Water quality is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy and functional home. Understanding your well water’s pH level is an important part of this. If you find that the pH level is low, it means your well water is acidic, which can lead to several issues.
You can raise your well’s pH through a number of options, such as through a neutralizing filter or a chemical feed pump. That way, you can protect your home and prevent future issues from developing.
Below, we will help you understand what pH is, why you might want to raise it, and how to do so safely and effectively.
What Is the pH Scale?
The pH scale is a logarithmic measure used to specify the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Values below 7 indicate acidity, while those above 7 indicate alkalinity. Acidic water can corrode metal pipes and fittings, causing damage over time, whereas alkaline water can leave deposits that block pipes and reduce water flow.
Why Might You Want To Raise Your Well Water’s pH?
If your well water has a pH below 7, it’s acidic. This acidity can lead to corrosion of your plumbing system, damaging your pipes and fixtures. Acidic water can also cause metal ions like copper and lead to leach into your water, which may pose a health risk. By raising the pH of your well water, you can prevent these issues and ensure a healthier and safer water supply.
How To Fix Acidic Well Water
If your well water is acidic, there are ways to raise the pH and neutralize the acidity:
Add a Neutralizing Filter
A neutralizing filter is a specialized water treatment system designed specifically to tackle the problem of acidic water. This device is installed directly into your plumbing system and serves as a direct line of defense against the damaging effects of low pH water for the whole house.
The central mechanism of a neutralizing filter lies within its tank, which contains a neutralizing medium—often composed of substances like calcite (a form of limestone), magnesia, or a blend of both. As acidic water enters the filter, it comes into direct contact with this neutralizing medium, which could be calcium carbonate or magnesium oxide, raising your water pH.
Use a Chemical Feed Pump To Inject a Soda Ash Solution
Chemical feed pumps inject a solution of soda ash or sodium hydroxide into your water supply, neutralizing the acidity. This method can be more effective than a neutralizing filter, especially for very acidic water.
When using a chemical feed pump, the soda ash (sodium carbonate) or sodium hydroxide solution mixes with your well water, neutralizing its acidity and raising its pH levels.
Utilize a Water Aeration Filter
A water aerator can also be a solution for acidic well water. This device oxygenates your water by introducing air into it. Oxygen reacts with water to form hydroxide ions, which can help raise the pH and neutralize acidity. It’s often used in tandem with other systems, like neutralizing filters, for more comprehensive water treatment.
Get Professional Help
If don’t have experience in dealing with the issue on your own, consider hiring a water treatment professional. They can test your water, provide appropriate solutions, and perform all necessary installations and maintenance.
The Signs You Have a Low pH in Your Well Water
Noticing the signs of low pH in your well water can help you tackle the issue before it becomes a significant problem. There are some signs that your well water may have a low pH in your well, such as:
Your Plumbing System Is Leaking
One of the most notable signs that your well water’s pH level might be too low is leaks in your plumbing system. This happens because acidic water has corrosive properties. As water flows through your pipes, if it’s acidic, it begins to eat away at the metal. This process is often gradual and can go unnoticed for a long time. Over time, the metal weakens and pinhole leaks start to form. If left unaddressed, these leaks can expand and lead to significant water loss and damage.
You Notice Blue or Green Stains on Your Copper Plumbing
Another visible sign of acidic well water is the appearance of blue or green stains on your copper plumbing. These stains are not just an aesthetic issue; they’re an indicator of pipe corrosion. When the copper pipes corrode due to acidic water, copper ions are released and react with water to form a blue or green residue. This residue can stain your fixtures and appliances, and if you see such stains, it’s a clear sign that the pH of your well water needs adjustment.
Your Galvanized Iron Plumbing Has Red Rust Stains
Galvanized iron pipes are often used in plumbing systems, but they’re not immune to the corrosive effects of acidic water. When these pipes are subjected to acidic water, they can corrode and cause red rust stains. These stains can appear around pipe joints, on fixtures, and even in your water if the corrosion is severe enough. This not only looks unsightly but also indicates that your pipes are deteriorating and may need to be replaced soon.
The Inside of Your Toilet Tank Is Corroded
While it may seem unusual, one of the first places where the signs of acidic water can be noticed is the inside of your toilet tank. Since this is a place where water sits for extended periods, it allows the corrosive process more time to manifest visibly. If you notice flaky, rust-colored deposits or actual pitting and etching of the tank’s surface, this corrosion could well be a result of acidic water. Checking the inside of your toilet tank is a simple but effective way of keeping an eye on your water’s pH level.
The Top Problems Caused by Low pH Water
There are several significant problems that can arise due to low pH water in your well:
Acidic Water Leads To Corrosion
Acidic water is known for its corrosive properties, and when this type of water continually passes through your plumbing system, it poses a real threat. With a pH level below 7, the water is more acidic, and it begins to react with the metal in pipes, fixtures, and appliances. Over time, this can lead to significant damage.
This corrosion is a multi-faceted problem. Initially, you might notice a change in your water’s taste or smell. The water may start to develop a metallic taste due to the metal ions being leached into the water. As the problem progresses, you might start noticing leaks in your plumbing system.
Over time, your water can become contaminated with potentially harmful metals such as lead and copper. Moreover, this corrosion can lead to more significant problems with your appliances. Household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters that use water directly can get damaged as the corrosive water wears away their inner components. This leads to decreased efficiency, frequent breakdowns, and reduced lifespan of your appliances.
You Can Develop Metal Leaching
Beyond the physical damage to your plumbing system, another significant problem with acidic water is metal leaching. This issue arises when the corrosive water starts reacting with the metal pipes and fixtures, dissolving metal ions into the water.
Drinking or cooking with water that has high levels of these metals can pose serious health risks. For instance, lead exposure can lead to neurological damage and developmental issues in children, while high levels of copper can cause gastrointestinal distress and, in extreme cases, liver and kidney damage.
Metal leaching is not just a problem for drinking water. It can also impact your daily activities, such as bathing, doing laundry, and cleaning. High levels of metals can cause skin irritations and discoloration of clothes and dishes.
How Do You Test the pH of Your Well Water?
Testing the pH of your well water is a simple process that you can do yourself with a pH testing kit, which can be purchased online or at a home improvement store. These kits generally include a color chart and test strips or a digital meter.
The color on the test strip or the reading on the meter will tell you the pH of your water. It’s recommended to test your water’s pH regularly, as changes can occur due to natural variations in your groundwater source.
You can also test pH without a kit, but you should use one to be more accurate.
Find the Best Water Softeners and Drinking Water Filters at DROP
In the end, understanding your well water’s pH and how to adjust it is crucial to maintaining the longevity of your plumbing system and ensuring the health of your water supply. With the right knowledge and the proper equipment, you can tackle acidic well water effectively.
DROP offers a range of high-quality water softeners and water filters that can help you manage your water quality effectively. Check out our options today for the best solutions to your well water needs.