One of the biggest enemies of a water ionizer [or any water related device is hard water.
Hard water can deposit anywhere from a whitish film to full-blown scaling and clogging, depending on your water hardness, the water ionizer model you purchase, the prefiltration you set up, the hardness reduction devices you use and the everyday care you give it.
There is a fairly simple method of cleaning your water ionizer of its scale build-up that I’m going to teach you about in this post. In high school I once did an experiment where I took a hardboiled egg and placed it in vinegar over night. I was amazed that the next day I could bounce that egg like a rubber ball. What happened was the calcium, which made the egg shell hard, was eaten away by the vinegar. Vinegar [soaked overnight] will react with the calcium clogging up your water ionizer and will loosen it up and allow you to then flush it away.
Water Ionizer Owners: How do you know it’s time to clean your water ionizer?
- If your water ionizer’s pH is dropping over time it’s time to clean.
- If your water ionizer’s flow-rate is slowing down it’s either time to change to a new filter, time to clean [vinegar wash] your water ionizer or both.
- If you see a whitish film forming around your alkaline spout [flexi-hose] it’s a sign that it’s close to time to clean.
- If it’s been a year, and/or you’re getting ready to change your filters [and you’ve not given your water ionizer a good cleaning yet], it could be a good time to clean it just for good measure!
Why Would a Water Ionizer Need a Vinegar Wash?
- Water ionizers do a good job of cleaning themselves with their acid washes, especially the Jupiter models, with their continuous cleaning methods. So, inside the water cell your electrodes would or should be squeaky clean, but there are lots of hoses & connectors inside a water ionizer that may get clogged. Calcium is a good mineral, and you need it for ionization, but at times you can have too much calcium in your water. The problem with calcium is, because of its crystal shape — it collects, sticks & clogs. That’s what calcium does. You need calcium though, because you can’t ionize water that’s too soft.
- Even if you don’t live in a hard water area, with extra calcium in your water, you may need to do these periodic cleanings to keep your water ionizer clean inside. But, particularly if you know your water is hard, plan on doing periodic cleanings or get yourself a device or two to prevent hard water build-up. You can find out the hardness [TDS & Calcium levels in your water] by calling the number on your water bill.
- If you’re noticing the need to do these periodic cleanings more than twice a year, you may want to consider purchasing a scale reducer of some sort, such as the ionizer magnet or scale guard inserts.
- If you have a programmable water ionizer, it can hopefully be programmed to your water hardness to increase the frequency of acid washes.
- You can pro-actively increase the frequency of acid washes in a way that doesn’t waste the water with this idea: Let’s say you drink your alkaline water at 9.5 pH (or Level 3), there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t push the acid water level 3 button and get your drinking water out of the bottom hose once a day. This may be a smart thing to do if you’re finding your hard water build-up to be too frequent.
- If your TDS is way too high [over 625ppm] you may even be smart to consider hooking in a reverse-osmosis-remineralizerwhich would then bring your TDS down to the proper range for ionization without the over-kill of too much hardness.
- I suggest not to use a sodium exchange water softener, because it’s unhealthy for you [too much sodium], sodium is not good for the water ionizer [tends to corrode], and it’s bad for the environment [where does all that salt-water go?] However I was in Lowes the other day and noticed they have come out with sodium reduced water softeners. So that may be a way to go.
It’s up to you to take care of your water ionizer and keep it safe and protected against scaling.
How to do a Vinegar Wash
What you will need:
- You should save your old used-up filters in the refrigerator in a plastic zip-lock bag to put into your filter port during your vinegar washes. This procedure will ruin your filter for anything but another vinegar wash. Or if you have a Chanson water ionizer, just remove the filter from its container and close it back up again and you’ll be good to go.
- 1 bottle white vinegar.
- Tape [masking or duct]
Beginning Your Water Ionizers Vinegar Wash:
- Unplug the water ionizer.
- Place water ionizer on its back or side [on a folded towel — for a cushion]
- Take the acid hose and raise it to a position higher than the water ionizer. Tape it there, temporarily for the Wash.
- Make sure your water ionizer has the old [used up] and drained filters in it.
- Remove the calcium basket and tighten back on the lid.
- Curve the flex-spout upwards and using a funnel pour vinegar down the spout [or hose], either one, until it starts pouring out the other [spout or hose]. [If spout is clogged, remove it and let it sit immersed in vinegar for a few hours before you get to this step.
- Let sit overnight.
- Using the flex-spout as a straw, blow into it and suck [suction it] to agitate the vinegar inside the ionizer. Try not to spill too much vinegar out the hose.
- Over the course of several hours or a day, keep the ionizer in this position and do the agitation described in step 8 as frequently as you can.
- When you think you’ve done enough, return the water ionizer to its normal position.
- Run water through the ionizer, and if it’s not clogged anymore test the pH at the highest level [both acid and alkaline]. If all looks good, you’re done.
- Repeat process [steps 1-11] if the ionizer is still clogged or if the pH ranges are not satisfactory yet.
[Note: If you have a very clogged water ionizer…don’t worry if it is very slow-flowing or a trickle at first. The calcium build-up will eventually dissolve with this technique. I have nursed an almost unworking water ionizer back to like-new using this technique over a 3-day period.]
The steps outlined in this blog are steps you can use with any water ionizer to clean it. However, some water ionizer companies have their own cleaning cartridge they sell you to clean your water ionizer annually or semi-annually [as needed]. If this is the case, I would suggest to do the periodic cleaning according to your water ionizer manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re not sure if your water ionizer company has a cleaning cartridge or not, call 1-888-MY-ALKALINE [Cathie] and I’ll let you know.
Read more about water ionizer use and care.
I have been drinking ionized water for over 20 years and in that time I’ve learned that…Getting Sick is NOT Normal!Considering that such a large percent of our body is water, drinking ionized water instead of junk is completely scientific and logical. I used to think allergies were a “normal” condition, explained by things like genetics [...]
Cathleen was a teacher/principal for 24 years and has been drinking ionized water for about 25 years. She created Alkaline Water Plus to educate people about the benefits of ionized water.
"The very best thing I have ever purchased is a WATER IONIZER!" Cathleen LoGrasso, Owner/CEO Alkaline Water Plus
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