Variations in Water Will Vary Your Test Results
Please don't look at my tests of a water ionizer in St. Louis water and assume that you will get the very same results. Water ionizers vary by location. This post will give you some examples and fixes.
Is Acidic Water Hard for You to Get? You Likely Have Hard Water.
You may not be able to get the lowest pH if your water is very hard. If there are too many minerals in the water to split into two streams easily, some of the hard minerals slip into the acidic stream and force that pH to not be as low as it otherwise would. It does't mean your ionizer isn't working. In most cases hard water gives you great ionizaton, even if your acidic water is not as low as you'd like. When it comes to getting acidic water, this is often the case. Look at the hardness map and see what hardness you have in your region to estimate if this may be the case with you.
Here is a fix for this: Fill a spray bottle with low acidic water and then add an ounce of vinegar to your bottle. You'll see the pH go down to the right range for sanitizing right away.
Hard water is otherwise fairly easy to ionize.
If you have hard water you probably don't need to pay extra for a super-strong water ionizer unless you're hooking it into an RO (reverse osmosis) system, which would make it soft.
Do you have no ionization or low ionization?
If you find you are getting too little ionization you could have water that is too soft (void of minerals) for good ionization.
Here's an example:
A few weeks ago my father, who has a Jupiter Melody water ionizer, sold his house in South Carolina and moved to upstate New York to live with my sister. He, of course brought his water ionizer with him. He had been getting great, high pH, alkaline ionized water, along with the accompanying health benefits, for over a year and did not want to be without it.
I got a call from my sister shortly after the move, saying she wasn’t sure if the water ionizer was still working right, because there, in upstate New York, the highest setting of his water ionizer was only producing a pH of about 7.5-ish. I told her not to panic, it was probably her source water and not the water ionizer. But either issue is fixable.
I found that the pH of my sister’s source water [which is well-water, by the way] was about 4.5. That is a very low pH!
Her well water pH was over 100 times more acidic than neutral!
I did some research, and found that much of upstate New York well owners are likely to get a low pH like that in their source water. One reason is the high frequency of acid rain in the area, another factor is that fir trees add acidity to the groundwater and they are in the midst of a huge fir forest. One other thing that has a huge effect on the pH of well-water in an area is the type of soil and rock that the water filters through to reach bedrock, and in the Adirondacks [the main mountain range in upstate New York], the soil and minerals the water goes through is quite acidic. Most of the eastern states have a very low rain run-off water pH compared to the rest of the country.
Where my dad used to live, in South Carolina, he was on a regular municipal water supply. This makes a huge difference, as I explain, below in the section entitled “Life and Death Issues Regarding Your Water”, because when a municipality takes care of your water they buffer it [always] as one of their regulated safety measures.
The first thing we decided to do to fix my dad’s new source water was to do a Comprehensive Well-Water Test. The test revealed that there were no toxicology issues, just pH issues! Great news!
To fix it I ordered a Remineralizer for them to put in-line and prior to their water ionizer. This should do the trick. What will happen is the acidic water, being acidic due to a lack of exposure to alkaline minerals to buffer it, will travel through the mineral-rich filter and buffer itself. It is possible that they may end up needing a second Remineralizer if the one filter doesn’t provide enough buffer. However, in my experience one Remineralizer is usually good enough. In this case the remineralizer was able to get about a nice 9.5 pH alkaline, ionized, drinking water.
Well owners must know many facts about water! You should have it tested periodically and then filter it or treat it accordingly. After all, you are your own water treatment supervisor when it comes to your own, private well.
Acidic water can be a matter of life and death for you to fix, and fix quick. Changes in the pH of rain, due to pollution, has literally wiped out whole species of animals in ecosystems.
Normally, rain is slightly acidic anyway, because as it falls through the sky it picks up acidic minerals [such as carbon or nitrogen], but in areas that are polluted there is extra carbon, nitrogen and even Sulphur given off into the air [as emissions from fossil-fuel burning, etc.]. These, being acidic minerals, lower the pH of the rain as much as 100 times its normal, slightly acidic, pH! The effects are often catastrophic to animals, whose health is jeopardized when they drink acidic water from the streams, rivers and lakes in their habitat.
The effects of rain on the pH of groundwater vary from region to region based on the nearby cities, their altitude, location of their watershed, types of minerals which are found in the soil, types of trees growing in that region and rock in that region, etc.
Rain, going through limestone, will suffer a far less serious effect than going through coal or iron. What happens in limestone regions is that the limestone [mostly calcium] buffers the acid in the rain and the groundwater in that region will be found to be neutral or even slightly alkaline. That’s why in limestone regions, groundwater coming up through wells tends to be more alkaline than the water in nearby streams, rivers and lakes.
People are often shielded from the devastating effects of acidic water supplies, because their local water companies buffer their water supply for them. Well owners, on the other hand, are often not aware of the dangers of pH imbalances in their well, and so possibly do not buffer their well-water properly.
The dangers are, the more acidic the water is, the more it tends to dissolve and absorb various minerals in the soil or rock it travels through. The water can travel through toxic heavy metals, such as lead, nitrites, pesticides, radioactive materials, or even pharmaceuticals on its way to a well.
In coal-mining regions, the water sifting down through the layers of coal tend to become dangerously toxic. Water found running out of abandoned coal mines is very dangerous. It has been found to be up to one hundred-thousand times more acidic than neutral. This is quite deadly to any animals or people drinking it.
Changes in the pH of water can also alter, and make worse, the way the chemicals in the water effect you. According to this article about pH and how it affects your water, “Ammonia is relatively harmless to fish in water that is neutral or acidic. However, as the water becomes more basic (the pH increases) ammonia becomes increasingly toxic.” Also, “Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and chromium dissolve more easily in more acidic water (lower pH). This is important because many heavy metals also become much more toxic when dissolved in water.”
So, what is a well owner to do?
There are usually plenty of good and inexpensive methods of fixing your source water if you are a well owner. It often is a much simpler job than you’d think. Water pH, for instance, is good for washing, showering, etc. if it’s slightly acidic. Therefore treating the whole house or well is often unnecessary if it is a simple pH problem. It is of utmost importance, though, for you to know what contaminants are coming into your tap by testing what’s in your water.
A well owner can economically treat or filter their water at the source or point of use (i.e., with a kitchen filter installation) if dangerous chemicals, such as arsenic, lead, nitrites, etc., are found in it. Point of use treatments are usually easiest and cheapest. It is ultimately up to you to decide.
One point-of-use method (for just drinking water) is reverse osmosis. Often well owners filter their drinking water using reverse osmosis, because they have been told that this is the best filtration. Reverse osmosis seems like a good solution for getting the toxic minerals out of the water, however in many cases more simple, contaminant-specific, filters are easier, better and cheaper,
With reverse osmosis you are going to end up with drinking water that is too void of minerals [similar to rain water], and it will be slightly acidic [similar to rain as well], so when it travels through the terrain of your body it will pick up the minerals it finds there, which usually means it will leach minerals [calcium] from your bones and joints. This is not good. However, if you run your filtered reverse-osmosis water through an additional filter or two full of healthy minerals it will buffer the water first before entering your body. This would be a better solution. Then of course the next thing to do would be to put a water ionizer on the end of the line. And, that would be the best solution.