New (to me) house water report

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Given the information, would you recommend some kind of filtration?

  • Yes, just for chlorine/chloramine that your town might add.

  • Yes, you need something to clean up stuff I'm seeing in this report.

  • No, it is fine as is.

  • No, because it is such a train wreak, you should just stick with bottled water.

Results are only viewable after voting.


Sometimes I have to remind myself
Staff member
HBT Supporter
May 13, 2014
Reaction score
Midwest USA
I see a lot of people post their water report and ask for comments, so I figured I'd do the same. I'm on city water and the sample came unfiltered out of my kitchen tap.

Ward Labs
pH: 7.6
TDS Est, ppm: 175
Electrical Conductivity: 0.29
Cations / Anions, me/L: 3.1 / 2.9

(following amounts were given in a column with a header "ppm" [parts per million])
Sodium: 29
Potassium: 2
Calcium: 20
Magnesium: 10
Total Hardness, CaCO3: 92
Nitrate: 1.2 (SAFE)
Sulfate: 3
Chloride: 14
Carbonate: < 1.0
Bicarbonate, HCO3: 135
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 111
Total Phosphorus: < 0.01
Total Iron: 0.08

The taste out of the tap isn't great. My wife thought it was a slight iron flavor, I thought it might be a little salty. I don't know what flavor thresholds are in plain drinking water, and I'm having trouble finding any resources that provide such information.

As for its usefulness for brewing, it looks low in Calcium, but the sulfate and chloride are both low too so I can add CaCl or gypsum to correct those, I think. I've read that there shouldn't be iron in brewing water at all. Sodium might be a little on the high side, but its within the 50ppm threshold I've read about, and I don't brew many hoppy beers. I'm still trying to understand Carbonate, Bicarbonate, and Alkalinity beyond their dictionary definition, and their role in brewing water.

What do you think?
Did SO4-S = 1 ppm on the Ward Labs report?

If Ward Labs reported it as SO4-S = 3 ppm, then actual SO4 = 9 ppm

It could use some Calcium Chloride.

What are the units for the 0.08 iron? ppm or ppb

Ward labs does not test for chlorine or chloramines. Campden tablets are probably the best way to address these biological kill agents.
SO4-S = 3ppm

I assume iron was given in ppm

I brew smaller batches. Is there any problem with residual materials from Campden tablets if I treat 5-8 (ish) gallons of water?
I think your water looks good, albeit Na is a bit high, but not an issue whatsoever. I would try to remove potential chlorine/chloramine, which can cause off-flavours. I am not aware of any downsides in using Campden tablets, not in the amount used for treating a few gallons of water.
You will only be adding 1/4 of a crushed Campden tablet. No downsides that I'm aware of. Many of us do it.
I use campden tablets to kill wild bugs in my fruit wines. What part of the process makes the campden tablet no longer an issue for brewers yeast? Mash? Boil?
The fact that by the time yeast are pitched all the metabite has converted into SO2 and been boiled off or has reduced something becoming, in the process, SO4--.
What AJ said, and he left out dosage. In brewing we use about 0.15 grams for all of our water. If I remember correctly from the last time I made wine it was closer to 20 grams or something like that (could be way off, it's been years)
The numbers I remember from my 1 or perhaps two wine kits and a few batches of mead were a few (4 or 5) tablets per gallon whereas with chloramine treatment it is about 40 gallons per tablet.