When it comes to pH levels, most of the time we have to think back to what we learned in school.
Whether you remember it or not, understanding how pH can affect water is important, especially if you are having issues with your tap water, or own a fish aquarium.
There can be a multitude of problems in the home if you find that the water is either alkaline or too acidic.
This makes sense when you realize that water has a pH level of 7 which is smack bang in the middle of the pH scale, and considered to be ‘neutral’.
However, there are things like particles which can change the overall pH level of the water, bringing it either into the more acidic pH, or going off to become alkaline.
This means that problems may arise.
So, if you are interested in how the pH level can affect your water, then read on to find out more.
What Does pH Actually Mean?
As a reminder to those who may have forgotten, ‘potential of hydrogen’ is the full word when it comes to the pH abbreviation.
It is basically the overall measurement of how many hydrogen ions are present in water.
When the pH number is higher, it shows that there are less hydrogen ions within the water, but if the pH number is lower, then there are more hydrogen ions in the water.
This also relates to other liquids too, and not just water.
The pH scale ranges from numbers 0 to 14 and shows the scale of acidity, to neutral and alkaline when it comes to different liquids.
For example, anything numbered from 0 to around 6 is considered to be somewhat acidic, while from 8 to 14 is alkaline, with 7 said to be neutral.
For example, vinegar is known to be highly acidic. It has a pH level or around 2 or 3, meaning it has a low count of hydrogen ions.
On the other hand, something like soap has a pH level of 12 making it full of hydrogen ions and alkaline.
There are also many alkaline products that you may have dotted around your home such as baking soda, bleach, and eggs.
Bleach for example has a pH level of 13. The fruit in your kitchen will be acidic, with both bananas and oranges considered to be below 7 on the number scale.
You might be wondering what is acidic and considered to have zero pH. Well, that is something like a battery. It is very, very acidic.
How Can The pH Level Affect The Water?
The level of pH is really important when it comes to any form of liquid that contains water (from coffee and blood, to tap water and drain cleaner).
This is exactly the same when it comes to the water that you have available running through your home.
Water should generally have a very balanced pH level of 7 making it neutral.
However, in reality, this just isn’t the case for the majority of households. The water will travel via different terrain, be that mud and rock, or different types of vegetation.
Along the journey the water will pick up a number of different elements before it reaches whoever supplies the water to your home.
In doing so, the water will lose its balance and will not be a neutral pH level as a result.
Despite the effects of the pH level in water, it is not considered an issue (such as a risk to a person’s health) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
So long as it falls between either a pH level of 6.5 or 8.5, then it is considered to be safe.
Even so, there are a number of problems that can happen if the pH level becomes too alkaline or too acidic, especially if left alone.
How Might High pH Affect Water?
Those who experience a high pH level of water often suffer with what is known as ‘hard water’. This is because there are lots of minerals present within the water.
While a low pH level in water can cause something like a pipe to become corroded, a high pH level will leave hard deposits behind instead.
This means that scale builds up and will ultimately block fixtures and appliances that use water.
If left, this can cause issues which if addressed earlier would have saved on expenses due to now having to replace appliances and pipes.
For example, a shower head can become blocked with scale making it less efficient, while a pipe might become so blocked that it affects the overall water pressure.
Not only that, you may notice that the taste of the water is different. When this happens, you may want to buy something to filter tap water.
How Might Low pH Affect Water?
When the water is at a low pH level, it is considered to be acidic.
This can cause the water to become so acidic that it corrodes a pipe in order for it to try and become balanced again.
Unfortunately, as it corrodes the material, it takes on some of the particles along the way.
When water is acidic, it could be because it once had contact with some form of vegetation that had begun decomposing, or some other chemical.
You will know this is happening because not only will there be leaks and holes within piping, but you may see color changes once the water has evaporated.
For example, on copper fixtures green stains can be seen, or rust can form on cast iron or galvanized steel.
Obviously, this is not something you will want to happen to your pipes in the home because you will need to fix them which can be costly.
But also you will want to keep your family safe.
Acidic water can cause leaching which can be tasted as metallic when drinking the water.
This can happen when the water takes on other metals which may be present within the plumbing such as zinc, copper, or even lead.
How To Test The pH Levels In Water?
While you might not be able to get an accurate result, you can test the pH level of your water by using litmus paper.
Fortunately, it is widely available, so you do not need to go to a specialized shop to buy any.
To use, place the strip into the water and see what color it changes to.
This can indicate the pH level, for example if it is either red, orange, or yellow, then it is likely the water is acidic.
If the paper turns various shades of turquoise or blue, then it is alkaline. The greener it is, the more neutral it is.
Do keep in mind that the litmus paper may not be fully accurate!
Can You Correct The pH Balance Of Water?
Changing the balance of water means making it neutral again, so is it possible?
To put it simply, yes. It can be achieved by using water softeners or filters that can neutralize water.
Take a look at the rest of our website to find out more!
While perfect water has a pH level of 7, in reality, it is likely to be either acidic or alkaline.
This is because water is affected by a number of things before it reaches your water supplier.
Because of the fact that water is rarely neutral, it can affect how it behaves within the home.
If the pH level is too high, then it is alkaline and may cause scale buildup in fixtures.
If the pH level is too low, then it is acidic and may cause pipes to corrode and the water to taste like metal.
Which one do you think you have?