Common Water Problems Found in NH

Listed here are some of the most common drinking water problems we find in New Hampshire. Not only can these affect your health but also can make maintaining your home challenging – we have all seen those ugly stains in the bathroom sink and on plumbing fixtures! Premier Home Inspection Services offers a variety of water testing options to help keep your family healthy and your house functioning smoothly.

All of our samples are collected and brought to an independent laboratory for analysis. Water testing usually takes three days and the results will be emailed directly to you and your agent if requested. We know the real estate industry has short deadlines, and we make every effort to obtain water samples before your inspection so you will not be kept waiting for results.

Are you looking for information about water filtration systems? We are proud to be one of the first inspectors in the state to be certified for the evaluation of water filtration systems, thanks to our good friends at Secondwind Water Systems.

Radon (Water)

Radon is a gas produced by the decay of the radioactive elements uranium and radium. This comes from the bedrock under our homes. It is colorless and odorless. The gas can be found in the soil and released into the well water. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon mitigation systems for water depend on the levels in the water. Typically they consist of aerators that introduce air into the system, removing the gas before it enters the home’s plumbing system.


Arsenic is naturally found in wells from the fractured bedrock that occurs during the drilling process. Agricultural and industrial practices can increase the presence of arsenic. When in water, even at high levels, it has no color or odor. Over time, drinking water with arsenic can cause it to accumulate in the body and lead to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders. Since arsenic is not absorbed through the skin, the remedy would be a Reverse Osmosis drinking water system.


Metallic elements that are commonly found in soil and rock. Sometimes iron pipes can also be the source of iron in the water. High levels of these minerals often cause orange or brown staining on fixtures, appliances, and clothing. They are not considered health hazards but may give the water an unpleasant, bitter, metallic taste.

Hard Water

Hard water is defined as a mineral dissolved in the water with a positive electrical charge. Hardness in water will appear as mineral deposits in bath tubs, showers, faucets, and even appliances-anywhere water may sit. It can also make our hair feel dried out. Water heaters can also be affected and it reduces their efficiency. The mineral deposits build up and act as insulation on the heating coils, thus reducing heat transfer to the water. Water softener installation is recommended for this concern.

Bacteria, Coliform or E-Coli

If you have E.Coli present in the water this is a very high concern. E-Coli originates only in intestines of animals and humans. This indicates that animal or human waste is entering the water supply. Do not consume this water! A qualified specialist is required to evaluate further.

Total Coliform Bacteria

The presence of these bacteria do not necessarily indicate harmful bacteria. However, there is a small chance that it could be harmful and therefore consumption of this water is not recommended. This kind of bacteria can be from plant or soil contamination. In most cases the water needs to be sanitized and should be addressed by a qualified professional.

Low pH level / Acidic Water

Low water pH is a concern, as this means the water is acidic. A neutral pH level of 7.0 is ideal. For example, a pH of 6.0 would mean the water is roughly 10x more acidic than water in a neutral state, and it will slowly eat away at any copper plumbing lines, fixtures, appliances, etc. This can cause the plumbing to wear out much more quickly than normal. Sometimes this will cause red or blue/green staining on porcelain fixtures (if the plumbing lines are metal). Low pH does not affect our health but may taste a bit coppery if dissolving the pipes. The remedy would likely be a neutralizer system.