifying method that happens naturally through evaporation. Specifically, the distiller converts water liquid into vapor and collects clean water. As dissolved solids and contaminants can not turn into vapor, this method will retain and eliminate them. 

Arguments About TDS

There are some controversies around using TDS. Though this method is easy, cheap and everyone can perform it at home within a few seconds, it can not show adequate water quality parameters. A high level of TDS also can not prove whether the water is harmful to health or not.

In fact, the measuring of chlorine, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, or pesticides all require complicated and costly checks in water labs. The water company supplying you daily has to carry out an everyday test on their water to conduct a quality report that you can check online.

A water filtration system.

Final Thought

After reading this blog, we guess that you now know the answer to the question, “What is TDS in water? Should I test my water’s TDS”? Although this measurement method can not give you details of contamination concentration, it can help you recognize whether your water lacks minerals or contains too much high metal content or not. 

If you want to know the exact type of filtration system for your house, a professional and adequate check in the lab will give you the most precise answer.

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