There are some easy ways you can test your water for chlorine and water hardness. The first thing you might want want to do is inquire with your local water municipality to get an idea of what’s in your water. Most cities provide results from water inspection tests performed every year that are made publicly available. While these reports are okay for obtaining some knowledge of your water quality and if it’s treated with chloramines, I don’t exactly trust them (see e.g. Flint, Michigan). Reports are also not specific to your particular home and there is a deep history of coverups, falsified reports, and so on, regarding the safety of public water. So I always check my own water. I do this primarily with test strips like the Clorox Smart Strips. Using them kills many birds with one stone. You can see the water hardness level, chlorine level, chloramine level, and even the water Ph level. I found them at a local hardware store and I’m sure most pool supply or pet stores will probably carry them. You can also buy them on Amazon for around $13-$14 if you can’t find them or prefer buying online.
When using the test strips most of the descriptions are self explanatory. However, you will need to know the difference between total chlorine, and free chlorine.
Free Chlorine = Chlorine
Total Chlorine = Chloramines. (AKA – chlorine that is bonded with another element)
Just an FYI, I noticed that the Clorox Smart Strips has some bad reviews on Amazon which which I thought was kind of silly. Apparently there’s an Android app for the strips that doesn’t work very well. I kind of laughed to myself a bit because I didn’t even know there was an app. I guess you’re supposed to be able to take a picture of the testing strip and then the app will tell you the results. Honestly, I don’t get the point of that. It takes all of one second to dip the test strip in your water and match it to the chart on the kit. Why spend all the extra time uploading photos to an app to get the same information a 5 year old can read manually in seconds? Also, the color variances on the chart are quite subtle. So I wouldn’t really trust a camera photo with capturing the true color on the strip accurately.
Anyway, if you check your water and it has high levels of chlorine/chloramines or is very hard, I would suggest filtering it.