Having your home's water tested on a regular basis can alert you to any potential contaminants and the need for a strong filter, either for the entire house or for under the kitchen sink. While regular testing can be good, you might note a few times when it's strongly recommended that you have the home's water tested so you can avoid the risk of drinking or otherwise using contaminated water.

1. After major renovations in the home

If you've done any type of major renovations in the home, this may have disturbed the ground around the house. In turn, the underground plumbing pipes may have been damaged and suffered cracks or leaks. This can allow in sediment and other contaminants. Renovations may have also disturbed asbestos that you may not have even known was in the home, and this might settle into your home's well or surrounding topsoil, eventually making its way to your water supply. When you've had any major renovations done, especially anything that involves drilling or heavy vibrations, have your water supply tested before using it.

2. When you bring home a baby or have an elderly person move in

Babies and elderly persons often have compromised immune and digestive systems; a baby is still developing and getting stronger so that he or she cannot always fight off harmful things they eat and drink, and an elderly person's system may be weaker due to age. If either comes into your home, you might have your water tested to note if there are high levels of lead, chlorine, or any type of heavy metal or contamination that could be harmful to them.

3. When older pipes get a leak

Older plumbing pipes are often made of lead or brass, which often has a trace or mixture of lead. When these leak, it's possible that this has been caused by corrosion. This corrosion can then allow lead to drip or leak into your home's water supply. If you can afford it, it's good to update your home's plumbing to PVC or copper, or another safer material, as one leak due to corrosion may mean that other areas are ready to corrode as well. If you can't afford new plumbing, at least have your home's water tested after you get this leak addressed. You may want to install a filter to protect yourself from contamination and also note if the water gets contaminated in the future, as this might signal more leaks in your plumbing.

Contact a water testing lab for more information.