When I move into my new house, I plan on picking up a water profile for $16 showing PH, and mineral additives, but how often should one do this? I am assuming that it doesn’t need to be done for years unless something changes.
The water profile will change with the seasons and the weather, but the change is slow and usually not very large, maybe a 10ppm spread per a mineral.
I know that last winter 2010-2011 St. Paul water had magnesium at 8 ppm, after all the snow melt and rain in 2011 that number was down to 3ppm and is just now coming back up showing 5 ppm currently.
I guess my point is that the changes are so slow, minor, and will typically stay in a set range that one test for a well is all you need. If you find you beers tasting far different after several years you may want to get another test, but I doubt that will occur.
If you are on some sort of municipal water system they usually test it at 6 mo intervals some although will do only 1 yearly analysis it all depends some like St Paul list monthly, dont know what EPA requires etc…might just be up to a county, city variable. So anywho the wards lab test is valuable but if a muni does it for you I would check that route first as you might have golden tap water already. Sometimes a simple call is all it takes.
And if on a well its just good practice to test 6mo-yearly just for biological/ chemical concerns depending on your exact water table and/ or until you learn its makeup over time then people typically cut back eventually all depends on where you are. If on a well up north you will definitely want at least an initial wards lab test to also determine your exact hardness and iron content which can be huge in some northern communities. Iron can definitely affect flavors and aromas.
I sent a test to Ward labs over a year ago (summer) and my bicarbonate was 268, sent one from a different faucet and filter in my basement and bicarbonate was 239. Other minerals did vary by a few points, nothing major. I am just going to sort of average the 2 reports and make adjustments from there. The bicarb was the biggest difference, and in either case, it is very high - so not like it changes anything I was going to be doing in regard to water adjustments.