How to Treat Acidic Water Using a Calcite pH Neutralizer System
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When you fill a glass at your kitchen sink, you expect the water to be clean and refreshing. However, you’d be surprised to know that changes in your water quality can occur almost instantly. For instance, if somehow the pH of your tap water drops to 6.5 or less, the water can quickly go from crystal clear and tasty to brown and murky with an awful metallic taste and smell virtually overnight. Should you experience similar undesirable changes in your water’s taste, smell, and overall quality, the water may be acidic.
The main problem with acidic water is that it is highly corrosive. Aside from the pesky water quality issues it presents, it can cause severe damage to household pipes, plumbing, and water-using appliances, often incurring substantial repair costs. It can also leach toxic heavy metals from corroding pipes into your drinking water, exposing you and your household members to copper, zinc, and even lead.
Acidic water is a serious water quality problem for many homeowners across America, especially well users. That’s why today we’ll be exploring the following topics to help educate you about this ongoing issue, so you can adequately protect your water quality and household from its destructive effects:
- What is acidic water, and what causes it?
- Its potential effects on health, household plumbing, pipes, and appliances
- How a calcite pH neutralizing filter treats acidic water
Let’s start by discussing exactly what acidic water is.
What is acidic water?
Acidic water is any water with a pH (potential of hydrogen) of 6.5 or less on a scale from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Ideally, your drinking water should be neutral, but more often than not, this is not the case. If your tap water has a pH above 7.5, it is considered basic or alkaline. The further away from neutral the water is, the stronger it is in either the acidic or alkaline direction.
What makes drinking water acidic?
There are many ways water can become acidic, some natural and some due to human activity. Let’s discuss a few of them:
- Acid precipitation: Water naturally becomes acidic when it combines with carbon dioxide (CO2) during precipitation. When water from streams, lakes, oceans, and other water bodies evaporates during the hydrologic cycle, the moist air rises and condenses into water vapor, creating clouds. When the water evaporates, it’s stripped of water hardness, bacteria, minerals, and contaminants. Since all of the impurities have been vaporized, the water is now soft and acidic. When the water returns to the earth’s surface, usually through rain and snow, it dissolves nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and other acidic compounds (mainly emissions from mining, smelting operations, or fossil fuel combustion), lowering its already slightly acidic pH. Excessively high CO2 levels can further decrease the pH of rainwater.
- Bedrock and soil composition: One of the most common variables influencing drinking water pH levels is the bedrock and soil composition through which rainwater or snowmelt moves, both in its bed and groundwater. When the water seeps through the bedrock of something like granite, the water will remain acidic. Generally, metamorphic and igneous rocks lack the calcium to buffer the pH and neutralize the acid in the water. This means many water wells are likely to have acidic water, as they often access shallow groundwater for their water supplies. The water found in regions with glaciated areas is usually more acidic (lower pH) than areas with limestone bedrock.
- Chemical runoffs: Chemical pollution can increase or decrease water pH, depending on the chemicals involved. These chemicals can come from wastewater discharge, agricultural runoff, or industrial runoff. Mining operations (mostly coal) can also produce acid runoff and acidic groundwater seepage if the surrounding soil is poorly buffered.
The Effects of Acidic Water on Household Plumbing
Acidic water is incredibly corrosive and can cause a slew of damage in the household. Its corrosive property allows the water to dissolve metal pipes and plumbing while it travels to your faucets, leaving your copper pipes and plumbing fixtures thin and prone to pinhole leaks. If left unattended, these pinhole leaks can spring and cause significant water damage, waste, and low water pressure. Worse, if these leaks emerge behind a wall, severe flooding can occur, leaving you with considerable damages to repair.
Bear in mind that replacing your household plumbing can cost around 20% of your home’s value, so it’s always important to try to catch acidic water before it ruins your home. If you have plastic pipes like PEX or PVC, the corrosive effect on your plumbing will be much less. However, the water can wreak havoc on water heaters and hot water appliances because the increase in water temperature amplifies the water’s corrosive properties.
Another significant problem with acidic water is leaching. As the water travels, it brings along the metallic strips leached from your pipes. Once the water flow stops or the water evaporates, it deposits the materials, leaving blue-green or rust stains on your plumbing fixtures, faucets, drains, bathtubs, and sinks. In addition, iron and copper discolor water can leave unsightly stains on your plumbing fixtures, laundry, and inside your sinks and bathtubs. Unfortunately, the problem multiplies for homes with galvanized steel or cast-iron pipes and “sensitive” surfaces. Acidic water may also taste metallic, somewhat like the water coming out of the water hose when you were a kid.
Is acidic water bad for your health?
Acidic water itself is not a threat to your health, but it’s the heavy metals it leaches from pipes and plumbing to your drinking water that can pose a health risk. Research shows that solutions with low pH levels are more likely to leach heavy metals from the environment. As a result, the solution – in this case, acidic water – carries a higher concentration of heavy metals, such as iron, manganese, lead, cadmium, chromium, copper, and zinc. So naturally, you don’t want to ingest acidic water because of the damage these heavy metals can do to your health.
Exposure to high levels of zinc and copper can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Extended consumption of copper-heavy water can cause serious health complications, like gallstones, kidney stones, neurological damage, and even kidney and liver failure. In addition, lead is hazardous to consume, especially for children. Children’s bodies can absorb more readily, so exposure to lead is incredibly harmful to them.
Lead exposure can cause memory problems, cognitive impairment, stunted growth and development, and seizures. In adults, lead exposure can cause high blood pressure, kidney and nervous system diseases, strokes, miscarriages, stillbirths, and even cancer. Our article The 12 Most Dangerous Contaminants Found in America’s Water Supply outlines the effects of other toxic heavy metals typically found in acidic water.
Possible Signs of Acidic Water in Your Home
If you want to find out if your drinking water is acidic, you can watch out for these signs:
- Pinhole leaks in your home’s pipes
- The water has a sour or metallic taste
- The water appears discolored with a brown or orange color
- The water feels slippery
- Corrosion and leaching in pipes and appliances
- Red or rust-colored staining with galvanized steel or cast-iron pipes
- Blue-green or green stains in sinks, toilet tanks, or around water fixtures (if you have copper plumbing)
- Metal toxicity
If you notice any of these signs in your home, you can use a digital pH meter or a water testing kit to determine if your water is corrosive. We recommend using the water testing kit because it is usually more accurate and offers a broader range of tests to detect more potential issues with your drinking water.
We currently offer the Watercheck-Tannins Water Test Kit, a comprehensive informational 30-point water analysis designed for the homeowner whose drinking water comes from a private well or spring. This water testing package tests for 75 items, which means it not only determines if your water has a low pH, but tests for other vital water attributes that can help when choosing a neutralizer. These attributes include hardness, total dissolved solids (TDS), and alkalinity.
This water testing package contains everything you need to identify irregularities in your drinking water and is perfect for homeowners whose drinking water comes from a public source or a private well.
It will test your water for 75 or more common contaminants, including:
- pH, Aluminum, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Silver
- Magnesium, Manganese, Nickel, Potassium, Silica, Sodium, Strontium
- Zinc, Lithium, Arsenic, Lead, Selenium, Mercury, Uranium, Turbidity, Hardness
- Tannin/Lignin, Total Dissolved Solids, Total Coliform by P/A, and more
Test results are typically completed and mailed within 10-15 business days from the date samples are received at the laboratory. Testing your water has never been easier. Order the kit, mail them the sample, and receive results within two weeks.
How to Treat Acidic Water
Acidic water can be treated in several ways, each with varying effectiveness. But generally, one of the most convenient ways to deal with acidic water is to use a calcite neutralizer filter. These neutralizers use calcite to raise the pH of water. Usually, the calcite tank is installed at the water’s point of entry into your home to treat all the incoming water.
After the water passes through any prefilter(s) installed before the calcite filter, it flows to the pressurized calcite tank containing calcite (a calcium-rich, crushed white media with high alkalinity added to the tank to adjust the water’s pH).
When the acidic water enters the tank, the water starts to dissolve the calcite media on contact, introducing calcium and alkalinity to the water. The calcite absorbed by the water then raises the water’s pH. It then neutralizes the water’s acidity, thus eliminating the effects of corrosive water chemistries and preventing the corrosion of piping and fixtures.
Many calcite neutralizers are equipped with an automatic backwashing valve that periodically (typically every 2-3 days) backflushes the calcite media (the opposite direction of the normal flow) to the drain for a few minutes to re-distribute the media evenly and remove any precipitated solids and/or iron. The water then exits the tank as wastewater, the media bed is re-filled with calcite, and the system is ready to process acidic water again.
Calcite neutralizers are preferable for most homeowners that have water with a pH of 5.0 to 6.9. For pH levels below 5.0, we generally recommend a chemical feed pump injecting soda ash for residential applications or sodium hydroxide for commercial and industrial applications. Also, because calcite neutralizers add calcium to the water, it will increase the hardness of the water, making the water “harder.”
Depending on your water’s hardness after it passes through the calcite neutralizer, you may or may not need a water softener. However, if your water is already moderately hard, you may need to install a water softener. That’s because, like acidic water, hard water has its destructive effects on plumbing, often resulting in expensive repairs, destroyed appliances, scale buildup, and water heater failure. With this in mind, you should install a water softener after the neutralizer if the water coming from the neutralizer is hard. Otherwise, you risk exchanging one water quality issue for another.
The Best Calcite pH Neutralizer to Treat Acidic Water
If you have acidic water, you need a reliable calcite pH neutralizer to adjust your water’s pH to normal, non-corrosive levels and alleviate the ongoing water quality issues and effects on your plumbing and appliances. An excellent candidate for the job is the Springwell SCN1-6 Calcite pH Neutralizer, a state-of-the-art and highly innovative pH neutralizing filter system designed to treat acidic water with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. The system works by adding some calcium hardness to the water to increase its pH, leaving the water neutral. That means no more copper pipe corrosion, blue-green stains on plumbing fixtures, discolored water, metallic taste, and all the other adverse effects acidic water can have on your household and water quality.
If you are having issues with bacteria and other microbes, you can add our powerful UV Purification system to the system to control microbiological issues in water, including E. coli, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia lamblia. Our UV Water Purification System kills 99.9% of harmful pathogens, viruses, and bacteria to protect your home against contaminated water. You can also add one of our water softeners or water softener combo systems to combat water hardness and potentially harmful water contaminants, respectively.
Our SCN1-6 Calcite pH Neutralizer also has a backwashing feature to clean the system and prepare it to treat more acidic water. The backwashing cycle can be programmed using the Innovative Bluetooth Head that allows you to control your calcite system’s settings by the touch of a button on your mobile phone. So essentially, you have complete control over the system’s settings. That means you can:
- View current water usage information as well as historical data
- Start a regeneration or backwash cycle from a phone or tablet
- Better understand how the system is working and understand what settings are for
- Control the timing and backwash cycles
This unique technology will also allow you to save thousands of gallons of water each year.
You’ll also love that the calcite system is easy to install. If you are the DIY type, we provide an installation guide and a helpful YouTube video with clear step-by-step instructions to help you install your brand new calcite system safely and efficiently.
If you have any questions or need any information on our Calcite pH Neutralizer or any other of our offerings, call us for help at 800-589-5592 or send us a message.
Whether your water comes from a well or a municipality, acidic water has no place in your home! It corrodes pipes and fixtures, stains laundry and fixtures, and damages appliances. It can even leach toxic heavy metals into your drinking water that can adversely affect your health. Thankfully, installing a premium acid-neutralizing filter like the Springwell SCN1-6 Calcite pH Neutralizer eliminates acidity from your water supply. That way, you and your family can enjoy pure, fresh, and great-tasting water – minus the annoying water quality problems and damage to your valued household plumbing, fixtures, and appliances.