What is TDS in Your Water?

Pesticides. Arsenic. Microscopic bits of plastics. All kinds of threatening particles are lurking in your tap water, making it less safe (not to mention less tasty) to drink. One measure of the purity of your drinking water is its TDS. 

In this blog, we’re talking about what TDS is, what causes it, and how you can keep your TDS levels in a safe range with the power of water purification technology.

What is TDS?

TDS stands for total dissolved solids. It refers to the total concentration of dissolved substances in your water. This includes both organic and inorganic salts. Inorganic salts can be further broken down into cations, which are positively charged, and anions, which are negatively charged.

Examples of cations include calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Meanwhile, carbonates, sulfates, chlorides, nitrates, and bicarbonates are all examples of anions. 

How Do These Solids End Up in Our Water?

What contributes to TDS in the first place? The causes can come from both Mother Nature and humans themselves.

For instance, mineral water naturally has a higher TDS. This is because typically, this water flows over rocks that have a higher salt content, thanks to the calcium and magnesium inside of the rocks. Plants and soil can also cause the TDS to rise.

However, it’s not only the rocks that are raising the total dissolved liquids in drinking water. Wastewater (especially from industrial sources), runoff from agriculture and busy cities, and salt that’s used to melt the ice on the roads can also increase the TDS in water. Ironically, certain chemicals that are used to treat water can also increase the TDS!



Is a High TDS Good or Bad for You?

You might think that more minerals are healthy for you, but that’s not the case. Yes, in small amounts, minerals can support our health. However, too much — especially from the wrong sources — can make us sick! 

Drinking high-TDS water, especially if you’re not used to it, can lead to gastrointestinal problems, like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It might also increase your risk of developing kidney stones

The Best TDS Level for Drinking Water

Some people think that the TDS in water mostly impacts the flavor and nothing else. For instance, very low TDS can make water taste flat. A very high TDS level can make the water taste salty and even bitter and also change how your food tastes. However, you now also know that a high TDS level in your water could also be concerning for your health.

While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some general guidelines from the Safe Drinking Water Foundation when it comes to the TDS in your drinking water:

  • 300 mg/L or less is excellent.
  • 300-600 mg/L is good.
  • 600-900 mg/L is fair.
  • 900-1,200 mg/L is poor.
  • 1,200 mg/L and above is bad.

How to Measure the TDS in Your Water

TDS meters are small, handheld devices that let you easily measure the total dissolved solids in your water. However, that’s all they do. If you find out that your TDS level is too high… then what? 

How to Reduce TDS in Tap Water

If too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, how do you reduce the amount of TDS coming out of your tap?

This is where a water purifier can help! But first, a few important notes:

  • The TDS level is only one measure of the quality of your drinking water, and we’d argue it’s not even the most important.
  • Some water filters focus solely on TDS simply because it’s the easiest to remove.
  • Meanwhile, these purifiers leave behind other particles and contaminants that can be harmful to your health, like microplastics.

So, in other words, reducing the level of TDS, in and of itself, isn’t enough. There is so much more potentially polluting your tap water.

What to Look for in Water Purification Technology

There are a few specific things you want to look for when selecting a water purifier because they’re not all created equal.

  • Reverse osmosis (RO) purification: Reverse osmosis is currently the best filtration that technology has discovered for water purification. It can remove impurities down to 0.0001 microns in size. 
      • Multiple layers of filtration: While RO is the most powerful and effective way to remove contaminants from your water, you still want multiple layers of filtration, plus UV-C purification, which is the ultimate defense against viruses and pathogens.
      • Real-time monitoring: The device should always provide current information about how pure your drinking water is. Along the same lines, it should automatically alert you when it’s time to change the filter.
  • Convenience and ease of use: The best water filter is the one you’ll use. Look for something that has a sleek countertop design with a removable pitcher, and one that can instantly dispense hot water.

  • What About Your Refrigerator Water Filter?

    If your refrigerator dispenses filtered water, isn’t that enough to get the job done? How about that Brita filter you’ve got installed on your faucet?

    Here’s the problem. Many brand names you’re familiar with don’t use reverse osmosis technology. Same with most refrigerator water filters. This means that they’re using tiny, inefficient filters that, plain and simple, can’t remove nearly as many contaminants as they could otherwise.

    If it’s not a multi-layered RO filter, then it’s not enough.

    Keeping Your TDS Levels Under Control

    Your water quality might be suffering. TDS levels might be higher than normal. Fortunately, technology can help. With the right water purifier, you can remove up to 99% of contaminants like heavy metals, arsenic, chemicals, and microplastics.

    Want to learn more about how reverse osmosis makes this possible? Read more about how Sans does water purification.

    Sans Water Purifier

    Countertop Reverse Osmosis + UV purification

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